At a recent roundtable discussion, legendary Nintendo game designer Shigeru Miyamoto discussed a wide variety of topics. One interesting tidbit was his view on Xbox 360 game achievements. Miyamoto said:
I’m not particularly well versed in the Xbox 360 achievement system. I spend most of my time working on my own games, and don’t have a lot of time to look at what other people are doing.
The idea of playing the game in a particular way and having it unlock a special prize that rewards you… it feels like something we’ve been doing for the last 15-20 years.
Miyamoto has a point, but he’s also missing one. It’s true that many of his Nintendo games were designed to reward gamers for playing in a particular way, but people like points, trophies, etc. It reminds me of when my friends at 1Up started the site; I had no idea what my “score” was for, but I wanted more points, which made me keep visiting.
Some people say that Miyamoto is out of touch with a good portion of the gaming market. While I don’t agree with that (part of it is I don’t want to agree with that), admitting that you don’t pay attention to the competition and not “getting” the appeal of achievements makes those people look right. On the other hand, he is an amazingly creative man and paying too much attention to other games would just be a hindrance.
Do you think Miyamoto is out of touch these days? Or do you expect another masterpiece from him? One that will remind the world that he’s better than 99 percent of the Earth’s game designers.