Skip to main content

Long read: The beauty and drama of video games and their clouds

"It's a little bit hard to work out without knowing the altitude of that dragon..."

If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy.

Wii Fit Plus is "not a sequel" - Miyamoto

Also: why he always carries a tape measure.

In the latest edition of Iwata Asks, Nintendo boss and wannabe chat-show host Satoru Iwata interviewed his most famous employee, Shigeru Miyamoto, about Wii Fit Plus. Miyamoto told his superior that he regarded the new fitness title as an "enhanced version", not a sequel.

"We began developing Wii Fit Plus with a kind of typical game developer's way of thinking: since the first one has sold well, we should come up with a sequel," he confessed.

But, although there are some 20-odd new exercises and mini-games, and a new method of combining physical and mental exercises, Miyamoto felt it was more important to improve the "convenience factor" of the Wii Fit so players wouldn't stop using it after a while.

He focused work on streamlining the interface and including personalised training routines in the My Wii Fit Plus menu. The usability of the latter so obsessed him he remade it four times, which seemed to alarm the man who signs his timesheets. "Really? You remade it four times?" Iwata said.

"As we'd managed to come up with such a solid core, I personally felt that we should get this on the market quickly with the intention of saying to Wii Fit users: 'Use this to get an enhanced version of Wii Fit!'" Miyamoto said. "It's not number two! It's not what you'd call a sequel with a regular game - it's actually an enhanced version of the software."

This worried Iwata, the executive confessed. "The more I heard you talk about it, the more I felt that it was an enhanced version which was the same as new versions of operating systems or business software. That's why, if I'm being perfectly honest, I was rather worried at the start about how Nintendo would handle this kind of software, as it's not something we've ever dealt with before."

The pair also had great fun discussing the new feature of Wii Fit Plus - presumably top of Peter Molyneux's wish-list for the game - which allows you to weigh your dog.

Known dog-lover Miyamoto expressed his disappointment at getting this into the first game. "I did go through a period when I regretted the fact that users couldn't weigh their dogs. Dogs are the classic pet, after all," he said.

"On the title screen for the original Wii Fit, all of the Mii characters from the users' family gather together briefly. I thought of this scene as somehow being the Wii "home", so of course it was somewhat sad not to have any pets included."

He was so sad he made a Mii of his dog so that it wasn't left out, and insisted designers came up with representations of dogs and cats, and a method of weighting them, for Wii Fit Plus.

He also revealed, in news that will surprise Miyamoto-watchers everywhere, that he has just got a cat himself. "From now on, I will also be showing consideration for cat lovers."

To his boss's evident puzzlement, Miyamoto goes on to insist that users could have "a lot of fun" weighing everyday objects with Wii Fit Plus - and revealed a curious fact about himself.

"I've always enjoyed guessing the lengths of objects, which is why I carry a measuring tape around with me," Miyamoto said.

"For instance, I might guess that the table in front of us is about 1.2 metres long. Then I'd actually measure it with the measuring tape to check. If I got it right, I'd think: 'I'm on form today!' But if I missed the mark by a long way, I'd think: 'I've been slipping a bit recently!'" said the world's most revered games designer.

Iwata, amazed, said that he did not know this about his star employee. "I've realised today how much I still don't know about you!" the executive said.

"Well, I love measuring things," said the creator of Mario. "Iwata-san, why don't you try carrying a tape measure around with you?"

"I'm the type of person who'd prefer to have machines automatically measuring and recording things, so I don't think I'm cut out to be a fellow measurement-obsessive!" said his boss.

"You're missing out! It's a lot of fun, I'm telling you!"

Read this next