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Miyamoto: world beats story in games

Player-creator "bond", creative play are key.

Shigeru Miyamoto has said that he thinks a players' relationship with a game world, "bond" with the game's creators, and ability to play creatively are more important than story and emotion in gaming.

"More than story, what's really important is the connection between the person creating the game and the person playing the game," he said. "And what's very important is that the person playing the game be able to feel naturally accepting of the world that's been created for them to play in."

The Nintendo design legend had been posed a question from IGN reader starmin76 in a video interview on the site: "What is your view on emotion and story in games?"

Although he didn't quite answer the question directly, Miyamoto embarked on a brilliant distillation of his game design philosophy that is such essential reading, we reproduce it in full here.

"Then what happens is if they have a natural acceptance of the rules and of what's happening in this world that's been created, then that bond between creator and player becomes that much stronger and that much more important," he continued.

"And then what happens is as the player begins to understand the world that they're playing in, then they're going to begin to think about ways that they can play within that world; they use their own creativity and their own imagination to tell the story or to come up with their own parts of the story, and at the same time they come up with new ways to play in this world that has been created for them."

Predicting and encouraging creative play within a game world was at the heart of good game design and that sense of connection with the game's creators, Miyamoto explained.

"As a developer then, we have to try to predict some of the ways that players will try to play in that world, and give them reactions or responses or rewards for using their own creativity for finding new ways to interact within that environment," he said.

"And that to me is really what is the most important element - the connection between creator and player in a videogame."

In the interview, Miyamoto also discusses Nintendo's online service ("I can't really speak in any detail about what our precise plans might be, but Nintendo's ultimate goal is to have every Wii connected to the internet") and the possibility of a version of Super Mario World for the 3DS.

Asked what he would change or add to the SNES classic, he said, "The question gets me thinking about what fun it would be to create a Super Mario World game in the Nintendo 3DS and how we could use the depth and the sense of distance offered by 3D visuals on the world map and on the maps in that game, so that you have Bullet Bills flying at you from a distance and popping up off the screen."

Was that a hint, he was asked? "I don't know... Maybe!"

File that one under speculative musing then - although it would hardly be the first time Nintendo had remade one of its classics to give a boost to a new portable.

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Oli Welsh


Oli was Eurogamer's MMO Editor before a seven-year stint as Editor. He worked here for a colossal 14 years, shaping the website and leading it.