I was sent a link over email about an interview with Shigeru Miyamoto about Super Mario Galazy 2, probably the most overrated Mario game of all time for no good reason other than for nintards to silence the praise of NSMBW. It’s nothing really new in terms of what we know about Miyamoto in general, but it goes deeper into the rabbit hole of how much the employees want to defy him.

Somewhat complicating matters is the fact that the director of the Mario games, Yoshiaki Koizumi, disagrees with Miyamoto’s story-free philosophy.

“Mr. Koizumi is the type of person who, whenever we’re working on a new Mario game, he always wants to bring more story elements into it, as he did with Super Mario Galaxy. But in talking with him this time, he agrees and feels that with Galaxy 2, there won’t be a need for as deep of a story,” Miyamoto said.

But does he really agree with his boss, or has Koizumi just been overruled? In an interview with Wired.com in 2007, Koizumi said that he’s been trying to sneak bits of story into Mario and Zelda games for his entire career at Nintendo, even as Miyamoto has been trying to keep them out.

I told Miyamoto about what Koizumi had said, and he looked slightly taken aback.

“He said that?”

“Yes.”

“Well, I put a stop to that at the beginning, this time,” he said, and for emphasis punched the air with his fist.

I say “wtf” to that quote. To avoid the implications of taking shit out of context, Miyamoto suggests that Mario shouldn’t have a deep story because it’s a franchise that works well without it. That’s fine. Mario has worked well without a deep story for 15 fucking years. The problem is the confusion with “deep” and just “decent”. Mario games feel empty and devoid of any real desire to motivate the player to progress through the newly born fetch quest fiesta of game flow that pervades Mario games since 64. Even NSMB has that shit sneaked in via Star coins.

“I just feel that the Mario games are something that should be a much more bright and active experience,” he said. “With the Mario games, you don’t need to have such a complicated setting where you have these particular characters with complicated backstories that can weigh down the bright and fun feel of the game.”

A story doesn’t have to be “complex” to be “interesting”. There’s a difference, and I feel Miyamoto missed that ball again. Course, I can’t blame him for that. The Japanese overall have a bad habit of over-analyzing every god damn thing in existence. I’ve watched almost all of Code Geass to confirm that. Hell, watching most Gundam shows over even Death Note… or hell, just about any anime can confirm that. The characters over-analyze their situations and come up with unrealisticaly complex answers for their situations. But.. either way, this is a huge problem in Japan, and with Miyamoto, he’s confusing complex story telling with “deep”. Deep, in this context, would mean how “far in” you are interested in the story. The Lord of the Rings, one of the most popular franchises at this point, doesn’t really have a complex story, you have a bunch of hobbits and elves traversing New Zealand in order to drop the One Ring into the fires of Mordor. It doesn’t get any more complex than that. What makes it deep, however, is how the characters go about this plan of action. First thing you have to do is make the audience give a damn about the characters in the first place.

Why should you care about why Frodo must take on this challenge to destroy the ring? Well, despite his frailty, he’s the only person who has shown resistence to the influence of the ring, making him an essential member of the fellowship. But he’s also kind of a pussy so throwing him into a dangerous world filled with Orcs and giant spiders can make the story interesting. Why? It’s a character that can’t fight worth shit having his life threatened at almost every corner. There’s also the people that can fight, but they’re busy liberating kingdoms and whatnot. Or better yet, why should you care about Ratchet and Clank? Their stories are simple. Galaxy has a problem with super villains, kill they asses. Why we care is because (at least… with the first game) is because these 2 have this “unbreakable bond” despite these trials that seem to force them into breaking apart (First game, Tools of Destruction, maybe Crack in Time), and despite the simplicity of the plots, you still wanna see where they turn up…..I guess.

Or better yet… Sonic Adventure 2. Why should you care about Shadow’s crusade against humanity? Because his bitch died thanks to those dirty military meatheads and he wants blood.

You can have a simple story and yet keep it deep at the same time, and a lot of times, this is the winning strategy. No one can really get invested into complex storylines anyway (Gundam Wing especially failed with that). None of the characters in Ratchet and Clank (until Crack in Time) have complicated backgrounds, and yet we still like the fuckers enough to keep invested into the games.

While I see this is what Miyamoto is trying to convey, Miyamoto’s stories leave the audience dry. We can’t seem to give a fuck about ANYTHING in the Mario universe except the main game. This is a problem, why? Because this mentality snuck it’s way into an RPG! The Paper Mario series is an RPG series. RPGs NEED a good story, complex or otherwise, if they want to motivate the player to go through that shit. Taking that a step further, why should I care about Count Bleck and his love affair with a butterfly?

Well, we don’t know why until the very end of the game, and his motivation to destroy the world just gives him the “Handsome Jack” medal of jack assery.

“I feel that even if all that you have is that the villain is just simply a villain and you fight them, and you throw them down, and you find out, well, that wasn’t such a bad villain after all, that’s enough story for ultimately what is just about a very fun experience,” he added.

Except SPM isn’t fun period. So the entire time that we’re bored out of our asses, we’re expected to care about these people and what they do?

Now, we went on about that poll in which people did not find the story of Super Paper Mario to be “interesting”, and Miyamoto then uses that as proof that “story is no longer important”. But then that sneaks it’s way into content. Now the Mario universe is repetitious and devoid of ingenuity. You remember how SMB3 had several different kingdoms aside from the Mushroom Kingdom and how Bowser invaded them all, inserting his children as the dictators of those kingdoms? Simple story, but interesting, and you got to find out that the Mushroom Kingdom was bigger than we once thought. But now? The worlds Mario explores are lazy and half-hearted. The “paper dimension” or w/e in SPM is fucking stupid. NSMBW has bland worlds in the Mushroom Kingdom, all reused from previous games, no less. So for the next RPG in the series, we get a game about some fucking stickers.

We all had a good laugh. But it’s actually quite disappointing. In my view, Koizumi had the right idea. Super Mario Galaxy had the requisite, ritualistic kidnapping of Princess Peach, yes. But it also had another cast of characters, a princess from outer space and her family of talking stars, who had a deeper, sadder story that was revealed through elegant picture-book scenes throughout the game.

It’s not just Koizumi who’s pushing back against Miyamoto’s propensity towards minimalism. Miyamoto says he’s also had some “battles” with the team making New Super Mario Bros. Wii over the story.

They always want to have these dramatic scenes where Princess Peach gets kidnapped, but I always tell them, no, it’s fine — Princess Peach likes cake, so you can just have them use cake as bait to kidnap Princess Peach, and that’s enough,” he laughed.

“Glutton” was the word in Japanese he used to describe Princess Peach.

“I was thinking they could have these big ships come in, and they’ve got these big chains all over them, and they drop a plate down with cake on it,” he said.

For the time being, it seems like the Galaxy 2 team is still trying to get some story in, where Miyamoto will allow it.

“I think you did see a person carved out of a tree stump in the trailer. That person has a bit of a story,” Miyamoto said.

So, what he’s saying is we could’ve had an actual story instead of the blandest fucking reused plot of all time? A birthday cake where Peach gets kidnapped. Again.

Read the bold. According to him, the team wanted to make the princess kidnapping more “awesome”. That’s all we can really gather, but what is the problem with that? Is it expenses or what? I don’t really know. NSMBW was cheap as it was, adding a little bit of oh wait, they were trying to kill 2D Mario, nevermind!

Even with NSMB, 3D Land and World are basically the same thing. Minimal story and content. It’s simply putting a 2D Skin on 3D Mario with the basic plot of kidnapping peach or some gay ass fairies. And to put it bluntly, Bowser in a pimp car is retarded. The guy is a fucking DRAGON!

I actually feel sorry for Koizuma even though he made Sunshine’s crappy ass narrative. I can also see why Miyamoto put some jackass in charge of Zelda seeing as he doesn’t want to get involved in story. The more control Miyamoto seems to have over games, the less interesting the games are. For a guy considered a legend and an icon in the industry, this shouldn’t be the case. Miyamoto’s desire to minimalize story is another tale of good intentions paving the road to hell.

Or were they good intentions? The Japanese are the biggest liars in the game industry, and there’s always a third layer to their real intent. Sonic’s Lost Mind is written all over that statement with all the BS interviews. What’s Miyamoto’s real incentive for removing (or “minimizing”) story altogether?

Well, 2 theories.

1. The HOPEFUL theory is that Miyamoto is fighting against the notion of needing movie like stories in games. Cause… yeah, every game feels like a movie these days. Games are games first and foremost and they’re meant to played, all that shit. Of course, stories are a motivational aspect of games. They get you “into the groove” of why you should bother playing these games. You don’t advertise a game due to gameplay reasons (Talking to you LBP2) as that’s not what attracts people to games. You can’t get rid of it altogether (which is what Miyamoto IS infact doing) because then you’d have to make an arcade box. Arcades don’t need stories, just play the damn game because it’s fun and passes the time. But Miyamoto doesn’t like making fun games that pass the time, so removing story altogether is dangerous because then you’ve removed the motivation to progress through an un-fun game. Jak 2 is un-fun. Infact, it’s laced in bullshit. But people were motivated to go through it because they wanted to see where the game went with it’s plot (most people, at least. Not everyone had the patience for it’s bullshit). Mario games don’t have that pull thanks to you know what.

2. The REALISTIC theory is that Miyamoto is more focused on being different. Miyamoto has always had this stick up his ass about being counter-culture. He’s been this way since the 90s. Remember Yoshi’s Island? You know, that game he made to give the finger to his bosses that wanted him to make a game like Donkey Kong Country? Because, you know, it saved their asses from Kalinske’s dick? Yeah, that game had children’s drawings as it’s graphics, that alone turned people off from the game. But yeah, Miyamoto has always tried to make games that were different from the norm. The problem is they aren’t very fun. And that’s the big issue. The Miyamoto of today is not the same guy who made Donkey Kong in the 80s. He doesn’t even know why people like those old games so much. He’s much more invested in creating intricate mechanics and making the games feel more like toy play-sets with puzzles and shit no one cares about.

And I think that leads into the real issue. Since stories (or rather “content”) have become one of the major reasons people bother with video games, Miyamoto’s desire to minimize everything else is so that players focus strictly on the gameplay. Afterall, this guy claims that a game with a different character is the same damn game. Miyamoto is all about intricate mechanics above all else. He couldn’t give 2 shits if the music was good (and Mario games have terrible music aside from Mario Kart 64 and Mario Tennis). This is why he wished to destroy 2D Mario because 2D Mario demands less intricacy and more fun shit like kicking turtle ass! I don’t wanna race turtles in some friendly competition for a Power Star,  fuck! Miyamoto has a HUGE ego, and wants people to know his genius through the power of puzzle-based platformers.

People within Nintendo suggest that they wouldn’t want Miyamoto as their boss, and this is possibly the reason why. He’s deliberately holding games back for intricate mechanics showcases. I’d rather play Dynasty Warriors Gundam 3 than Super Mario 3D Land. It’s a piece of shit, but at least the entire time, I’m kicking ass with all the technicolor explosions to go with it. It’s fun despite the “minimal story”. I can’t say that about miyamoto’s games because there is no story OR fun factor to go along with it.

Advertisements