What Nintendo Should Do To Create Better Games

By Ishaan . July 8, 2012 . 12:00pm

Attendees at Nintendo’s investor meetings usually tend to ask interesting questions regarding the company’s ongoing policies, practises and strategies, but every so often, Nintendo president, Satoru Iwata, gets tossed a curve ball. Nintendo’s 72nd annual shareholder meeting brought about one such incident.


One person in attendance at the 72nd shareholder meeting had both a question to ask, and a piece of advice for Iwata. Here’s what he had to say:


I would like to know about the current situation of the company’s operations in China and what problems you have in doing business there. Apart from this specific question, I have an idea for you: I would like you to energetically create software filled with dreams that is exciting for both children and adults.


On NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation), I watched the news that Mr. Miyamoto, a senior director of the company, recently won a globally acclaimed award. To create such excellent games, I hope Mr. Iwata and Mr. Miyamoto will go through various experiences, including deadly adventures like crossing the Sahara on camelback or exploring the Amazon, full of piranhas, anacondas and crocodiles, together with the company’s other game creators.


While Iwata did address the question about China and Miyamoto’s Prince of Asturias Award in Spain, he only had this to say about the prospect of himself fighting off anacondas and crocodiles: “I would like to thank you for suggesting some interesting ideas full of dreams.”

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  • It sounds like they want Nintendo to create their own Uncharted or Pitfall. Which is strange since that game doesn’t sell too well in Japan. Maybe a concept with a Nintendo twist is what is needed.

  • Herok♞

    They should have said Nintendo should prepare their bodies and left it at that.

  • Now, I’m more tired and groggy than I’ve ever been, but that guys advice didn’t make much sense to me. I think Nintendo’s problem is that they’ve gotten too comfortable and are just cranking out games that lack the creativity and vigor they used to have. Case and point: New Super Mario Bros. There’s been multiple games under that tagline in the last few years and they all look and play almost the same.

  • Philip Irwin

    Sounds like they want Nintendo to make some blockbuster series that makes gangbusters in sales…

    And of course, worded to sound nothing like that.

  • Kevin

    hmm My eyes must be broken cuz what that guy just said made no sense.
    I mean is that advice?  True wisdom of an isane old man, more like it.

    • kylehyde

      I’m glad that I’m not the only that feel in this way (I even washed my eyes because I thought they were playing me a trick). Certainly it lacked of sense.

      Of course it could be a very interested question, but the way that was formulated certainly could confuse everyone.

      • Vulpis

         Made perfect sense to me–the guy was suggesting that the two men go out and have real life adventures, then come back and make use of those experience in the games they make.

  • riceisnice

    Sounds like something I would hear at FOX news.

    • Please, please don’t bring that up here… Focus on the games and the news about them. 

  • amagidyne

    What was his answer to the first question?

    EDIT: Nevermind, link is working again.

  • SirRichard

    I can’t be the only one who read Iwata’s response as a polite burn, can I?

    While the advice is weird, I guess the point behind it is fair enough; Nintendo need to broaden their horizons when it comes to their software a bit. Or at mix up the settings for their games. Mario Galaxy used space as an interesting setting to allow for all sorts of fun, try something like that again.

  • XypherCode

    At first I thought the guy was just being sarcastic.

  • Paradox me

    What Nintendo should do is hire this man. He knows what it takes to create excellent video game experiences.

  • kupomogli

    Have Miyamoto be director of every single game they work on, because apparently they can’t make a good Mario game without him, and sometimes even with him.  I say this only because I thought Super Mario 3D Land sucked.

  • Is it weird that when I read  “I hope Mr. Iwata and Mr. Miyamoto will go through various experiences, including deadly adventures like crossing the Sahara on camelback or exploring the Amazon, full of piranhas, anacondas and crocodiles, together with the company’s other game creators.” I actually pictured Iwatasan and Miyamotosan traveling on camels through the desert?

    • aoihana

      I pictured Iwata and Miyamoto rustling through tall grasses in the Amazon Jungle, splashing on mud banks. Miyamoto forgetting his tall boots and complaining of cramps, hops atop Iwata’s back so he doesn’t sink into the relentless mud. 

      Of course, the danger would come when a nesting crocodile lies camouflaged in this murky mud, Iwata accidentally stepping on said crocodiles tail, spawning a heated battle. 

      Iwata, as strong as he is, is no match for the reptile and is pinned down. Realizing a death roll being very possible, Miyamoto jumps in and wrestles with the creature with no regard to his own life.

      Iwata, dazzled by Miyamoto’s courageous display, embraced him with every ounce of corporate love he had.

      They say they were heatedly engaged in a quarrel defining the century for several days and nights, but we shall never know what really happened between these two. 

      Oh! The crocodile was dealt a swift death by Miyamoto in mere minutes. 

      It isn’t weird at all! (◕‿◕✿)

      • Göran Isacson

        But here’s a question for the ages- what did REGGIE do while all this was going on?

        While the answers will never be known, subsequent explorers reported a large number of crocodile corpses that had been bitten to death or beaten with nun-chucks…

        • What did Reggie do?

          He was making sure his body was ready.

      • … That sounds exactly like that Man Vs. Wild game for the Xbox. xD

        EDIT: *in documentary voice* “The Amazon is a dangerous place filled with various poisonous snakes and veracious crocodiles. If you’re not careful, you may not survive. So I’m going to teach you how to jump directly on top of them to gain 200 points.”

      • LOL! Perfect~ 

    • Symbol de Au

      I did that too except for with Arabian music playing in the background.

      • LOL Now that is a nice touch. There needs to be a video of that~

  • ShinGundam

    Dude knows what makes an action adventure game special to me.

  • XYZ_JolteonZ980

    Considering that some content creators actually go out on mini adventures or even scout areas, I cant honestly say that Ive felt that Nintendo has actively engaged in doing any of this for their games. Most of their stuff seems like it could fully be envisioned within a think tank whitewashed room. So hopefully he is serious about considering this and passes it along to any folks they have for the type of games that may create to take advantage of their HD hardware in the future, as I imagine doing this would definitely put their games on the map and have them selling in the multimillions in these genres that they have failed to find success in.

    • RoboConker

      Actually most of Nintendo games are inspired in real life experiences like for example when he was a kid he always liked to go into the forest and in caves, that inspired him to create The Legend of Zelda.

      And know all those amazing first party games that are going to be remember forever in the gaming industry, in every new Nintendo console they always add, create something more original in their main Mario games, Zelda ect…, 
       “Most of their stuff seems like it could fully be envisioned within a think tank whitewashed room” naahh. “I would like you to energetically create software filled with dreams that is exciting for both children and adults. ” Thats what they have been doing all this time!!!Im not a Nintendo fanboy, Im more of an old school sega fan (LONG LIVE THE DREAMCAST), but i stick with the company that still creates real games that gives me an experienced that im always going to remember, Nintendo.

      • XYZ_JolteonZ980

        I dont know, the issue with Zelda is that its a fantasy game that is not really all that different from other fantasy experiences present in media. Is it really different than any run of the million Tolkien-esque story? I thinky any capable educated person could honestly have independently have invented Zelda and for that matter Mario.

  • aoihana

    Although seemingly peculiar and insane advice, the point is clear. 

    This person is suggesting Nintendo to literally think outside the box, and bring in some ideas or concepts from the outside world. Perhaps putting in the initiative and look for creativity around you, the adventure. 

    This reminds me of United Front’s effort with Sleeping Dogs, and how they ventured off into dangerous territory, interviewing the triad, taking inspiration from them, and their surroundings to make their game as authentic as possible.

    I honestly admire that sort of adventurous developer, those that really think outside the box.

    • PoweredByHentai

      You mean like how SEGA interviewed the Yakuza for their Yakuza games?

      • aoihana

        Yes! Nintendo should try to one-up both United Front and Sega by interviewing the cartel leaders for their inevitable drug busting eShop game Los Carteles

        (Such intents should probably be left out, though.)

        • kylehyde

          If they try to do this with mexican cartels, they are going to be really lucky if their heads and bodies are found on the same place.

    • Suicunesol

      Nintendo should interview real elves for the next Legend of Zelda.

      • aoihana

        ((((;゜Д゜))) You’re a genius! 

  • Andrew Austin

    Search your heart, Nintendo.

  • Tom_Phoenix

    Considering the crap that some of Nintendo’s investors tend to spew, that advice actually isn’t all that bad. In order to make successful entertainment products, entertainers must draw inspiration from various sources and real life experience is one of the best possible inspirations. For example, it was precisely Miyamoto’s explorations as a child that inspired him to create Legend of Zelda. 

    In order to make interesting games, you need to know interesting things. And in order to know interesting things, you need to constantly explore and learn new things. A good advice for any game developer.

  • Jonathan Keycross

    “I would like you to energetically create software filled with dreams that is exciting for both children and adults.”

    Wait so Nintendo hasn´t been doing that this whole time? (j/k)

    Regarding the whole adventure in the Amazon…I think that rather than focusing on the crocodiles and piranhas they should look at the different ecosystems and try to spark ideas from there.

    For example they could make a Mario game with a forest/jungle stage, where the player must use the WiiU pad to trace a line of sunlight in the sky so he can make Mario jump between giant waterlillies to get to the other side of the lake in the TV screen.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igkjcuw_n_U <-Giant Waterlillies of the Amazon

    Granted, it´s not very original, but this just an example of what I mean.

  • Alphabet Soup

    I just love the image of Iwata and Miyamoto playing Indiana Jones in the desert!  

    I do agree that game designers have to have real life experience to draw from, but I don’t know that it’s the soul thing that Nintendo is lacking.  Perhaps it’s what’s prevented younger developers from stepping up and creating more out of the box games, but I also think Nintendo needs to evaluate what their consumers really want.

  • Code

    Just my feelings on the this topic of “What Nintendo could do to create better games”, I think pretty much since the Wii came out, Nintendo had this mean streak of streamlining their games. Especially if you look at something like Mario, who’s games in recent years has gotten REALLY samey. Nintendo needs to loosen up, get creative, take risks, but most of all, don’t simply put out games that are good enough to line their pockets T3T.

    I think sharing there licenses with 3rd parties has been an excellent step forward though owo; I just got Kid Icarus this week, and really, Nintendo needs people like Sakurai, absolutely nails this game >wo>;; Don’t get me wrong I love Nintendo, but they gotta shake this trend lately uwu;

  • – make fun games
    – don’t rely too heavily on outsourcing your key franchises, the Prime series worked out well, but the Other M was an absolute disaster
    – focus on improving what works, and stop simplifying everything to appeal to everyone. When you try to be popular with every crowd, you only alienate them even more.
    – stop making New Super Mario games, for the love of zombie rabbits

    • Ben Sylvia

       So you want them to just make 3D open world Mario games and give up 2D sidescrollers for good?

  • Göran Isacson

    And thus, Iwata and Miyamoto went out to have real-life Indiana Jones adventures. Unfortunately they didn’t ask Reggie to come along, and furious over being left out he hunted them down and finally cornered them in the Amazon. Only Miyamoto returned, covered in mud which he claims helped make him “invisible to his demon eyes”.

    Suffice to say, while Miyamoto did enter a period of renewed creativity and productivity, the games he made were… not quite like the ones he used to make.

  • sandra10

    “I would like you to energetically create software filled with dreams that is exciting for both children and adults.”

    I’m not sure if it’s possible to do that, really, without relying on a more toon-y aesthetic. In which case they’re pretty much only catering to Nintendo fans who already eat up most of what they put out. And they’re annoying as it is.

    But I like the idea that they should create games that are exciting which is something Nintendo hasn’t been doing for a while. They’re a very predictable company when it comes to their systems’ first party lineups and they like to play it safe with their established franchises. They haven’t been pushing the envelope software wise in quite a while. Zelda has a ton of potential but instead of moving the franchise forward, they’re moving transitionally. It’s a real shame.

    They should consider working with companies/dev teams that have made creative and ambitious games this gen. Platinum is a great start. Maybe Kamiya will rub off on them.

  • Remove the region lock.

    • Anesia Hunter

       I approve of this comment. ^.^

      • Guest

         So does God, Jesus and Buddha and Satan

        • Yamaneko22

           …and me  >_<

    • Kefkiroth

      This. Ironic how 3DS gets a lot of good Japanese games yet has region-lock, while the Vita is getting rarely any and has no region-lock which kind of kills it (not that I hate Vita, I have both and play both).

      Being able to go on the Japanese eShop would also be interesting as long as we don’t have to format our system every time.

      • Same here, I wish there’s more game for my vita (still waiting for ZOE and new little king story). I planned to buy 3ds next year after FE 13 and RF4 get localized.

  • Ben Sylvia

    I’m an adult, I enjoy Nintendo games.

    Whoever asked that must be a really boring person.

    I expect a future Wii U title to let us play as Miyamoto and Iwata doing the activities they outlined.

  • ParaChomp


  • revenent hell

    Personally I would suggest to them to actually release more games outside of Japan. There are some awesome games out but for some reason or another they choose to not localise them  for other countries and it shouldnt take an “operation rainfall” to get them here or in other territories.
    I think nintendo currently make some great games so I dont think they should change anything other than giving other regions a chance to play them.

  • ” To create such excellent games, I hope Mr. Iwata and Mr. Miyamoto will
    go through various experiences, including deadly adventures like
    crossing the Sahara on camelback or exploring the Amazon, full of
    piranhas, anacondas and crocodiles, together with the company’s other
    game creators.”

    Erm, if that’s what it takes. I think they just need to be re-inspired. It’s not *too* difficult to think of a new creative direction. Look at Pikmin; it’s an amazing series that spawn off a backyard. That game was one of the most ideal new IPs. I think they just gotta find a way to lay-off the Mario for a bit. It’s really stifling their own market.

  • klkAlexar

    I thought the guy was joking at first. 

  • Nintendo, listen to what this man says…

    The cash-milking franchises you’ve been using for years need to take a break… For once, create something new that won’t make me feel old for playing it… Ex. Mario, Zelda, Pokemon are the ones I played when I was a child and I’m starting to think each entries to those franchises are reboots after reboots… It’s not that I hate them, it’s that I feel like I’m getting too old for these….

  • Andar

    Bear with me here…

    Games are an art form. They are not confined to being only an art form, but they are one. Some developers take that approach all the way, and some set this approach aside and go for something a little more economical. But regardless of the approach, the whole theory of what makes games work (for the player in a psychological sense, not in the technological sense of what physically makes them work) is how well they are able to relay an experience. Do you go for the rus  of jumping into a battlefield armed with high tech gear and gunning down enemy soldiers while not having any actual deaths on your conscience? Do you instead go for a very involved and convoluted fantasy plot that keeps you guessing for hours upon hours, all while you makes the characters fit your own mold of what you actually think they should be doing? Or maybe you had a long and rough day, and want some instant gratification by moving colored blocks toward each other to make them all disappear?

    Regardless of why we plays games, it all comes down to the experience we get from playing them. Which means the people behind developing them need to be very good at conveying those experiences. I think what the investor here was getting at is that no one can convey experiences very well when they haven’t HAD those experiences. Do any of us really expect a bunch of people who are most at home behind a computer to suddenly pick up a machete and go romping through the rain forest? Maybe not, but honestly, if the creative forces behind a medium are more prone to exposing themselves to things outside their comfort zone, then they’re also more likely to have innovative ideas that keep the market fresh.

    There are a few (many?) basic elements that makes games ‘work’. That is, elements which leads to games which are well-received both by critics, and by paying customers. One of these is execution, which some groups struggle with, but as far as Nintendo goes with anything in-house, is not much of an issue. But another one is innovation. And it is difficult for anyone to think of something new if they never see anything new. So what I think the investor was saying (and if I’m right, what I agree with them on) is that to better think outside the box, you really need to get out of your comfort zone; go out and do something *dangerous*. But not too dangerous. Otherwise, there won’t be anyone left to actually make the games.

  • Robert Brady

    Let Tetsuya Takahashi create more games?
    Fund Monolith Soft more?
    Buy the Xenogears franchise?

    All of the above?

  • Mr. Iwata, please release more JRPG games like Persona or Final Fantasy Type-0 for Nintendo 3DS, and translate them to English!!

    • Robert Brady


    • Haha, that’s an interesting idea, but I think other companies have covered those kinds of games and their markets pretty well. Nintendo would be better off focusing on reinventing the “kid-friendly” game.

    • RablaAndrews

      You should probably ask the people who make those games that, rather than Nintendo.

  • Niermyico

    *is at the background shouting “new IP, new IP!”*

  • Nintendo should ask Sega / Nagoshi to make another F-Zero. For Xbox 360 ;) (jk)
    I’d like to see a more hardcore and new IP – none of this family stuff…

  • Jirin

    Huh.  If there’s one thing I would think Nintendo doesn’t fail at, it would be ‘Creating software filled with dreams that is exciting for both children and adults’. You just described every Mario and Zelda game ever made, good sir.

  • eilegz

    lets see, localize games that people want fast games like xenoblade and the last story should be released sooner. disaster day of crisis? never got released here

    Push the quality control that we liked from GC era and before, seriously since the wii quality its going downwards.

    Push innovative ideas but not an expense of classic or “hardcore” games, the wii u its the path of that direction.

    Make your system third party friendly, UE4 its a must have for having a future proof  console in the wii u.

    REMOVE REGION LOCK, no one likes it, and in portable its just deplorable, not user friendly and its anti consumer for those who travel and play games everywhere.

    Online factor and DLC that its make sense for them and for customers. Should be adequate to modern times but not imitating bad tends.

  • Oh, sterilized Japanese corporate-speak, never leave us.

  • isfuturebright

    It’s amazing how Iwata is so chilled out and cool :)

  • Epic Markell Joshua

    Take risk Please both audiences. No region lock, Mic support and great online features. More Localize games. new Ip

  • Haohmaru HL

    strange article, i’d rather sya what others should to to make better games.
    nintendo on the other hand still doing very good with games, after all these years

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