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Miyamoto Speaks at Arts Festival

Mario creator makes brief mention of new hardware as he looks back at development career. Naruto, Street Fighter IV, Resident Evil 5 and other games honored at annual festival.

Hibi No Neiro (Tone of everyday), the Grand Prize winner in the Entertainment Division. Wii Sports won two years ago.

Nintendo is developing new hardware. And Shigeru Miyamoto, in addition to the new Wii Zelda game, is working on a motion-based game (or possibly games) that uses Wii Motion Plus.

Miyamoto himself mentioned these during a symposium at the 13th Annual Japan Media Arts Festival on Saturday. 4gamer filed a detailed report from the event.

The Mario creator was speaking at the event because he'd been given a "Special Achievement Prize" award from the Agency of Cultural Affairs. He was joined on stage by Square Enix executive producer Akitoshi Kawazu, head of the panel that selected exhibits for the festival's Entertainment category.

Outside of the brief, vague references to future Nintendo developments, Miyamoto spoke at length about his history as a game designer, sharing a number of interesting anecdotes.

He recalled the time around Donkey Kong's development. Nintendo had been unable to sell as many arcade boards in America as they'd originally expected and ended up with stock of excess boards. Working with about three programmers, and serving as director, game designer, and artist, Miyamoto made Donkey Kong. The 3,000 excess stock ended up being eclipsed by sales of over 60,000 units. However, Nintendo apparently got excited about the success and produced 70,000 boards, leaving another 10,000 in stock.

Jumping into modern times, Miyamoto remarked that an idea for Super Mario Galaxy came from a hamster he was caring for at his house. He was faced at the time with such problems as the high hurdles of 3D control and how to allow for Mario to run freely like a hamster. To make a game that anyone could play, Galaxy was set on spheres with its gravity centered on one point, allowing players to return to the same point even if they run around aimlessly.

When the conversation came to the multiplayer aspect of New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Kawazu asked Miyamoto about the possibility of going online in order to allow for even greater number of people to play together. Miyamoto responded, "There are probably many others who could make it better than us" as he said that for the time he'll be making the type of game where the players are next to one-another.

For more on Miyamoto's game development career, see the 4gamer article. The article is in Japanese, so non-readers should ready the dictionaries.

The Japan Media Arts Festival is an annual event that has been highlighting works of art, entertainment, animation, and manga since 1997. Last year, Wii Fit took an Excellence Prize in the Entertainment Division. In 2007, Wii Sports took the Grand Prize, with Metal Gear Solid 4 and Monster Hunter Freedom 2 taking Excellence Prizes.

This year, the only video game to win the Excellent Prize in the Entertainment Division was Namco Bandai's Naruto Narutimate Storm. It was selected for "the excellence of its graphics, movement and presentation." You can read the official reason here.

The Grand Prize this year went to Hibi no Neiro (Tone of Everyday), a music video. Details on this and all the winners can be found here.

In addition to Narutimate Storm, the festival has playable displays for the following games: Fable II, LocoRoco 2, Race Driver Grid, Street Fighter IV, Discipline, Dragon Quest IX, Resident Evil 5, Patapon 2 Donchaka, Danjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts, Wario Ware D.I.Y., LovePlus, Pokemon Rumble Let's Tap, and Style Savvy (Girl's Mode). These games were given recommendations by the Entertainment Division jury.

Separate from the Entertainment Division, Suntory's Dissidia Final Fantasy Potion beverage received a jury recommendation in the Art Division.

The Festival opened up on the 3rd at The National Art Center in central Tokyo and will run through the 14th. Admission is free. Further details can be found at the event official site.

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