“Another big revelation was hearing Miyamoto say how much he hates Zelda II and thinks Super Mario Brothers 3 has ‘terrible level design’.”
The former is a gross exaggeration that you’ve been repeating for far too long and it’s time someone calls you out on misinforming your readers. Shigeru Miyamoto has *never* said that he hates Zelda II. Far from it, in fact, because prior to Ocarina of Time’s development, he was working on a new version of Zelda II with Yoshiaki Koizumi (OoT’s character designer):Koizumi: It was true of Shimizu-san as well, but I really liked Zelda II: Adventure of Link
Osawa: So much that you wanted to make it yourself?
Koizumi: Yeah. You might say that, but before Super Mario 64, I had actually been making Zelda II: The Adventure of Link in polygons with Miyamoto-san.
And here’s Miyamoto’s latest word, to date, on Zelda II: Adventure of Link:””I wouldn’t say that I’ve ever made a bad game, per se, but a game I think we could have done more with was Zelda II: The Adventure of Link,” he said.”
He doesn’t hate it; he doesn’t even call it a bad game. He’s disappointed that he couldn’t do more with it, which I think is natural considering how misunderstood the game is by hardcore gamers these days.
The other half is just a flat-out lie: Miyamoto has never said anything remotely like “Super Mario Bros. 3 has bad level design” and you know it. I used to be able to find intelligent critiques and analyses of Nintendo’s games and business decisions. You were always highly critical of Nintendo’s developers, but you were always honest and fair, citing interviews that show just how full of it these “game gods” are. But I fear you’ve run out of new reasons to condemn the likes of Miyamoto and Aonuma, and have resorted to inventing new “facts” and exaggerating old ones.
That’s a nice try. Nintendo’s business is dependent on GAMES. If the GAMES do not sell, then the CONSOLES do not sell. If the GAMES do not sell, then the MERCHANDISE does not sell. This is not hard to understand.
But yet it is! Take a look at this thread at a Gaming Message Forum. I feel like the Wii U is more deserving of the sales that the Wii had… :(
Anyone who was paying attention, as well as ever reading anything on this page, knows full well why the Wii succeeded and the Wii U did not. It is not enough to take Nintendo at its word. We must watch Nintendo’s actions.
Nintendo had a smashing success with the 7th Generation. No one denies this. So why did Nintendo design a handheld around 3d (3DS) and 3d games? That is the TOTAL ANTITHESIS of their mission in the 7th Generation. Why did Nintendo discontinue the Wii direction but made the Wii U with the fatass controller? Even worse, the branding was so identical to Generation 7. 3DS from DS. Wii U from Wii.
“Nintendo just had bad marketing and was stupid about the similar branding.”
No! Nintendo is many things, but they are not stupid. The branding is confusing, but it was intentionally intended to confuse. The myth, and one that I once bought into, is that Nintendo makes whatever they think the market wants. This is not true. Nintendo wants to make whatever it wants and have the market want to buy it. This is true throughout the Game Industry. Game developers want to make whatever they want and have the public buy it. To make what the market wants is a type of EA hell where you are just making sports games or stuck on an endless franchise. Nintendo will give the market their franchises (Mario, Zelda, Yoshi, etc.) but refuses to give them the gameplay the market wants. You do not get to tell Nintendo what gameplay you want. Oh no!
At this point, you might think, “Malstrom, this is crazy talk. Where is the business analysis?” This is it. Nintendo wants to be a developer centric business, not a market centric business. This is why they have no sales in the market.
Nintendo LOVES 3d. They LOVE LOVE LOVE it. They even made the Virtual Boy (which Miyamoto still does not think was a failure). Around the Nintendo 64 period (Generation Five), a series of lies began to be repeated as truths about Nintendo. Here are a couple of them:
Mario 64 was a huge success.
Mario 64 sold worse than any other Mario game out there. Aside from North America, Mario 64 failed to sell the hardware. The reason why the game reporters of the time kept parroting the success of Mario 64 was because there was no real business context, Nintendo wanted to make believe Mario 64 and their 3D was so amazing, and Nintendo’s competitors were more than willing to encourage Nintendo to keep making games that don’t sell their own hardware.
When NSMB DS and NSMB Wii became such massive successes, Nintendo was shocked. They were depressed, even angry. In one of the Iwata Asks, Miyamoto said he didn’t want to make another 2d Mario and Iwata said, “Oh, you’re going to make this game.” Why would Iwata say that unless there was developer resistance?
Since then, Miyamoto’s mission was to get 2d Mario fans to play 3d Mario. Miyamoto’s interpretation was that 2d Mario fans did not like 3d Mario because 3d Mario was ‘too hard’. In Japan and Europe, where 3d Mario doesn’t sell well, an included tutorial video tape came with Super Mario Galaxy 2 instructing people how to move around and jump. It was hilariously bad. Mario in 3d Lan/World shared so many NSMB themes and designs because Miyamoto was intentionally trying to get 2d Mario in. With the 3DS, Miyamoto thought “Finally!” he could get people to play 3d Mario.
In the worst prediction of his career, Iwata predicted Super Mario in 3d World would skyrocket the Wii U to incredible sales heights. Just no. It didn’t happen.
Nintendo is on record for dissing Super Mario Brothers 3. The Mario music maker only thinks the SMB 3 music is all wrong except for the ‘athletic’ theme. (This was said in the Super Mario All-Stars 25th Anniversary interview). Miyamoto replayed SMB 3 and said, “Is this all!?” scoffing at the short stages. Yes, Miyamoto, that is all. 2d platformers are more fun when they do not have ‘midway points’ and keep going on and on and on. The fact that SMB 3 keeps being seen as direct competitor quality wise to Super Mario World points to how great SMB 3 is. If an 8 bit game can compare directly to a 16 bit game, then that 8 bit game is pretty damn good! (In hilarious fashion, Miyamoto and all do not understand why we like SMB 3. They thought it was because of the raccoon tails so they put Tanooki suits all over the place in Mario in 3d Land.)
Keep in mind it is not the THEMES and CHARACTERIZATION of the classic games that Nintendo dislikes. It is the GAMEPLAY itself. The greatest mystery in gaming was that Super Mario Brothers was the BIGGEST thing ever to hit video games, and Nintendo just stopped making it for DECADES. Why? They simply did not want to make it. It’s that simple.
We’ve been waiting for more classic Zelda gameplay goodness. But we will never get it because Aonuma hates Zelda gameplay as he literally said in the GDC 2004 speech.
And for those who want more Super Metroid gameplay, too bad. Sakamoto doesn’t want to make it. Instead, he wants to make games like Metroid: Other M.
There are two types of Nintendo fans. There are the N64/Gamecube/Wii U ones and then there is everyone else. Nintendo wants to make games for the N64/GAmecube/Wii U type fanbase and wish to expand it. They want the old fanbase to go away or convert. Sakamoto blamed the failure of Other M on Metroid fans ‘expectations’ of what a Metroid game should be. It’s the fans’ fault!
The Wii wasn’t just about expanding the number of gamers. It was about expanding the number of Nintendo gamers. What type of Nintendo gamers? The N64/Gamecube type gamers. The Wii games were supposed to lead gamers to buy Aonuma Zelda and 3d Mario. However, that did not happen. The new gamers bought 2d Mario and Mario Kart instead.
The 3DS was about making 3d gaming into the mainstream. It’s as simple as that.
Wii U was about converting Wii type gamers into Gamecube-esque type gamers. It’s as simple as that.
Generation 7 success really went to Nintendo’s heads, and they thought they could ram the type of games they wanted to make at the market. If the ‘casual market’ is so stupid, why are they not falling for Nintendo’s branding tricks with the 3DS and Wii U? It is because they are not stupid. Wii offered a simple controller. Wii U offered the most obtuse and bloated controller ever made in a game console.
Zelda 2 was the black sheep of the Zelda family.
Where is the origin of this? I cannot find it anywhere despite it declared as ‘truth’ and ‘gospel’.
The truth is that Zelda 2 was a blockbuster hit, extremely well received, people drove to different states in order to get it, and competitors copied its gameplay. This is not how black sheep games act.
While I cannot confirm the origin, I suspect the game media kept reciting it over and over as fact because they recite Nintendo developers’ opinions as facts-that-cannot-be-questioned. It was likely Miyamoto who originated that Zelda 2 was the black sheep and has been repeated by everyone ever since. Unfortunately, Miyamoto knows shit about why people buy his games which is why Nintendo has so many failed consoles.
Games are like babies to their game developers. No one says their baby is ugly. Miyamoto saying Zelda 2 is ‘not a bad game’ is him saying ‘it is not a good game’ in a diplomatic way. If Miyamoto truly cared, he could have ‘done more about it’ right now. Zelda 2 never got a 16 bit game (neither did Kid Icarus sadly), so I wouldn’t mind seeing a return of Zelda 2 gameplay. He’s freaking Miyamoto. If he wants to do ‘more work’ on a game, he can. He can re-release Zelda 2 the way he wanted it to be. Call him out on his statements.
I know he doesn’t want to revisit it. “I do not like revisiting old gameplay,” he says. However, he LOVES revisiting old gameplay when it cames to 3D GAMES.
I point all this out to show why Nintendo is in the mess it is. Business analysis in gaming means game analysis. The reason why Wii U and 3DS aren’t selling so hot is because of the games. I remember the Gamecube Era. Everyone said, “But Gamecube’s games are so good! It must be some other reason!” No, it is because the Gamecube games SUCKED. Also, a big factor is lack of third party support. I do not mean this by how everyone else does. When people say ‘third party support’, them mean GTA games and Call of Duty. What I mean is that you never know where the next game will come from. Therefore, you want AS MUCH support possible. GTA 3 was a huge hit for PS2. But GTA 1 and 2 kinda sucked. Call of Duty 2 did very well and got more popular with each iteration afterward. But Call of Duty 1 was a PC game. Minecraft was an indie PC game before it came to consoles and did extremely well. Nintendo approached Generation 7 by throwing as many games at it as possible. It is also why the Virtual Console for Wii is just so damn good compared to the Wii U.
What are Nintendo’s intentions in Generation 9? We need more info in order to find out. So far, I’m worried that Nintendo has gone off the rails into a ‘Japanese Pride Parade’ type mentality.