9. The Correct Way to Enjoy An Action Game

Miyamoto:

There's something I've learned from making this new Mario title multiplayer.

Iwata:

And what's that?

Miyamoto:

I realised that, fundamentally, Mario is a game where if you fail and lose a turn, you'll be sent straight back to the start.

Iwata:

Right.

Miyamoto:

So it's tough. Even if you're just about to get to the boss, you could fall into the lava, get burned and be sent straight back and have to start again from scratch.

Iwata:

It's very unforgiving when you fail.

Miyamoto:

Right. So even if you slip up just before clearing the castle, you'll be sent right back to the starting point. Maybe this is all due to my nasty streak! (laughs) But I think playing at that level of intensity is actually the most enjoyable way to play.

Iwata:

You think it's more fun to have to play from the start of the level again?

Miyamoto:

With platform games, only playing the difficult parts can really take it out of you. It feels good to play parts that you can breeze through as well.

Iwata:

Yes, you're right about that.

Miyamoto:

That's one of my guiding principles...

Iwata:

That's why rather than having lots of checkpoints where you can save your position, it's better to play through the easy part again.

Miyamoto:

Right. That's more pleasurable for the player. And while you're playing the parts that you're good at again, you'll get even better at the game. In the past, when arcade shooting games would keep getting more and more difficult, the "Continue" system was developed...

Iwata:

Insert a 100 yen coin and you can keep on playing...

Miyamoto:

That was doubtless something the arcade was happy about, as players would keep pumping in 100 yen pieces. But what it actually ended up doing is ensuring that the player would always be playing at the very limit of their abilities. I don't think it feels good to play like that.

Iwata:

You're right.

Miyamoto:

It might be exciting, but it doesn't feel good.

Iwata:

So it might be thrilling for the player, but it doesn't give them that sense that: "Hey, I'm really good at this game!"

Miyamoto:

Precisely!

Iwata:

All the player experiences is that feeling that: "I'm still useless at this!"

Miyamoto:

But once someone makes the assumption that always playing in a high state of nervous excitement is more fun, and they then come to discuss how the gameplay should be balanced, they'll always be trying to ramp up that excitement. But the ideal is actually to make the player feel this kind of nervous excitement in moderation while being able to enjoy playing. However, it is not very easy for us to be able to realise that at all times. So, I think replaying the levels is the correct way to enjoy an action game. That's something that I'm quite particular about.

Iwata Asks Iwata:

But that won't work when you have four players.

Miyamoto:

Right, it won't work. In this case, it works out just right because if you have one of the four players who is still alive, you can steadily progress through the game.

Iwata:

As you can still make progress even if you lose a turn, when weaker players play together with more skilled ones, they can get them to take them all the way through to the end.

Miyamoto:

Right. That's why I think we've come up with a well-balanced game that comes somewhere in between watching the Super Guide and then clearing the level yourself and getting the Super Guide to clear the level for you. That's why I hope that a wide range of users will be able to enjoy the game in a wide variety of different ways.

Iwata:

I sense that you're really getting a very strong "feel" from this game.

Miyamoto:

Of course!

Iwata:

It seems that you feel you've been able to achieve a structure for this game that you've long aimed for.

Miyamoto:

Yes, I have. I've always wanted to make a multiplayer Mario. It's been my dream for many years. I really feel that this time, we've pulled it off.

Iwata:

Recently, you have become deeply absorbed in a large number of the games that we've made. But with New Super Mario Bros. Wii, there is clearly something different about the depth and the manner in which you've become absorbed.

Miyamoto:

Well, I was even writing specification documents! (laughs)

Iwata Asks Iwata:

I'm quite excited to see how this new Mario title will be played. There'll be plenty of players who will feel: "Wow! I can do this!" At the same time, players who are confident in their abilities won't feel that the game is too tame and we'll see them erasing their data and playing from the start to ensure that no hint blocks pop up.

Miyamoto:

Can I just add something else?

Iwata:

Sure, go ahead.

Miyamoto:

This game is played by holding the Wii Remote horizontally so you only use the +Control Pad and the 1 and 2 Buttons to play.

Iwata:

It's the same controls as the Famicom days.

Miyamoto:

But you're going to have to master the "B Button Dash"27. If you can't do that, you're going to have a hard time. On the Wii Remote, holding the 1 Button down lets you carry round objects and also enables you to do the "B Button Dash". Moreover, the Wii Remote's unique motion-sensitive controls also come into play when you're controlling the game. So if you remember to shake the Wii Remote and to press the 1 Button, the game will be really exciting to play. 27 In New Super Mario Bros. Wii, the player can make Mario dash by holding the 1 Button down and moving left or right.

Iwata:

So in this new title, you can dash using the 1 Button on the Wii Remote. What are you going to call this?

Miyamoto:

The "B Button Dash" of course! (laughs)

Iwata Asks