Nintendo is turning 130 this year in September, which is a pretty big number, all things considered. It’s obviously come a long way since its playing card roots, and even in the 40-year span in which it’s been primarily a video game company there have been a ton of changes. Recently the Guardian sat down with Nintendo veterans Shinya Takahashi and Hisashi Nogami to talk about a host of topics regarding the company’s past, present, and future. Here’s a brief rundown:
- According to Takahashi, the company is focused first and foremost on “[bringing] laughter to others” with games. In the past, they would pay close attention to people’s faces as they were playing to see if they were having fun, hoping above all else to see people looking surprised or happy.
- Nogami notes that with any new Nintendo venture throughout their history — whether it be the GameCube, the DS, or the Switch — people are always hesitant to take up something new. What’s important in those instances is not to talk up the concept, but to show it working: “you have to give people a concrete example to show them how it works.”
- Nintendo as a company is filled with people from many generations nowadays. A few grew up playing Nintendo games, in fact. Even so, they don’t kowtow to the seniors, and a point is made to incorporate the perspectives of both veterans and fresher blood in any concept meeting. The multiple generations and backgrounds always provide a new perspective.
- The pair talk about Shigeru Miyamoto a bit, joking that he’s a bit of a mythical figure nowadays. While relatively hands-off with smaller development details these days, he still oversees larger projects and provides feedback. Compliments from him are apparently quite rare (“I have never once been praised by Mr. Miyamoto”, deadpans Nogami) though according to Takahashi it comes more from bashfulness than stinginess.
- The new generations are driving the company now, especially as the number of people playing games has increased over the decades. “Like a swan, we look elegant above the surface,” says Takahashi. “But underneath the water, we might be paddling like crazy.”
Be sure to check out the full interview for details.