Super Smash Bros. Creator Suffering From Repetitive Strain Injury

By Ishaan . January 30, 2013 . 6:10pm

Kirby and Super Smash Bros. creator, Masahiro Sakurai, is suffering from repetitive strain injury, particularly in his right hand, the designer revealed in a column written by him in a recent issue of Famitsu magazine.


Polygon’s translation of the report indicates that Sakurai, who is currently hard at work on two Super Smash Bros. games for the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U in collaboration with Namco Bandai, says that the strain is reaching “the point where it’s starting to restrict my work and lifestyle”.


Using a mouse, keyboard or gamepad add to the strain, so Sakurai’s solution is to use a trackball instead of a mouse. In addition, he plans to start giving more verbal directions during development, as opposed to writing e-mails, and cut down on the amount of typing he has to do himself.


HAL Laboratory, where Sakurai once worked with Nintendo president, Satoru Iwata, made extensive use of a trackball to draw and animate graphics for NES games. Kirby, Sakurai recalls, was drawn in this manner. Since he has experience with trackballs, Sakurai hopes that controlling one will be easy for him until his arms get better.


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  • idrawrobots

    I hope he is okay.

  • OneOkami

    As a programmer and a gamer this is actually something I get concerned about at times and it drives me to be more aware of good form and posture when I’m typing and sitting for long periods of time.

    I hope it doesn’t get too bad for him.

    • Barrylocke89

      Great, now I’m all self-conscious about my posture. I’m one of those guys that finds himself contorted in a pretzel after awhile when I’m doing work/playing games, at least at home.

    • Being a programmer myself, I usually take 10-15 minute breaks every hour, sometimes forcing myself. It can feel non-productive though because it takes you out that zone where you feel like you can program everything. But it helps prevent the pain you feel once you have to call it a day; good posture or not.

      The same rule applies to video games and pretty much everything that requires long periods of sitting down and small repeated motions.

      • OneOkami

        That’s pretty much what I do, too. Though sometimes I do get into a zone where I end up working for 2.5-3 hours straight without ever really budging from the keyboard.

        You can tell it makes a difference because the stretches after those extended periods feel a lot more “relieving” than the ones that happen more frequently.

  • Tylor Boreas Makimoto

    This man deserves a slow clap for being so cool and dedicated. Seriously, working so hard you can no longer work using a mouse? I just hope that one day I can be as amazing as him.
    That said, I do hope he gets better soon. Wouldn’t want him to kill himself over a game.

    • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

      Well actually in Japan many smaller game companies director is also working really hard here.^_^
      If you see the head of Indies Zero.(The one who released Game Center CX game on DS and Thearhythm for 3DS, in on of the interviews, they mention that the mouse which he use also loses colors due to him keep using the mouse.)

    • shion16

      Most of japanese video game programmers are extremely hard workers.
      Im a programmer too i can tell you, its not easy to write ten thousand lines of codes.

  • Ethan_Twain

    Huh. For someone in his profession that sort of problem would be pretty severe. I hope he’s able to get medical help and change his habits/posture such that this doesn’t continue.

  • Shadowman

    Yeah I heard, I hope he is okay.

  • Oh wow, that’s definitely not good for someone in his profession. My best wishes to him that he can change his habits and recover.

  • DesmaX

    Now that’s a problem. Hope he will be fine

  • Dick Mountainjoy

    Holy Cow, That is one Bishi looking Developer…

    And as recent Japanese gaming trends go, I expect him to be soon replaced by a gritty, western developer.

    • Suicunesol

      I know right? I think he looks very young, but he shouldn’t be. It must be the shounen haircut.

  • fireemblembeast

    Aww I hope he gets better.
    (just fyi I like trackballs more anyways)

  • riceisnice

    At first, I thought he was being sarcastic.

  • キロ

    He works that hard to bring great games, I hope he manages to find some comfortable middle ground, he is under a lot of pressure from fans and company alike.

  • anthony apduhan

    Oh my… alot of stress can be no good he needs to calm down and relax. Poor guy I hope he is ok T-T

  • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

    Ohh. Thats not a really good news here.T_T Hope Sakurai will be able to stay okay there considering i love all the game he have released.(Especially Meteos.^_^)

  • Minos

    …To me, it sounds like he needs a wife.

    • Sakurai has a wife and she even helps him manage his work.

      • Minos

        Hey, dont ruin my lame jokes.

    • Tails the Foxhound

      I was hoping someone made that joke. (Not the most mature person on the planet sometimes. :v)

      • Minos

        Come on:

        “repetitive strain injury, particularly in his right hand”

        The joke is virtually screming to be made.

        • Richter

          Haha jack off joke, this was expected to happen. :p

  • Solomon_Kano

    Work hard, Sakurai. Not at the expense of your own health, though.

  • Kevin Lor

    He needs a oppai mouse pad lol In all seriousness, hope he gets better.

  • Raltrios

    That’s unfortunate. Sakurai’s still got a lot of gold left in him, it’d be a shame if the industry lost him now. He should take it easy.

    But on the bright side, a work injury is a far better reason than the one most people strain their right hands for :P

    • G. Takei: Oh my~!

    • Armane

      If you strain your wrist masturbating you’re clearly doing it wrong.

  • Brunstad Exicuren

    C’mon Sakurai, take a daily half an hour to workout those wrist, you can use some hand strengtheners or some wrist exercises, those strain problems come from the tendons. This a gamer advise to any one.

  • Guest

    gosh dang he’s so cute. its brutal.

  • samwise bateman

    holy gosh he’s very cute

  • *Cracks whip*
    Work Harder!

  • Sakurai is probably my favorite game related personality.

  • Göran Isacson

    Man do I ever hope he manages to take enough time off to recover completely. This man is too good to be lost to us so soon!

  • AuraGuyChris

    Curse you, acursed computer inventions!

  • That’s what happens when you play to much Kid Icarus: Uprising!

    Jokes aside, I hope he gets well soon. RSI is truly crippling, especially in his line of work.

  • ShawnOtakuSomething
  • Too tempting to make a joke about Kid Icarus Uprising’s control scheme

  • Justin Whiteaker

    I didn’t realize he was actually developing the smash games still, I thought he moved on from them. Wait, wasn’t Namco supposed to be making them now?

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