Last Monday, Nintendo released its latest would-be blockbuster game, Wii Music.
The new game, for the company's monster hit console, the Wii, is from Nintendo senior managing director Shigeru Miyamoto, one of the video game industry's true legends. This is the man who developed titles like Donkey Kong, Super Mario Bros., and The Legend of Zelda, and who is viewed among gamers with a level of reverence that may be unsurpassed.
Wii Music is a participatory game that, at its simplest form, lets players have fun making music. Unlike hit franchises like Rock Band and Guitar Hero, which at their core task players with playing music on fake guitars and drums to the accurate beat of existing songs, Wii Music is more about putting musical tools in the hands of a broad spectrum of players, from kids to grandparents, and letting them find their own creativity.
For Nintendo, the game comes at an important time: the holidays are approaching and the company needs a new standard-bearer game to help sell Wiis during the coming months. To be sure, the Wii has never had any problems moving units--usually selling out within hours of retailers getting shipments. Still, with the economy rapidly deteriorating around us, even Nintendo could use some help.
And where better to look for that help than to Miyamoto, a man who is seen as the king of gaming creativity and whose nose for simple and silly fun may well be unmatched in the industry.
On a recent publicity tour for the game, Miyamoto took some time to sit down with CNET News to talk about the game. Nintendo mandated that the discussion be related solely to Wii Music, meaning that his former work was largely off-limits, except in the context of the new game.
Q: Where did the idea for Wii Music come from? Shigeru Miyamoto: When we first came up with the concept for the Wii itself, we wanted the Wii to be a device that everyone in the house would relate to, so we needed to have several key software topics available for people to play: sports, health and fitness, and music. So that was the genesis for creating Wii Music. Our initial experiments were finding ways to use the Wii remote and nunchuk to perform different instruments, and then we experimented with using the Wii remote to conduct an orchestra. We found that both of those produced an experience that was fun. I've been a musician for the last 30 years, and I've thought back often on what is the most enjoyable part of playing and performing music. So we worked very hard to take the experience and joy of creating music and really implement that into the Wii Music experience. … Read more