Slight Retraction: Miyamoto Stepping Aside

Seems I jumped the gun a little bit and IGN has posted some updates from Nintendo about what Miyamoto’s role will continue to be at Nintendo.

While he will be focusing on training younger developers, his position in the company has not changed. Here is the official quote from Nintendo:

Video game designer Shigeru Miyamoto’s role at Nintendo is not changing. He will continue to be a driving force in Nintendo’s development efforts. In discussing his priorities at Nintendo in a media interview, Mr. Miyamoto explained how he is encouraging the younger developers at the company to take more initiative and responsibility for developing software. He attempted to convey his priorities moving forward, inclusive of overseeing all video game development and ensuring the quality of all products. Mr. Miyamoto also discussed his desire to pursue fresh ideas and experiences of the kind that sparked his initial interest in video games.

In the end, it looks like Wired (where the interview is from, which will be published next week) and Ars Technica (link to the, I’ll say, sensationalist article) might have jumped the gun on comments made by Miyamoto without checking with Nintendo to see if anything official had happened or was going to happen. While I’m sure he will be stepping aside at some time (I think he is 59), it doesn’t seem like that is now.

Miyamoto Stepping Aside

UPDATE POSTED HERE – Slight Retraction: Miyamoto Stepping Aside

Head on over to Ars Technica to read about Miyamoto stepping aside at Nintendo from his current duties to focus on smaller projects.

While he’s not leaving Nintendo (thank goodness), it does bring a tinge of sadness to see him pulling back from the large-scale projects of the Mario and Zelda franchises. Needless to say, I’m a HUGE Legend of Zelda fan, and I hope that whatever team is working on the next installment can still bring him over to give them feedback.

In the “glass half full” category, having him able to work on smaller projects might be exactly what both him and Nintendo needs to propel the company into the next decade and I wish him the best of luck. Stepping aside to let younger developers take over can be a hard thing, but it is something that needs to happen at every company.

Games and Simulations

I’ve been reading some video game reviews recently, just to get the mind settled a little bit, and I’ve come to this conclusion:

You have, basically, two types of video game entertainment today: games and simulations.

Nintendo has split the industry and customer base. Nintendo makes games, not simulations.

The Nintendo Wii: A Look Back

Just recently, and I’m talking no more than a week here, I have gotten the itch to play video games again. This come and goes, usually in concert with the release of a game that appeals to me.

The Zelda franchise has always been one of my favorites, and I tend to go out of my way to play whatever Zelda game I can get my hands on. I’ve gotten lax, as of late, on the mobile versions, but I still like to play through the console versions.

Call me a curmudgeon, but I find them to be a more “pure” Zelda experience.

With the impending launch of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, I’ve found myself looking at the Wii again. Honestly, I’m looking at it for the first time since … The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.

That’s five years between releases (November 19, 2006 to November 20, 2011), and almost five years since I was thinking that much about the Wii. Not a great track record, but in my heart, I’m still a Nintendo fanboy and when Zelda beckons, I heed the call.

So I’m writing up just this little piece about a look back at the Wii as its time come to a close and we wait for the Wii U to come and usher in HD gaming from Nintendo.

Nintendo Wii

Launched on November 19, 2006, the Nintendo Wii was the replacement for Nintendo’s prior, cube-shaped console, the Gamecube. Compared to the other next-generation consoles at the time, the Wii was going to be woefully underpowered but it did come with one awesome feature (besides the strange name): motion controls!

The Wii Remote is an interesting looking controller, but it provided the defining difference between the Wii and its competitors the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3. Both consoles depended upon more traditional controllers while the Wii moved ahead in a different direction which the other two would later implement as well.

So, taking a look back, I’ll look at the Good and the Bad of the Nintendo Wii … five years later.


  • Price: Launching at $250, the Wii was at least $50 less than its nearest next-gen competitor, the Xbox 360. Psychologically, that made a difference to consumers. The price also reflected that the console was cheaper to make, thus allowing Nintendo to realize profits from its hardware LONG before either Microsoft or Sony.
  • Motion Control: Since both of Nintendo’s competitors now have motion control system attached to their respective consoles, I think Nintendo can say they got it right this time. While a lot of the software never fully realized the potential of motion control, they did usher in motion control as something the general populace could use and enjoy.
  • Hardware Design: I’m speaking mostly of how the Wii doesn’t sound like a 747 taking off when you are playing a game. It is also the smallest console available (still) and just looks good too. Considering how loud and large both the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 were, Nintendo at least used their underpowered hardware to an advantage in this case.
  • Nintendo Titles: As is the case in every generation of console hardware, Nintendo always has this up their sleeve: only their hardware runs their games. That means no Zelda, no Mario, no Metroid … on anything else. In an age where it is common to find ports to every other console, it was another differentiator. It also helps that Nintendo still makes the best games. I’ll have another post on current gaming trends in the future.


  • Underpowered Hardware: You didn’t have to be a computer science major to understand that the Wii was a advanced Gamecube. The hardware could only output 480p, so the images on larger HD screens could look really poor. Couple that with the fact that HDTVs have now become affordable and is something everyone is looking for and you have a problem.
  • Really Poor 3rd Party Games: There were a lot of games, compared to the Gamecube, but many of them were very bad. There was also an almost complete lack of AAA 3rd party titles for the platform as well. Couple that with some atrocious control schemes tacked onto titles and the software landscape was pretty grim. Much of this happened because you could not just port your game over to the system because of the unique control scheme and underpowered hardware. Just sad.
  • MotionPlus Too Late: It is too bad that the MotionPlus was launched launched in 2009 because the added sensitivity of the motion control would finally allow a more immersive experience that was the whole idea behind the original Wii Remote back in 2006. The vision of wielding the Master Sword wasn’t able to come true until late 2011 (well, it remains to be seen … hopefully more on that later).
  • Lack of Online Multiplayer: Microsoft is the unrivaled king here, but the lack of a true online multiplayer community for Nintendo’s fans to connect together and compete really hurt the console. Nintendo has always been the best at creating amazing games, but their expertise has not transferred to the online realm in a meaningful way.


The Wii will be seen as a success for Nintendo, but it had massive flaws that held it back. Could Nintendo have accomplished everything while still making a process at $250? No, not possible. Sony and Microsoft showed that, but Nintendo still did what they did best … create a home console which allows them to make amazing games. Let’s hope that the Wii U continues that tradition.

The “Short List” for 2011

I twooted this last night.

DA:O is definitely on my short list of games. Mass Effect series, Zelda, Starcraft, KOTOR … that’s pretty strict company.

So that got me thinking about what actually compiles my “short list” of video games. Granted, I do not do a lot of gaming anymore, but here is The “Short List” 2011.


Just some ground rules to start.

  1. series can be a single entry if the games are linked in some way (e.g. Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 NOT Final Fantasy 3/6 and Final Fantasy 9
  2. must include games I’ve played through completely at least once
  3. the list is not in order of preference because I’m terrible at ordering things like this
  4. the list is strictly my opinion and I will be changing that opinion over time

With that, let’s begin!

Mass Effect series

Bioware will come up again and again on this list, mainly because they know how to tell a really solid story and Mass Effect is no different. To say it is a “space opera” would be an understatement and the mix of shooter + role-playing elements make this an instant favorite for me.

I look forward to Mass Effect 3.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic series

Two games that finally fleshed out the Old Republic in a way that had never been done before. It was a refreshing take on the Star Trek universe that offered a great storyline and the ability to be a Jedi. How cool is that?

KOTOR 1 was the stronger of the two, with KOTOR 2 feeling a little unfinished but I put them both here because I enjoyed both of them.

Starcraft series

Even though over a decade separates the games, Starcraft is what I look for in a strategy game that I can pick up and play for fun. Fast-paced, good online support, and something you can still play today (in reference to Starcraft 1) even over a decade later.

Starcraft 2 is a worthy update and I can’t wait for the other stories to come out. Who doesn’t like playing as Jimmy Raynor?

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time/Majora’s Mask

I spent a sick week playing through OOT in grade school and it was amazing. The Zelda series is great, but these two games on the N64 were maybe two of the best because of how different they felt from each other.

MM was the darker of the two, but the more epic-feeling was OOT. I will always remember walking into Hyrule Field for the first time … it was glorious.

Final Fantasy 3/6

Kefka. Just the name makes me cringe. Along with maybe the craziest antagonist in video game history, the sheer number of awesome characters you get to play with makes the game all the more fun.

Couple the above with some of the best 16-bit gaming music and graphics and you have a truly iconic game. Final Fantasy 3, I salute you.

Final Fantasy 9

Lots of people will choose other Final Fantasy games, but 9 has stuck with me for a very long time. It harkened back to how I would imagine older FF games and just ran with it to create a feel-good story with great music, awesome atmosphere, and it pushed the Playstation to its limits.

I think the most underrated FF game in the entire series. I loved it.

Dragon Age: Origins

I didn’t know what to expect when I started, but I picked it up on a friend’s request (thanks Chris!). I’m not usually a Western-style fantasy RPG fan, but when I got started I was hooked. The world is expansive, the story is great (Bioware anyone?), the characters are fleshed-out, the music is top-notch and … well, you get the picture.

I have this as a standalone game at the moment because I have not been able to play Dragon Age II yet. I’m hoping to pick it up once the price drop, drastically.


So that’s the first installment of The “Short List” and I hope you enjoyed it. I will probably reevaluate the list semi-regularly in the future and post up any changes to it.

That’s it!