Shigeru Miyamoto Wishes More Developers Would Shy Away From Guns

Shigeru Miyamoto is responsible for bringing smiles to multiple generations of gamers. It’s not just his work that enables this, but also his jovial and friendly personality, which we most recently saw at the Super Nintendo World Direct. Miyamoto casually introduced himself as “Mario’s dad,” and went on to give us a tour of what was essentially our childhood.

Another such incident was revealed during an interview Miyamoto gave to The New Yorker. After asking questions about his professional and personal life, the interviewer asked Miyamoto about a particular story he heard regarding the Nintendo 64 game, Goldeneye. While testing the game, Miyamoto apparently expressed sadness at the number of people Bond shoots down, and suggested to the game director that the player should visit each victim in their hospital bed during the credits. A sweet story about a kind natured man. From this arose the interviewer’s question: How do you feel about the fact that the medium has come to be dominated by guns and shooting?

“I think humans are wired to experience joy when we throw a ball and hit a target, for example,” answered Miyamotio via a Zoom call. “That’s human nature. But, when it comes to video games, I have some resistance to focussing on this single source of pleasure. As human beings, we have many ways to experience fun. Ideally, game designers would explore those other ways. I don’t think it’s necessarily bad that there are studios that really home in on that simple mechanic, but it’s not ideal to have everybody doing it just because that kind of game sells well. It would be great if developers found new ways to elicit joy in their players.”

Miyamoto then continues talking about understanding motive and perspectives. “Beyond that, I also resist the idea that it’s O.K. to simply kill all monsters. Even monsters have a motive, and a reason for why they are the way they are. This is something I have thought about a lot. Say you have a scene in which a battleship sinks. When you look at it from the outside, it might be a symbol of victory in battle. But a filmmaker or writer might shift perspective to the people on the ship, to enable the viewer to see, close up, the human impact of the action. It would be great if video-game makers took more steps to shift the perspective, instead of always viewing a scene from the most obvious angle.”

It’s not very often that we get to hear from Shigeru Miyamoto, but even a few words with him give you an understanding of how he could make so many people smile. The interviewer then went on to ask him if regretted not having the opportunity to work on games revolving around themes of sadness, loss, and grief, like many current games.

“Video games are an active medium. In that sense, they don’t require complex emotions from the designer; it’s the players who take what we give them and respond in their own ways,” answered Miyamoto. “Complex emotions are difficult to deal with in interactive media. I’ve been involved in movies, and passive media is much better suited to take on those themes. With Nintendo, the appeal of our characters is that they bring families together. Our games are designed to provide a warm feeling; everyone is able to enjoy their time playing or watching.”

“For example, when I was playing with my grandchild recently, the whole family was gathered around the television. He and I were focussed on what was happening on the screen, but my wife and the others were focussed on the child, enjoying the sight of him enjoying the game. I was so glad we had been able to produce something that facilitated this kind of communal experience. That’s the core of Nintendo’s work: to bring smiles to players’ faces. So I don’t have any regrets. If anything, I wish I could have provided more cheer, more laughter.”

NEXT: The 10 Best Games Shigeru Miyamoto Has Worked On (According To Metacritic)

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