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:
Not everyone was on board:
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:
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.
That said, perhaps Miyamoto's idea isn't so bad. Friendship can be the ultimate adventure...
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.
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