As I listen to you talk, I feel like Wii Music may be one of your life’s work, something you’ve wanted to make for a long time.
I suppose it is. That’s why I’m overjoyed that it’s complete. I didn’t really feel this kind of joy when making other games.
There’s no need to debate on whether Wii Music is better or worse than other games, but how would you say it’s different?
Let’s see... To put it a way that makes me sound good, it gives me hope that I will have made a contribution to the future of music, and that makes me happy. It may sound presumptuous to say I can have that kind of influence on music, but the game may have an influence on new musical instruments yet to be created, and from now on there may be musicians who say Wii Music was what first got them into music. I have a feeling that will be true.
And people who have given up on music and musical instruments will come to know the joy of music through playing Wii Music.
Definitely. A lot of people are afraid of playing a musical instrument. In particular, playing together with someone else can be fun, but unsettling and scary at first.Wii Music removes that fear, and players, just by imitating actually playing, quickly get a feeling for the structure of ensembles and how fun it is to jam with others. What’s more, some people may be inspired to start learning a real musical instrument, and may find their appreciation of live musical performances enhanced.
So there’s a possibility that Wii Music will drastically raise players’ fundamental understanding of music.
That’s right. I think it would be great if kindergartens and elementary schools adopted Wii Music to begin children’s music education.
You’ve actually had some kindergarten teachers play Wii Music, haven’t you?
Yes. I also would like professional musicians and music experts to try it out. I’d like to know what they think.
Like you, I feel this is the beginning of something.
In particular, I think using Wii Music in education deserves serious thought. As a kid I absolutely hated Social Studies.
Oh, me, too.
Really? (laughs) I wondered why I had to learn the domestic products of places foreign to me and memorise the particular dates for historical events, but after I became an adult, I read a book called The History of Information, which changed the way I think.In that book there was a timeline overlapping world history with Japanese history. I was interested in art history, so the timeline, which included information such as what was going on in Japan when Europe was going through the Renaissance, was fascinating.
I know what you mean.
To take another example, after hearing the story of Oda Nobunaga (a charismatic warlord from the war-torn period of Japan), you might take an interest in history. Music is exactly the same. Once you’ve experienced the joy of musical performance and want to do it better, then when you study musical notation, you’ll learn much more quickly. As your interest increases, you may even feel you want to study music theory. But if you start with music theory, you won’t understand the joy of music. Music education for young children today begins with enjoying rhythm, but then suddenly jumps into music theory. I seriously want to and think we may be able to change that. Am I getting too excited about this? (laughs)
No, not at all. (laughs) You always say that you want to make video games more than just one entertainment genre, and it seems that with Wii Music that is especially true.
Yes, it is. Maybe I’m just turning into a crazy old man. (laughs)
I wasn’t this excited when we created Super Mario Bros.
I wonder what, exactly, has excited you so much. Is it because something you always wanted to make has finally been accomplished?
I suppose so. I strongly want everyone to understand this game. Earlier you said this may be my life’s work. This game may be exactly what I’ve wanted to accomplish all this time. It may also be a reaction against my complex about musical instruments.
Whenever you saw others performing music, you must have always wanted to experience that for yourself. Now that you’ve made something that allows you to do that, you’re certain it must be fun.
Hmm, you may be right about that.
And I’m guessing you’re also excited because of satisfaction with the way it turned out.
I suppose so... I have the kind of personality that sees everything as beneficial to me. I rationalise everything, thinking nothing in my life has ever gone to waste, or I’m so glad I did that. Even if something doesn’t work out well, even should I fall, I’m the type who thinks I can get something out of it, that it was good I didn’t succeed at that time.
I think that’s why I’ve used all my experiences and preferences in my work, but these days I’ve felt like I’m running out of material.For example, I used a manga that I drew as a kid for 2D games. I used a puppet play that I liked as a kid for 3D games. In creating video games, I’ve also used the theories I used to construct design and ID concepts in college.I thought I had used up all my musical tastes in sound design and in writing the song for Donkey Kong, but when I look at Wii Music, I’m struck by how I still had some experiences left to put to use. That’s a good feeling.
I see. The game is satisfying in another way as well. Music is universal. An immense number of people around the world are interested in or moved by it. I think there are a lot of people like you who want to play a musical instrument but can’t. In light of that, I think Wii Music has enormous potential. Because instead of accurately performing actions in time with a score, gameplay is about enjoying limitless possibilities—all of which are correct.
That’s right. You can play it any way you like.
Right. It doesn’t matter how you play. And each player’s performances are unique and can’t be copied, so you can show each other your performances. It is indeed a game like no other.
I completely agree.
I can’t wait until I have Wii Music in my own home. I wonder how I’ll get along with the music... Just like you, I always wanted to play a musical instrument, but could never get the hang of it. (laughs)
Yeah, there are people like me all over the world!
(laughs) (to be continued)
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