Shigeru Miyamoto views games as products, not art

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I just saw someone mention this article:

http://gamez.itmedia.co.jp/games/articles/0910/27/news082_3.html

Since it's in Japanese I can't tell for sure, but the guy who brought it up pointed out one quote from the article:

Shigeru Miyamoto:
"What we have created are not an art but products. For us, the most important are the customers and not games themselves. I always tell staff to call Nintendo games products, not an art."

Anyone who can read Japanese want to double-check?

I'm inclined to agree with him.

People are taking this art thing art of proportion. They are trying to use it as an excuse to justify their gaming habits. And if they are trying to find a way to justify their gaming, they need to stop spending so much time gaming.

Well, games are all art by definition. And anything sold is a product by definition. So it seems like semantics to me haha.

Eh. Well sure. But that in the end seems a question of intent.

The creators of "the path" go on about it being some kind of art, and maybe it is.

I guess the difference is one is created to be sold, and if it's art is a secondary concern, while the other is created to be art, and whether it sells well is secondary.

You could probably say the same thing about renaissance artists.
Being asked by a wealthy patron to create a portrait for them is quite different from creating a work of art for your own reasons.

In the end both require just as much skill to do well, but the purpose is quite different.

Tdc2182:
I'm inclined to agree with him.

People are taking this art thing art of proportion. They are trying to use it as an excuse to justify their gaming habits. And if they are trying to find a way to justify their gaming, they need to stop spending so much time gaming.

What you say is true. My stance opinion on the matter is "Yes, they are art. No, being art is not a big deal...lots of things are art." However, I think for most of us it's about gaming being legitimized, not justified. We're all tired of gaming being the media scapegoat.

While I disagree about the "not art" part of Mr. Miyamoto's statement, I can see why he wants to focus on making a good product instead of some potentially pretentious "work of art!". CrystalShadow summed it up pretty well.

CrystalShadow:
Eh. Well sure. But that in the end seems a question of intent.

The creators of "the path" go on about it being some kind of art, and maybe it is.

I guess the difference is one is created to be sold, and if it's art is a secondary concern, while the other is created to be art, and whether it sells well is secondary.

You could probably say the same thing about renaissance artists.
Being asked by a wealthy patron to create a portrait for them is quite different from creating a work of art for your own reasons.

In the end both require just as much skill to do well, but the purpose is quite different.

I seem to remember him saying something very different in the past, but I can't remember exactly when or where I would find a source. Coming from him though, that is rather surprising when taken at face value.

However, I think what he's saying is simply that the focus must be on the person who will play the game, not the artistic merit of the game itself. That they are not out to make a work of art, they are out to make a product that everyone will enjoy. I think it's semantics and splitting hairs in a negative way, but I'm not sure the statement is about games being "not art" as much as it is that Nintendo focuses on the player experience above all else.

Sometimes art and product go hand in hand when it comes to the entertainment industry. Look at The Dark Knight for example. A fine example of film as an art form that also made a crap load of money at the box office. By referring to games as a product appeases the investors as product translates to potential money in their eyes where art usually means niche appeal that won't make alot of money.

So yeah, I kinda have to agree with Miyamoto on this.

I see nothing wrong here.

Yes, games can be art. They don't need to be art.

If Nintendo wants to do it that way, that's their business.

That seems like a very characteristically Japanese thing to say.

MB202:
I just saw someone mention this article:

http://gamez.itmedia.co.jp/games/articles/0910/27/news082_3.html

Since it's in Japanese I can't tell for sure, but the guy who brought it up pointed out one quote from the article:

Shigeru Miyamoto:
"What we have created are not an art but products. For us, the most important are the customers and not games themselves. I always tell staff to call Nintendo games products, not an art."

Anyone who can read Japanese want to double-check?

As a person with a degree in product development I can agree with what he is saying, because I can apply a lot of my theories onto games.

That is not to say games can't be art, but as I always say in these dabates: Most games ARE NOT art! And most mainstream games will never be art, no more than Green Lantern and Hangover 2 are art.

So, Nintendo admits their games are not art. So, whats changed?

Tdc2182:
I'm inclined to agree with him.

People are taking this art thing art of proportion. They are trying to use it as an excuse to justify their gaming habits. And if they are trying to find a way to justify their gaming, they need to stop spending so much time gaming.

Took the words out of my mouth [figuratively speaking]
I can't wait for us to grow out of this 'games are art man' phase and just get back to enjoying a fun hobby. I don't hear book readers preaching out about how artistically tuned they are, same with film watchers or music listeners. Sure they are all art, but they don't proudly wave their arms around shouting "Look at me! I'm better than you!"

And you know what? I like that the customer is put first. I want games made for me, not games made for the developer. Because they would most likely be shit.

have you seen modern art not a real big loss

SammiYin:

Tdc2182:
I'm inclined to agree with him.

People are taking this art thing art of proportion. They are trying to use it as an excuse to justify their gaming habits. And if they are trying to find a way to justify their gaming, they need to stop spending so much time gaming.

Took the words out of my mouth [figuratively speaking]
I can't wait for us to grow out of this 'games are art man' phase and just get back to enjoying a fun hobby. I don't hear book readers preaching out about how artistically tuned they are, same with film watchers or music listeners. Sure they are all art, but they don't proudly wave their arms around shouting "Look at me! I'm better than you!"

And you know what? I like that the customer is put first. I want games made for me, not games made for the developer. Because they would most likely be shit.

It because film, movies, and books are considered art by most I think. Video games aren't, that is why. You're misrepresenting the whole game is art thing I think . It isn't about being better but more like about being equal or at least potentially equal. At least from what I understand of it... I could be wrong I mostly just skim these topics if I pay any attention.

Tdc2182:
I'm inclined to agree with him.

People are taking this art thing art of proportion. They are trying to use it as an excuse to justify their gaming habits. And if they are trying to find a way to justify their gaming, they need to stop spending so much time gaming.

Pretty much all that. I love gaming as much as the next guy, but I'm not going to delude myself into believing that most of these games are even remotely "artistic". They're glorified toys. They're as much "art" as playing with a tonka truck in your sandbox.

Tdc2182:
I'm inclined to agree with him.

People are taking this art thing art of proportion. They are trying to use it as an excuse to justify their gaming habits. And if they are trying to find a way to justify their gaming, they need to stop spending so much time gaming.

I agree, while they can be art, I prefer the emphasis on entertainment. Everything else has been said.

starwarsgeek:

What you say is true. My stance opinion on the matter is "Yes, they are art. No, being art is not a big deal...lots of things are art." However, I think for most of us it's about gaming being legitimized, not justified. We're all tired of gaming being the media scapegoat.

You have a way with words

That's more or less what I was thinking with the "legitimized" thing, but couldn't really find the word for it.

Makes the situation much more clear.

SammiYin:

I can't wait for us to grow out of this 'games are art man' phase and just get back to enjoying a fun hobby. I don't hear book readers preaching out about how artistically tuned they are, same with film watchers or music listeners. Sure they are all art, but they don't proudly wave their arms around shouting "Look at me! I'm better than you!"

Oh man, me too. It really is like an adolescent stage, where gamers think everything they do is so serious. Man, I swear the way I've seen a lot of "games as art" people talk whenever anything against gaming comes up, it's no different from some 15 year old screaming "I REALLY LOVE HER, MOM, WE'LL BE TOGETHER FOREVER!" about his first girlfriend. Or "YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND ME, DAD!" about why he wasn't allowed to go on an unchaperoned trip to Disneyland or something.

Also, book readers, film watchers and movie listeners have grown out of that phase, and their more pretentious twits have shrunk into a little niche. The same thing will happen with gaming if we give it the same amount of time that books/film/music have had.

MB202:
I just saw someone mention this article:

http://gamez.itmedia.co.jp/games/articles/0910/27/news082_3.html

Since it's in Japanese I can't tell for sure, but the guy who brought it up pointed out one quote from the article:

Shigeru Miyamoto:
"What we have created are not an art but products. For us, the most important are the customers and not games themselves. I always tell staff to call Nintendo games products, not an art."

Anyone who can read Japanese want to double-check?

If he doesn't consider his work art, why should anyone else?

Is this why nintendo won't enter new ideas? Not because they can't or it would hurt them but because of mad management? If so, he holds back the entire industry.

AyreonMaiden:

SammiYin:

I can't wait for us to grow out of this 'games are art man' phase and just get back to enjoying a fun hobby. I don't hear book readers preaching out about how artistically tuned they are, same with film watchers or music listeners. Sure they are all art, but they don't proudly wave their arms around shouting "Look at me! I'm better than you!"

Oh man, me too. It really is like an adolescent stage, where gamers think everything they do is so serious. Man, I swear the way I've seen a lot of "games as art" people talk whenever anything against gaming comes up, it's no different from some 15 year old screaming "I REALLY LOVE HER, MOM, WE'LL BE TOGETHER FOREVER!" about his first girlfriend. Or "YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND ME, DAD!" about why he wasn't allowed to go on an unchaperoned trip to Disneyland or something.

Also, book readers, film watchers and movie listeners have grown out of that phase, and their more pretentious twits have shrunk into a little niche. The same thing will happen with gaming if we give it the same amount of time that books/film/music have had.

It's not that we think everything we do is serious, it's about being equal to other forms of entertainment, at the moment games can be criticized for everything that films and music can get away with, if a film was to depict rape in a way as to get an emotional response out of a reader people would be gushing over how hard hitting that scene was, if a video game was to do the same thing the game would be crucified for depicting rape. It's not about thinking we are superior it's about respect, and to stop the media from using video games as a scapegoat.

Miyamoto has always been more or less a "toymaker". While someone could look at it and say "this is beautiful art!", the toymaker will always say "but I just made it so that you would like it".

He's a businessman, but one with a creative spark. There's still a little twinkle in his eye, unlike the other soulless machines that loudly belch "I don't want it to be fun to make games" (not pointing any fingers >_>;)

I do agree with him. When Nintendo makes a new Pokemon game, they're not doing it for the same reason "Flower" was made. They're making it because it's fun for the consumers, and the consumers want to buy it.

Not every game needs to be art. While we can call it art, that doesn't mean that the intentions behind it are artistic.

trollpwner:

Is this why nintendo won't enter new ideas? Not because they can't or it would hurt them but because of mad management? If so, he holds back the entire industry.

This statement is beyond crazy.

Let's get past the fact that instead of throwing the dice on new IPs, they create new games of existing IPs.

How on earth is Nintendo not innovating? Nintendo is still far and away the most innovative developer in the industry. This isn't even debatable. Yes, Super Mario Galaxy is "just another Mario game", but it's also one of the most unique and brilliant games ever made. Would you really have enjoyed it more if instead of being a Mario game, it had been a new IP? The Wii and the upcoming Wii U (not to mention virtually every version of their handhelds) have all been innovative consoles/devices.

Shiggy's not holding back the industry. Quite the opposite: he's always been about kind of ignoring the industry and blazing his own trail, leaving other consoles (and unfortunately, third-party developers) scratching their heads. He tries too much to do new things (sometimes to the detriment of the games.) More than once, Shiggy can be credited as having saved the industry.

Kahunaburger:
Well, games are all art by definition.

I heavily disagree. I think something should have some sort of heart and soul, be beautiful, have some way to change you and make you think and teach you new ways of viewing the world in order to be considered art. M&M's Racing and Imagine: Babyz and Carnival Games and a ton of other such games fall nowhere near that category.

Assuming it's an accurate translation, I can't say I'm all that surprised. Many of Nintendo's biggest titles have basically been refining and rereleasing the same game for 20+ years now. That certainly sounds more like a consumer product than a piece of art to me. It also does little to argue that games can't have artistic value, just that Nintendo makes them to sell rather than to have any real meaning.

StriderShinryu:
Assuming it's an accurate translation, I can't say I'm all that surprised. Many of Nintendo's biggest titles have basically been refining and rereleasing the same game for 20+ years now.

Yes, especially the Mario ones, dictating how every platform game should be made with every Mario released. How unoriginal of them.

Well, I can see where he's coming from, saying that their games are products first. But still, games are an artistic medium, even if they are not marketed that way.

I'm sure that when Rembrandt made a painting he primairily saw it as a product too. Sure it was art, but het painted so that he could pay for food.

For the producer a product will always be a product first, but that doesn't mean it can't be something else too.

I feel its always better to remeber its a game and therfore is suppose to be fun. If you get wrapped up in the whole games should be art then you risk running into the "art for the sake of art" trap and then your left with pretensious peices of shit.

GrungyMunchy:

StriderShinryu:
Assuming it's an accurate translation, I can't say I'm all that surprised. Many of Nintendo's biggest titles have basically been refining and rereleasing the same game for 20+ years now.

Yes, especially the Mario ones, dictating how every platform game should be made with every Mario released. How unoriginal of them.

It's not a question of quality, it's a question of concept. Nintendo makes, generally, high quality enjoyable titles. The Mario games, however, have basically seen two maybe three lives. One Super Mario to Mario World, the other Mario 64 to present. There's an obvious refinement to the execution and ideas used, but you're fooling yourself if you think that Mario 64 is a totally different game than Galaxy 2. It's the same as with, say, a microwave oven. Today's microwave might cook things more evenly and look prettier than one from 20 years ago, but it's still the same fundamental product.

by definition games are art but fuk the dictionary some games are art but not all games just a select few

Art... I consider a game by Bioshock to be art, given the immersion, setting, backstory etc. But in the end you can ignore all that and play through the entire game ignoring all the story and just playing the game to have fun and dick around. I mean, we all like dystopian fiction once in a while but who cares when you can set a person on fire and, while they go into some water to extinguish the flames, shock the water and find joy in their screams of pain and then loot the corpse for money and supplies.

trollpwner:

MB202:
I just saw someone mention this article:

http://gamez.itmedia.co.jp/games/articles/0910/27/news082_3.html

Since it's in Japanese I can't tell for sure, but the guy who brought it up pointed out one quote from the article:

Shigeru Miyamoto:
"What we have created are not an art but products. For us, the most important are the customers and not games themselves. I always tell staff to call Nintendo games products, not an art."

Anyone who can read Japanese want to double-check?

If he doesn't consider his work art, why should anyone else?

Is this why nintendo won't enter new ideas? Not because they can't or it would hurt them but because of mad management? If so, he holds back the entire industry.

I hate to admit it... actually I'm glad to admit it because it's been on my mind for a while, but I'd have to agree with you there. After watching Extra Credits, I'd have to say that Nintendo rarely tries to push the envelope or do anything to make deeper and more meaningful games... With some exceptions, but those exceptions are typically made by second party developers, like Intelligent Systems.

I don't see why the two have to be mutually exclusive. Movies are obviously considered both an art form and a product. What makes it different to gaming?

Well, they're not mutually exclusive.

Miyamoto has the right idea; Nintendo is a company that is trying to sell games, therefore they should approach the production of a game as a product. Do their best to achieve the highest quality possible. That doesn't mean that they can't also make their products into works of art at the same time, it just means that it's not on their list of priorities.

I would like Nintendo to push their creative boundaries a bit more though. They have the talent to pull off stuff similar to what Team Ico has done; create great games that can also be considered works of art.

MB202:

I hate to admit it... actually I'm glad to admit it because it's been on my mind for a while, but I'd have to agree with you there. After watching Extra Credits, I'd have to say that Nintendo rarely tries to push the envelope or do anything to make deeper and more meaningful games... With some exceptions, but those exceptions are typically made by second party developers, like Intelligent Systems.

And the worst part of it is, that nintendo has great potential to innovate!

Sure, they may keep mario, zelda and metroid, but they could create better stories! Create varied and detailed worlds full of character, life, and detail! And the could open new franchises as well. Why not? They already can make great games, so why not create great games with new concepts? I mean, surely the can do this! It's not beyond them.

I'm guessing you're interested in nintendo and you of all people must be hurt by this rechurning of the same, setting, story and gameplay. Even if you do like the franchises, it must be upsetting to not see them expand and become more, even learning about whole new great worlds and experiences.

C'mon, ninty! When you innovate, your fans will like you [b]more[/] not less!

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