GDC: Shigeru Miyamoto's keynote address Finished
Another day, another keynote - at 18.30 GMT (10.30 PST), Nintendo's creative legend Shigeru Miyamoto will be taking the stage to address the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, and we will of course be providing our customary Live Text coverage of the keynote.
As with Sony's presentation yesterday, this is the first time Nintendo has had a chance to set out its stall in public since the launch of Wii - but unlike Sony, Nintendo has managed to keep a tight lid on the content of Miyamoto's speech, so frankly we don't have a clue what he's going to talk about.
Previous Nintendo speeches at GDC have been a mixed bag - always stirring, fascinating and downright emotive, but not always what you might call news-laden. Some years, you get a massive announcement; Wi- Fi Connection and the move into online gaming was first revealed at GDC two years ago. Other years, you get a senior Nintendo designer talking about what games mean to him, where he thinks they're going and what it was like when he used to stay up all night and eat a lot of pizza.
We'll be kicking off Live Text around half six, and hopefully avoiding some of the Internet connection problems which caused hiccups with our Phil Harrison Live Text last night - so tune in then to find out what the father of Mario and Link (by different mothers, presumably) has in store for us!
Our live coverage has now ended. Here's what you missed: Updating...
Looks like the keynote could be starting late. There are still a few people filling into the hall. It's all giant screens with the Nintendo logo and high tempo repetitive beats.
There seem to be a few fanboys around, including one journalist dressed in a Mario hat and dungarees. No moustache though. Shame.
A man in a suit with a robot head on is standing in front of the stage, bowing and waving to people. Makes a change from Sony's giant footballs yesterday.
Still no sign of Miyamoto or indeed anyone apart from the audience and a man with a robot head.
We're being told to turn off all telephones "and all other noise creating devices". Even DSes?
Oh good, more Daft Punk. No sign of Miyamoto. One of the stewards is wearing a kilt.
They're still seating people... They're still playing Daft Punk... He's still wearing a kilt...
They're playing One More Time one more time. Argh.
We're being asked to "extinguish all noise producing devices" now and take our seats. Everybody's taken their seats, what's the hold up? Is Miyamoto busy finishing a particularly intense game of Wii Tennis?
It's starting! Jamil Moledina, the boss of GDC, is on the stage. He's talking about culturally dominant art forms and the contribution of Miyamoto.
Apparently this is giong to be "a very different kind of keynote, a personal experience".
It's Miyamoto's Mii! We're seeing how it was made. Now he's in the big room with Jamil and Bill. And he's on stage!
"I'm amazed that it has been eight years since we had the chance to talk. You haven't aged a bit, just like me," Miyamoto is joshing.
Now a translator is helping out. Miyamoto's waving the Wii remote about. He's going to use the Wii Photo Channel to do his presentation.
He's showing us a photo of his garden. He's zooming in to look for pikmin...
He's going to talk about when he first started designing games - he's showing Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, the stereotypical image of gamers.
Miyamoto is wearing a nice velvet jacket and a Zelda pin badge! He's talking about 1998 and the success of Goldeneye.
By 2004, Miyamoto says, it was all about GTA and Halo, and reporters always wanted to ask him about the effect games were having on people.
"They thought that we were changing gamers into some kind of zombies, and this troubled me."
"Players themselves seemed to only want more of the same kind of game. We as developers felt we had to make these games in order to sell them, so this was a period where Nintendo and myself found ourselves at a crossroads."
The topic for today is the creative vision - and Nintendo's creative vision. "No matter how clear your own vision it must resonate with your company." Luckily Miyamoto and Nintendo have always matched.
There are 3 elements to Nintendo's corporate vision. First, the expanded audience. "Maybe you've already heard too much about it by now..."
Miyamoto's showing the "Wife-O-Meter", which he uses to evaluate how the expanded audience is growing by evaluating "the interest level of my own wife".
"You may remember Pac-Man and Mario coming out. These were important moments in your life. They were not important for my wife."
He thought his wife would like Tetris, but she didn't. But then she watched their daughter playing Ocarina - "So then I thought, maybe there is hope." Then came Animal Crossing - "When it came out I assured my wife there were no enemies to fight, so she agreed to actually touch the controller."
Miyamoto is a dog lover. Wonder what he's going to talk about next...
Looks like he's showing the new thing on Wii where you can look at poll results - 60 percent of Wii owners like dogs, while 40 are cat people.
Photos of Miyamoto's dog. "He sleeps on a better mattress than I do." He's called Pick because his face looks like a guitar pick.
Surprise! He's talking about Nintendogs. "When I showed this to my wife, she finally looked at games differently." But it was Brain Age that turned her into a true gamer - "She's finally begin to understand the unique interactive entertainment found in videogames."
On Valentine's day, women in Japan give chocolates to men. Miyamoto was late from work, and found his wife still up playing the Wii. "She was casting her votes on the Everybody Votes channel."
"It would be more normal to find Donkey Kong eating at my dining table" rather than see his wife download something game-related before.
Miyamoto's wife says she can beat him at Brain Age. Websites around the globe furiously type "WIFE BEATS MIYAMOTO" headline.
The second element of Nintendo's vision is their devotion to the entertainment business. They don't worry about diversification, so "every employee focuses solely on entertainment."
Engineers and programmers work in the same building at Nintendo. Apparently this is important so the teams are close.
He's talking about Nintendo controllers now. "It's a group collaboration." "In creating Wii, this process was more intense than ever. We had different teams trying to reconcile their separate viewpoints."
One team wanted to do new stuff, the Zelda team wanted to focus on old franchises, the Wii team wanted to focus on the controller.
He's showing a curvy square Wii controller prototype, a round orange one with a star in the middle, a black remote similar to the Wiimote.
They wanted to create "the most entertainment for the most users" with the controller. "We felt we were in a long tunnel with no light at the end." Finally they decided to mimic a TV remote.
He's still going on about the Wii remote. "It can do a lot, can't it." He says it's what he dreamed of for many years.
A photo of a museum in Kyoto now. Can't possibly spell the name. It's a museum for a game that blends playing cards and ancient Japanese poetry. Again, can't spell it. Nintendo is one of the companies that makes the cards.
[The museum in Kyoto is Shigureden, and the poetry/card game is Uta Karuta - Ed]
Miyamoto helped design the museum - it's got LCD screens on the floor. As you walk around, you get a modified DS which keeps track of your location in the museum. You can press buttons to change the images on the screens at your feet.
Hmm... Is he going to announce anything new at all?
He's still banging on about the museum. It does look very nice, mind you.
"It wasn't until last E3 when we saw the long lines and happy faces at our booth - that was the moment when we knew this risk was worth taking."
He's showing us footage of Japanese women playing the DS for the first time. And an old buffer and a little girl. Hm.
The third element of Nintendo's vision is risk - doing things differently. "We questioned our own definition of what a videogame is." DS, Nintendogs, Brain Age... "GameCube was just a half-step in working towards an expanded audience."
He's talking about the GC's controller - "In the end I think this controller was still too complicated" for non-gamers. "In all honesty there were concerns even for me" with the Wii, and with its one handed controller. "I found myself acting as an evangelist inside the company. I would tell our producers that you have to think not about what's going to be lost, but gained."
"Corporations don't make videogames, people do." Is he announcing a Goldie Lookin' Chain game?
"What I always think about is the core element of fun within the game. To do that I imagine one thing - the face of the player as he or she is experiencing the game, not any individual part of the game itself."
He's talking about game design and the importance of thinking about the player's experience. "If I think we need to drastically change the spec or delay a game, I'm going to take that step" if he thinks it's important for the player.
More lifestyle photos of ladies and talk about expanding the audience. Wii Play "seems to be too elementary" for core gamers, but they've found many core gamers like it because "it's a game they can play with their non-gaming friends".
"I am making games so players themselves become more creative." Gamers are encouraged to think proactively while they're playing. "The core of this element is really communication".
"I thought that Zelda could create a different kind of communication." The first NES prototype of Zelda didn't go over well in Japan - "people were confused... They couldn't even solve the puzzles." But rather than make it easier, Miyamoto decided to take the sword away at the beginning.
"I wanted them to talk with other Zelda players" to solve problems. Back then there weren't chat rooms but players found ways to exchange information.
Animal Crossing now. It's also enjoyed by hardcore gamers, so Miyamoto learned that what gamers want "isn't always the best graphics or best audio or best production". 7 million copies now sold.
Developers always complain that there's "not enough" - people, budget, time. "I often go to Mr. Iwata with these same complaints, and unfortunately he responds the way I expect your bosses do - Too Bad."
Wii Baseball now. Miyamoto's always been a big fan of baseball, but the Wii game is very simple and short - "not very realistic at all".
They spent their time making the game feel realistic, focusing on pitching and hitting. "We felt we could create a new kind of realism people hadn't experienced before." "At one point during development, we did try using Mario characters" instead of Miis - but people liked the Miis better.
"Some people at Nintendo say when I have an idea I never let it go." He's showing a toy Nintendo once made that pitched baseballs. He thought it would make a great videogame, but the thing about Wii Baseball is you can choose when you throw a curve ball.
He's showing an old program for NES for designing and animating faces. It was put on hold but Miyamoto liked it. In the nineties it came BACK.
Thought everyone would love his GameCube program. He's showing footage of characters dancing. It was frst shown at E3 in 2002.
Iwata told Miyamoto that a team was working on a face creation game for DS. Miyamoto was frustrated he hadn't managed to do it himself.
Mii now - and back to the expanded audience. He wanted to make something everyone could use so they made the Mii editor simple.
Working on a new Mii channel where you can compare Miis and enter contests.
He's always asked "what happened to Mario 128?" by people. Says most of you have played it in Pikmin.
Says you'll be able to play Mario Galaxy this year. [Hooray, an announcement! - Ed.]
Has a lot of faith in future of games. Wants to reach out to those who fear them. Back to stereotype of gamer, which is already changing.
Mario Galaxy video. Moustachey zooms round spherical worlds, spins stars, bounces between planets - there's lava level, a plant monster. Applause. Cheers.
If we can combat my wife we can combat anyone. Standing ovation. The end!