4. Different Reactions in Japan and the West

Iwata:

Kasahara-san just mentioned a presentation to people who were involved in this project overseas. This was a somewhat unusual product, published by Nintendo in Japan and by SEGA overseas. The Nintendo development team presented it to sales and marketing people in Japan and SEGA did the same overseas. I’d like to ask what went over well when each of you did that. How did that go, Yamane-san?

Yamane:

In Japan, the cooperative play went over well, like the

Video: two-player doubles match in Badminton

Kasahara-san just mentioned a presentation to people who were involved in this project overseas. This was a somewhat unusual product, published by Nintendo in Japan and by SEGA overseas.
two-player doubles match in Badminton , as well as Beach Volleyball and Football . This game’s best point is the way it allows everyone to play together. And I think they also liked the balance with the way you can seriously try to set records, like in the 100m Sprint .

Iwata:

While you can enjoy this game together with your family and friends, it’s also nice how you can play alone, seriously trying to set new records.

Yamane:

Yes. Even playing alone, if you connect via Wi-Fi, you can shoot for the top of the ranks against players around the world. But looking at surveys of Japanese players, I noticed that they like the combination of a character game with a party game.

Iwata:

It’s like an Olympic Games version of Mario Party.

Yamane:

Yes, but what SEGA heard overseas was different.

Ohashi:

Overseas, as well, people like Mario and Sonic and play this game as a character game, but there is a stronger tendency there than in Japan to view it as a sports game rather than a party game.

Iwata:

After all, the title does include the words “Olympic Games.”

Ohashi:

Yes. And while lots of people like the Olympic Games in Japan, in Europe and America - especially in Europe - they’re really passionate about the Olympic Games.

Iwata:

I hear that people in Europe really do love the Olympic Games.

Ohashi:

Yeah. A lot of voices in Europe said they wanted us to increase the number of regular Olympic events.

Iwata:

Rather than Dream Events?

Ohashi:

Yes. I think there’s a cultural difference behind that, but take Equestrian-Show Jumping for example. Not many people in Japan know much about this event.

Iwata:

They may have heard of it, but few people know the rules.

Ohashi:

Meanwhile, they love it in Europe. There are actually video games dedicated just to horseback riding there.

Iwata:

Oh, that reminds me. After we made nintendogs5, people in Japan said, “What about cats?” but in Europe, they said, “What about horses?” (laughs) 5nintendogs: A game released for enjoying communication with puppies. Released for the Nintendo DS system in April 2005 in Japan. The second game in the series, nintendogs + cats, was released for the Nintendo 3DS system in February 2011 in Japan.

Ohashi:

Did that really happen? (laughs)

Iwata:

I think that’s how much affinity people in Europe have for horses.

Ohashi:

Yeah.

Iwata:

If we make the equestrian sports based on our own limited knowledge, they might point out flaws.

Watanabe:

When I first tried out what SEGA had made, the horses appeared to run in such a leisurely way that I said, “Make them faster. Make it feel better to ride the horses.” But Kasahara-san said, “No, the equestrian games aren’t like that.” They don’t compete in speed.

Iwata Asks
Iwata:

They’re about accuracy.

Watanabe:

Yes. I didn’t know anything about equestrianism, so I wanted to make it more like your standard video game.

Iwata:

So there’s a tendency for the regular Olympic events to find favour in Europe and America and for the Dream Events to find favour in Japan.

Ohashi:

But that isn’t always true. When I gathered four people from Europe involved with distribution and had them play the Dream Events, they really liked it.

Iwata:

The Wii console has performed well all over the world in party games.

Ohashi:

Compared to the first game, we increased the number of regular events and Dream Events by a lot this time in order to satisfy both types of people, but it wasn’t easy coming up with ideas for the Dream Events. After all, one condition was that all the events be for four players all on the screen at one time.

Iwata:

You didn’t want to break the screen into four different windows. Why was that, Yamane-san?

Yamane:

If you break the screen into four windows, it lessens the feeling that everyone is playing together. And it gets harder for people standing around watching to see who is winning.

Iwata Asks
Iwata:

But that makes it harder to create a variety of gameplay.

Ohashi:

Yes, that’s right.

Kasahara:

Right at the beginning, Nintendo had told us to shoot for four players on one screen simultaneously, mostly competition with some cooperation, and the rules must be an extension of the rules of the real Olympic events.

Iwata:

Ah, more unreasonable demands. (laughs)

Yamaneand Watanabe:

Sorry. (laugh)

Kasahara:

We would bring a bunch of ideas we had thought up, and they would say, “This isn’t much different than the usual event, is it? Can you make it more distinctive?”

Ohashi:

So thinking up the new Dream Events took forever. When we went to make proposals to Nintendo, we would think the whole time even on the Shinkansen (high-speed bullet train) from Tokyo to Kyoto.

Iwata:

You were moaning and groaning - like, “Hmm…Urrrg…” - in your seats on the bullet train?

Ohashi:

Yeah. (laughs) We would make notes about all the ideas we came up with even during the 2 hours and 20 minutes to Kyoto, and when we reached Kyoto, we would duck into a coffee shop and bring some order to them. Some of those ideas became the basis for actual events.

Iwata Asks
Iwata:

I see, you thought of some of the Dream Events on the Shinkansen.

Ohashi:

That’s right.

Iwata:

Which Dream Events do you recommend? I’d like to ask each of you, starting with Watanabe-san.

Watanabe:

I recommend

Video: Dream Equestrian

Kasahara-san just mentioned a presentation to people who were involved in this project overseas. This was a somewhat unusual product, published by Nintendo in Japan and by SEGA overseas.
Dream Equestrian . Usually in equestrian, you ride a horse and jump over obstacles and so forth, but in Dream Equestrian, four horses are pulling a wagon loaded with Yoshi eggs, so if the four athletes don’t control the four horses well…

Iwata:

They’ll lose balance and the eggs will fall.

Watanabe:

Right. It’s a little too bad for Yoshi, though.

Iwata:

Why is that?

Watanabe:

If you reach the goal, Yoshi hatches, but if the cart overturns…

Iwata:

Ah, I see. (laughs)

Watanabe:

This game is really exciting. Everyone can enjoy it together, and it generates a strong sense of unity, I love it.