Super Mario’s 35th Anniversary, Part 2: Carrying the Torch

After the collect-a-thon craze died down from N64/PS1 era and open-world games took a left turn in the GameCube/PS2 era, Nintendo decided to leave Sandbox Mario alone for a bit. They narrowed down the scope of the worlds and focused on the Platforming aspect of a 3D Platformer. As much as I missed Sandbox Mario … Continue reading Super Mario’s 35th Anniversary, Part 2: Carrying the Torch

Super Mario’s 35th Anniversary, Part 1: Building a Sandbox

As I write the next few posts, I imagine I'm crafting a luxurious anniversary cake for Mario with my words. I'm taking on the role of Princess Peach in thanking Mario (and by extension, Nintendo) for giving me and many others so much joy through Mario's games. Thank you, Nintendo, and thank you, Mario! You … Continue reading Super Mario’s 35th Anniversary, Part 1: Building a Sandbox

Summer with Shigeru, Part 3: A New Kind of Storyteller

Welcome to our last analysis on Shigeru Miyamoto's work! For this last post, I wanted to talk about how Miyamoto pioneered a new way people could both tell and experience a story. He certainly wasn't the first one or the only one to do this, but his early work is certainly a strong contribution to … Continue reading Summer with Shigeru, Part 3: A New Kind of Storyteller

Summer with Shigeru, Part 2: The Inspired Mad Scientist

It's no secret that Miyamoto has a reputation for coming up with unique and unexpected ideas for a game. He's not just an inventor, he's a reinventor. In a way, you can still see Miyamoto's attitude from Nintendo's early arcade days showing through, for better or worse. Miyamoto was famously inspired from Popeye to make … Continue reading Summer with Shigeru, Part 2: The Inspired Mad Scientist

Summer with Shigeru, Part 1: Your Window Into the Game

Nintendo hired Shigeru Miyamoto in 1977, back when the company was still making toys. A year later, Space Invaders caused hundreds to flock to arcade machines across Japan, and Nintendo decided to branch out into making arcade games as well. In those days, most video games used simple mechanics with even simpler visuals. In Asteroids … Continue reading Summer with Shigeru, Part 1: Your Window Into the Game

The Life and Times of Shigeru Miyamoto

Welcome to this year's Developer Analysis Mini-series! Last year we analyzed Masahiro Sakurai's works and game design philosophy. While he's certainly an important developer to the industry, and has created widely popular games, I mostly conducted that mini-series out of sheer devotion for Super Smash Bros.. Working on Shigeru Miyamoto is a whole other beast … Continue reading The Life and Times of Shigeru Miyamoto

A Design Novice Tackles Super Mario Maker 2

As a Nintendo nerd interested in level design, a better game couldn't possibly exist. Super Mario Maker was arguably the best idea the Wii U ever had. If this game were a launch title, I think the Wii U would have had a completely different story. For the past 3 years now YouTubers have posted … Continue reading A Design Novice Tackles Super Mario Maker 2

Sakurai, Part 5: The Kirby of Game Developers

In his beginning years, Sakurai made it a point to learn game design by playing games. Each game was a textbook of mechanics filled with ideas to analyze. Since then Sakurai has taken a unique position in the games industry where he can observe gaming as a whole, sample and borrow mechanics, and make them … Continue reading Sakurai, Part 5: The Kirby of Game Developers

Sakurai, Part 4: Designing Immortal Games

Overwatch, Anthem, Destiny, Fortnite, Call of Duty... In the short time I've been back into gaming, I've seen several publishers push their games into being subscriptions, trying to get their players to keep paying for content for extended periods of time, whether that's a schedule of DLCs, events, updates, season passes, or lootboxes. One of … Continue reading Sakurai, Part 4: Designing Immortal Games

Sakurai, Part 3: Designing Games with Variety

Eight games in one! That was the tagline for Kirby Super Star, Sakurai's third game, and the first one to include smaller games with widely different styles. This has become a staple of his design philosophy ever since. Opening up a game and seeing a sprawling menu has become his calling card. Sakurai flirted around … Continue reading Sakurai, Part 3: Designing Games with Variety