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Monday, December 28, 2020

Shigeru Miyamoto's Created Cruel Koopa-Killing World

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Shigeru Miyamoto's doublespeak.

There was a recent and extensive interview by publication The New Yorker (not a videogame-focused publication, of course) with Nintendo Creative Fellow Shigeru Miyamoto. Deep-dive interviews like that are relatively rare for him to do. It got a fair bit of attention from Nintendo fans and fan sites when it was published a week ago, and KoopaTV's gonna join in on that today, too!

However, the reason the interview got attention from other people was around Shigeru Miyamoto's remarks on shooting and game design (that shooting mechanics are overcentralising what's popular in games and more designers should come up with alternate ways of fun), as well as his remarks that his videogames are meant to create warm feelings among its players, as opposed to other games on the market (including many others from Nintendo-affiliated studios) putting more attention on exploring sadness, loss, and grief.

While I'm happy with folks reading things Miyamoto says and thinking he's out-of-touch and ought to retire (and for Miyamoto's part, he said Nintendo has basically transitioned a younger generation of directors to work on the games instead of him, while he goes works on theme parks and movies, which WAS something KoopaTV requested some years back), the fans (and to be fair, consistently awful media outlet Nintendo Everything consistently has misleading headlines) have a bit of trouble with reading comprehension. Which will result in said fans having trouble reading any stories with sadness, loss, or grief themes, should they ever encounter them. If they have trouble with those stories due to having trouble reading, that would defeat the point of them mocking Miyamoto's answer in a context that he never addressed, because the question was about him personally, not Nintendo as a whole.

Anyway, I want to address the bit where Shigeru Miyamoto was addressing the idea that it's not okay “to simply kill all monsters.” That's underplayed on other sites. His full quote being:

“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.”

Shigeru Miyamoto might be right when it comes to sad themes in his own games (but which games are considered “his” is its own discussion, given his Creative Fellow role not directly working on game production), but he sure ain't right on the idea that he resists the idea that it's okay to commit genocide. Shigeru Miyamoto's entire gaming career was built on making games based on glorifying a twin pair of superpredator brothers as they wreak havoc on large populations of nearly defenceless creatures largely minding their own business.

That last part isn't even my own characterisation. Those are Shigeru Miyamoto's own words, or for the full quote, “The other characters aren't aware that Mario is coming. They are just going about, minding their own business, and they suddenly become his opponent.”

If he knows that, and he's obviously personally profiting off that, where's the resistance that killing is okay? It sure isn't found in Shigeru Miyamoto's works, since I've played them, and there's no thoughtful discussions and moments with shifted perspectives about the impact on the affected Koopa lives that Mario murdered and dismantled. Mario just jumps along and kills more, and is rewarded for it and joyously screams YAHOO! Have YOU thought of what life must be like for generations of young Koopas when they gotta deal with not having a father? Shigeru Miyamoto sure hasn't, despite him talking up a good game in his interview. He hasn't made one, though.

Paper Mario The Origami King hitting things with hammer solves all problems Shy guy Bowser's Castle
If Mario's only tool is a hammer, he will treat everything as if it were a nail.
This causes... catastrophic effects that players of Miyamoto's games haven't seen. They gotta read KoopaTV for this shifted perspective.

By the way, something that no one's talking about that Miyamoto brought up: “[Nintendo has] a system whereby designers switch desks according to whatever project they’re working on. Because there are no fixed placements, people don’t have that many personal belongings around them.” That should break anyone's hopes for working at Nintendo (at least in Japan) as a designer, because you do NOT want to work in an open office environment. It's bad hygiene.

Nintendo designers can't possibly like working in that environment. Still, it's only a fraction of the pain that Mario's victims and their families and communities feel.

KoopaTV has a whole series of articles about Mario's misdeeds and horrors. It's the special Enlightenment Movement category. They're all great reads. Anyway, what did you think of Miyamoto's interview responses? Were there other questions that you wish The New Yorker had asked but didn't? Let KoopaTV know in the comments section!

Just how many Koopas will Mario kill before Shigeru Miyamoto does more than “resist the idea” and actually do something? We're well over hundreds of millions.


  1. Not okay to kill any monsters? Miyamoto sounds like an Undertale fan, myself I prefer Earthbound. I think Shooter games are fine and great genre of game, but I would like to see some new gameplay ideas from other developers. Seems like Nintendo is the only one selling strange gimmicks that actually work.

    I would ask Miyamoto in the nicest way possible,when he planned to retire. Or, whats your favorite color
    What's YOUR favorite color?

    1. See, now you're putting me in the difficult position of comparing Undertale and Miyamoto, two things I don't like.

      But I guess Undertale did a better job at fulfilling whatever Miyamoto's idea is, than Miyamoto's own games do, since Miyamoto put negative effort into his games with regards to his ideas.

      MY favourite colour? Dark purple or blood red.

    2. You took the words right out of my mouth! As soon as I read that he didn't think killing monsters was okay, I immediately thought of Undertale.

    3. Well, as Nintendo fans, you all KNOW that Miyamoto's games don't come anywhere even resembling how Undertale does it, so...

    4. It is not like Undertale invented the concept of Pacifist runs in the first place. Some are self imposed by players. Some are actual achievements ("Peacemaker" in Mega Man 9.) Miyamoto could have made a canon pacifist challenge if he wanted to in his games.

    5. Reminder that Miyamoto's/Miyamoto's disciples' games literally feature genocidal challenges, like the 1-Up Rally in New Super Mario Bros. U's Challenge Mode. There's inherent rewards for murder built-in there. Those far outweigh the occasional pacifist one like "Be Gentle to Giants".

      Anyway, I dunno what to credit to Miyamoto on a personal level. Does he get the blame for stuff he's a "producer" in, or does he need to be closer to it? He hasn't been credited as a "designer" in this particular franchise since Galaxy, and before that, since SMB3! (Or a "director" since SM64.)


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