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The Ten: Updated Wednesdays-Fridays-Sundays

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Retirement- Or, let's talk about Video Games...

(Because I hate myself, I have come back to this article to mercilessly point out all the stupid things I have said in it, highlighted in bold)

Okay, so a recent trending article has been the subject of Shigeru Miyamoto's retirement. That's kinda how I'm going to preface this article, only because I'm kind of drunk, but still very talkative.

So my question is, to all you thought-provoked video gamers, "what if Shigeru Miyamoto retired from game development?" Because, if you haven't noticed, gaming has kind of seen a stagnation as of late. Now, I'm not going to come out and say that all modern day-gaming is terrible, and I'm not going to say that gaming hasn't evolved much from its original state, either- but there's a recurring theme in video games as of late- one where certain game developers come up with continuously innovative ideas and others either barely fit the bill or fall into a pit of zero recognition. Those who attempt new ideas are either left in the dust or embraced by their audience, and then they make small altercations to their original formula in order to stay new and fresh. Case in point- either every new genre that's appeared in the last decade or every genre that has been established as a "core gaming genre" in the past twenty-or thirty-years (it feels very strange to even say that) has survived by continuously "reinventing" themselves.

How do they do this? By taking the format of the previous game, altering it slightly, and releasing it with a brand spanking new set of graphics. (This is dumb. While "altering some aspect slightly" is a ridiculously oversimplified term, it's used rather lazily here.) That's the state of video games now-a-days... but you can't let it get you down, right? In any case, there are some that are better at working this, and Shigeru Miyamoto is one of them. He's kept up with gaming development ever since the old days- and the guy sure can make a damn good game. Something that's impressive about him is that he may hit or miss with some people, but he always hits with a certain group- and that takes skill. Miyamoto is very good at creating games with innocence and simplicity in them- I mean, the most violent game he's made is probably... what, Pikmin? Zelda? He manages to tap into our psyche in a way that transcends age and just give pure fun- the story and concept of Mario and Zelda weren't that impressive, but the developers established them with ridiculously solid gameplay that made us want more- gameplay that related to itself as it grew but took bold new steps. Controls, limitations, and more aren't really altered much in your current-gen games- because story is often the focal point of these games- that, and multiplayer. With Miyamoto's games, the story is always told differently and with different effectiveness- but always drives the gameplay, as well. Then again, maybe that's what Nintendo needs- a series where the timeline isn't all over the the place and just has solid mechanics that portray something realistically. (I'm sorry, I have no idea what the hell I'm talking about here. "Portraying something realistically"? Isn't that like, the antithesis of video games?)

But, imagine a Mario game not made by Miyamoto- his driving force no longer present. Imagine Zelda without him! You can't. (Yes, you can. EAD has made Super Mario Galaxy and beyond. Aonuma has had a leading role in most Zelda titles and Miyamoto has had a supervising role.) Why? Because his vision is so distinct that an alternate can't be seen, because his games just wouldn't have the same power without his intention.

Would Miyamoto's creations have a new director at their helm? Would they improve on the worlds previously established? Or would Nintendo fail without such a genius game-maker? We've seen that some of the better Nintendo titles have come from game developers outside the core Nintendo group- just look at what Retro Studios did the Metroid Prime Trilogy. (Which Miyamoto was brought in to fix when nothing was getting done. Nice reference. Oh, and don't think of mentioning Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, because Miyamoto also worked on that.) Then again, who else has made a truly great Nintendo-console based game? We are fortunate to have second party developers who fall under Nintendo's characters and consoles. (Whoosh. Nice save.)

Thus, we face a conundrum. The Nintendo team- the original people who created their first- and best- titles, are all getting older. (First? Yeah. Best? Meh.) Once they leave, we may be out of luck when it comes to the types of titles they create. However, that doesn't have to be the case. Masahiro Sakurai, creator of the Smash Bros. Series, has formed specific teams who he feels are right for his game development and also fit in with his ideas of what a good game should be- his team has agreed to work with him on not only Kid Icarus- Uprising, but also the new Smash Brothers titles for 3DS and Wii U. If Miyamoto is doing the same thing with his development teams for the Zelda series, then there may be hope for a bright future for Nintendo, yet. (And then games like Splatoon come out and are awesome so I guess my argument is invalid.)

It's just a subject to consider- but it is one that is all too real, seeing as visionaries in certain fields are getting older, and others are leaving their field entirely. Just a subject to consider...

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