Miyamoto: Making Games Is Like Writing Detective Novels


Games shouldn’t bury their secrets where few will find them, says the Mario creator.

Making a fun game is like penning a good mystery, says Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto, because – as with detective stories – getting the flow of information just right is crucial to keeping players engaged.

Developers had to give players enough information to keep them moving forward, Miyamoto said, without overloading them with too much all at once. He thought that games could hide their secrets too well, which could leave players bewildered or frustrated.

Miyamoto thought that with the right level of difficulty, players would want to play a game over and over, each time learning more about it. He said that he always tried to keep that gradual improvement in a player’s skill in mind when he made games. He encouraged the younger developers at Nintendo to consider it as well, and used tricks like getting them to swap their left and right hands on the controller to show what it was like for players who didn’t have years of experience under their belts.

The Wii is much more casual-friendly than Nintendo’s previous consoles, so making games accessible to novices is more important now than it ever has been. Miyamoto’s techniques are applicable to any game however, as even the most difficult of hardcore titles needs to communicate relevant information to players effectively.

Source: The New Yorker

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