In the world of video games, there are few names that carry as much weight as Shigeru Miyamoto. As one of Nintendo's early visionaries, he created genre-defining games like Donkey Kong, Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Star Fox, Pikman, and more, Normally, if Miyamoto gives you a bit of game design advice, you should listen closely. Everyone has their off days, however, and the gaming giant certainly seemed to be having one when he faxed the development team of the classic N64 first-person shooter Goldeneye 007.
Martin Hollis, a member of that team, recounted Miyamoto's suggestion to the New Yorker:
…He once received a fax from Shigeru Miyamoto, the inventor of Super Mario, calling the game “tragic” and “horrible.” Miyamoto proposed that, at the end of GoldenEye, players should be forced to shake hands with their victims as they lay recovering in hospital beds. (The idea was never implemented.)
Gaming enthusiasts shared their thoughts on Miyamoto's idea:
the best part about this tweet is that it’s not even a joke. that actually was miyamoto’s idea.— lars b amble🐓 (@turbolars) March 11, 2018
Now all I can think about is a sheepish James Bond walking into a hospital with a wheelbarrow full of bouquets for all his recovering victims. "Sorry, old chap. Just a bit of sport, you know."— Andrew Grossardt, unofficial Pepsi® spokesperson (@goodtimesokay) March 10, 2018
now very much into the idea of an action game where you have a mission to complete but every side-mission is you atoning through Shen Mue-ish tasks to the the people (or families of the people) you hurt.— C Betz (@SimplyTheBetz1) March 11, 2018
hey. even if it didn't make it into goldeneye....there's nothing stopping any of us from trying to execute this idea.— Amon26 (@Amon26) March 11, 2018
...Food for thought!
Not everyone was on board:
Mario literally curb stomps his enemies to death. Repeatedly and without conscience.— Joe Blevins (@Joe_A_Blevins) March 10, 2018
Nintendo have violence but in a fun way. Goldeneye is and will always be a classic game. Mainly for having the shooting element. The 4 player split screen was genius.— Adam Collis 🦑🐋 (@Adamkc666) March 10, 2018
*the fax continued with more suggestions including the player offering to look over the victims' resumes, a side-game about taking up knitting, and short cutscenes of the player checking in on various moms— Oh! I feel it! (@cosmitten) March 11, 2018
Miyamoto's suggestion would have turned Goldeneye into a very different game. It was also one of the first instances in which public figures, and even game designers, have pushed back against the "fetishization of firearms." Hollis's anecdote has now come to light as President Trump debates video games' potential negative effect on children.
Violent video games have once again become a talking point for many conservative politicians:
I’m glad Mr Trump is doing something about violent video games. Unfortunately it’s too late for my son, who died after dressing up like a plumber and hitting blocks with his head— the hippo account (@InternetHippo) March 9, 2018
Despite politician's concerns, no studies have linked gun violence to violent video games. While the American Psychological Association once drew attention to a correlation between "violent video game exposure and aggressive behavior," they also pointed out that "not all aggression is violence” and that “insufficient research has examined whether violent video game use causes lethal violence."
As recently as June 2017, the association recommended:
Public officials and news media should avoid stating explicitly or implicitly that criminal offenses were caused by violent media.
But why would the president trust scientists who research this? He would probably just say fake news— la résistance (@eshh85) March 7, 2018
What Trump doesn’t seem to realize is, kids are gonna find a way to get violent video games. Doesn’t matter how many laws you pass. The best thing to do is to make sure law-abiding citizens can get violent video games to protect themselves and their loved ones— Patrick Monahan (@pattymo) March 8, 2018
That said, perhaps Miyamoto's idea isn't so bad. Friendship can be the ultimate adventure...
That reminds me of the story about Miyamoto’s suggested ending for GoldenEye 64—a contrite James Bond goes to visit all the game’s enemies in the hospital and shake hands. No hard feelings!— America’s Next Top Husband (@WittiestManEver) January 11, 2018
No word on whether Miyamoto has warmed to the game he once called "horrible." At least his hatred gave us a great story during a difficult time some 20 years later.