What Nintendo's Game Creators Think of YouS

If you've ever played a Zelda game or a Mario game, you've played a game made by a bunch of people in Japan. Most likely, they were far away from you. But that doesn't mean they didn't think about you.

They do think about you. A lot. In an unusual and interesting way.

I recently asked some Nintendo people about this. I was talking to the creators of the 3DS' new Super Mario 3D Land as best one can talk over e-mail, through a translator. I think we succeeded nicely...

Me: "When making a Mario game, what do you strive for in terms of a relationship between the developer and the player? Are you a movie director giving us a role to play? Are you a friend giving us a challenge? How do you think of that relationship?"

Yoshiaki Koizumi, producer of Super Mario 3D Land: "Unlike a movie, which moves forward with the progress of time, a game cannot move forward without the actions of the player, so in a sense, a game is an incomplete story. Because we want players to complete the story by playing the game, we do our best to build an emotional bridge between ourselves and the players while trying to ensure that we can finish the game together. For example, we prepare enemies that look like they should be jumped on, mountains that are begging to be conquered, and princesses that look like they should be saved, but it's the players who actually do these things. In that sense, perhaps our relationship is like the relationship between a lead actor and a director."

"We do our best to build an emotional bridge between ourselves and the players while trying to ensure that we can finish the game together."

The video game creator and the video game player are connected. Each has some impression of the other. Surely you, as a player, has thought of that, though perhaps not consciously. Maybe you've failed a jump a few times in a Mario game and grunted "What were they thinking? This is impossible." Or maybe you've smiled at some delightful thing you discovered in a Zelda that feels like it was put there just for you.

According to Nintendo, you finish the work they started. You make the game complete. That's how a Nintendo game creator thinks of you.


You can contact Stephen Totilo, the author of this post, at stephentotilo@kotaku.com. You can also find him on Twitter, Facebook, and lurking around our #tips page.