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A View from David Kushner

Nintendo's Woes

According to BBC News Online, Satoru Iwata, the president of Nintendo games, is worried about the future of his industry. He bemoaned the prevailing attitude among game developers that “as long as we could beef up the processing power, as…

  • May 26, 2004

According to BBC News Online, Satoru Iwata, the president of Nintendo games, is worried about the future of his industry. He bemoaned the prevailing attitude among game developers that “as long as we could beef up the processing power, as long as we could make computer graphics approach realism, then people [will be] excited about the result,” he said, “Some of the people in the industry still believe we can simply beef up the current technology in order to provide a constant supply of games to people. We don’t agree with that.”

Neither do I. The rush to realism, in particular, is a lost leader in the gaming industry. Even the most “realistic” looking games, like Half-Life 2, are still a far cry from the real thing Humans don’t look convincing, they’re animatronic at best – with worse lip-syncing than Britney Spears. John Carmack of id Software once said that this is why he prefers to feature zombies and mutants in his games; when a Pinky Demon lumbers awkwardly, no one notices.

The most refreshing innovations in the industry are entirely new approaches to gaming – the Sony EyeToy, for one, and the upcoming Nintendo DS too. Such hardware creates a unique – and uniquely intuitive - kind of entertainment experience. And that’s a lot more compelling than a bad guy who falls off a building with rag doll physics.

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