Niitani-san, how did this project begin for you?
I didn’t have much time, so I started by thinking of a game with simple controls - just swinging the Wii Remote controller side-to-side. For the prototype, I made a game in which you used balls to knock down targets lined up vertically.
We couldn’t be partial just because he was making it internally, so we treated it the same way as everyone else’s prototypes.
After making the prototype, I was working on it along with my technical support work, so I asked Hosokawa-san to make the stages.
With regard to the mapping, I made them so that if you want to get a perfect score, you need some serious skills.
You hope people who are confident in their skills will attempt a perfect score. Funaki-san, how did you begin at Mitchell?
We thought about how you operate the controller and wondered if we could do something that involved simply twirling and tilting it. From the movement of twirling it, we got the idea of winding thread. Then we thought tilting it back and forth in a stroking movement was like taking a walk, and our ideas broadened. We thought of a game in which you would crush cans as you walked, and rhythm games, but our opinions differed, so we thought of Loony Cycle as something developing that walking movement and made a prototype. Then we made a prototype for a game involving winding thread, and that led to the game that actually got included.
That’s Treasure Twirl .
Yes. Just winding thread would be boring, so we decided to borrow the milieu of Game & Watch: Octopus.26 You use the Wii Remote Plus like a reel. And we made Loony Cycle for the final game, but unfortunately it didn’t make it in as a minigame. But the person in charge at Nintendo stuck with it and left it in as a hidden surprise. 26. Game & Watch: Octopus: One of the games released in the Game & Watch series of handheld game systems with LCD screens. Released in 1981 in Japan.
It was about time to create the master ROM, and finishing up two at the same time was difficult, so I asked them to focus on Treasure Twirl.
We kept it secret from Takahashi-san, but even as Mitchell concentrated on Treasure Twirl, they continued making Loony Cycle behind the scenes. It came together in a nice compact way, so we decided to include it as a hidden element.
How about Chunsoft, Mizobe-san?
We got a late start. About September, we got a call from Nonaka-san asking if we could turn a sample Nintendo had made into a real product. They showed us a sample of Star Shuttle in Kyoto, and when we tried to take it back with us, they said, “Sorry, you’ll just have to watch it here and memorise it.” I couldn’t believe it! (laughs)
They wanted you to copy it with your eyes. They were asking you to make it into a product, so it would be surprising if you couldn’t take the sample with you.
I know! (laughs) But our programmer memorised it and we recreated it rather quickly. This game makes use of the Wii Remote Plus as if it is a spacecraft. It features simple, intuitive gameplay, but the conditions for clearing it are difficult. The prototype was a big hit.
In the end, we had them make 30 stages. Chunsoft was really on the ball, so I showed a sample to everyone, along with Niitani-san’s Teeter Targets.
For Dolphin Park , at first we wanted to have a dolphin show and tricks, but we had received the keywords “fun in the sea,” so we focused on having it feel good when you played and swimming through the beautiful sea.
How did your idea kick off, Ebisu-san?
Good-Feel had special circumstances, so we came in partway through, too.
You couldn’t start until after Kirby’s Epic Yarn, so you got off to quite a later start than everyone else.
Yes, after the first prototype screening. We were going to come in seeded, but when I talked about it with Nonaka-san, he said, “If the prototype is no good, you’ll be out,” and that there was no seeding or anything. What’s more, we talked about how it would look bad if we came in partway through and still didn’t get chosen. (laughs)
Um...sorry about that. (laughs)
We rather freely thought of themes that were relatively fun and easy to understand, and then made prototypes for Veggie Guardin and Skip Skimmer . At first, Veggie Guardin’ had strong game elements involving shooting, but we gradually revised it more in the direction of that great feeling of pounding.
How about Skip Skimmer?
At first, all you did was throw stones. Night would come, you’d throw stones all night, then morning would come, and so on. We imagined a game with a nostalgic air. Then we upped the game elements again, added some scoring elements, and it turned out the way it is now.
Everyone is nodding along now, but when the game was done and all the companies got together to reflect upon how development had gone, Veggie Guardin’ and Skip Skimmer came up quite a lot. They weren’t that good at first. Lots of people doubted it would really make it in. Right, Ohshima-san?
Uh, yeah... (laughs wryly)
But in the end, I think it turned out to be the most fun. (laughs)
You think that Skip Skimmer is the most fun minigame in the package?
Yeah, I love it! At first, I had no idea how to throw just right. But once the scoring came in, the game would tell me that my form was crooked and I’d think, “Huh?! It was?!” and I would try to fix myself. Then it began to feel more and more like tennis. Once I could really nail my throws, I went, (with deep feeling) “Ohhhhh, yessss...” So I got totally hooked on it! (laughs)
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