Grand Theft Mario

Rob Fahey,

At the same time, though, Nintendo itself has a conception of “casual” and “core” that probably isn’t shared by the majority of sites reporting Miyamoto’s comments. Miyamoto talks not about themes but about enjoyment of challenge as the distinction between the two groups. To him, a supposedly “adult” game full of blood and ripe language could be utterly casual if it spoon-feeds players with dull, linear gameplay. Meanwhile, a brightly coloured Mushroom Kingdom epic could qualify as “core” if it challenges players in the right way. Consequently, Nintendo’s family-friendly IP and the broad appeal of its themes is entirely compatible with a focus on “core games”, to Miyamoto’s mind. What he’s talking about changing is something at the root of design, not the thematic wallpaper of the company’s games; he wants to challenge people, not to force Nintendo’s artists to remove all the primary colours from their Photoshop palettes.


Under Miyamoto’s watchful eye, they’ll also be challenging and engaging; but anyone taking his comments on “passivity” as near-confirmation that we’ll see Grand Theft Mario down the line is utterly misreading the situation.

Fahey hits the nail on the head. One of the reasons I am rarely drawn to the FPS genre and “core” titles is the sense that I’m simply playing the same game with a new skin. The last one to do so was the BioShock franchise and that hooked me with story and slightly better “wallpaper,” not challenge.

I enjoy Nintendo titles not only because challenge ever-present; their palettes, characters, and universes are full of life. I am certainly not the first to say that Nintendo titles are as much children’s games as Disney/Pixar titles are children’s films. Up didn’t leave a dry eye in the house, Wall-E toyed with nostalgia and love only adults could understand, and Wreck-It Ralph was full of lessons of sacrifice only relatable to an 18 and older crowd.

Nintendo is not hitting reset; they are expecting us to.