Nintendo recently published an interview with Shigeru Miyamoto, the famed creator of several key Nintendo franchises like Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda. The interview covered Miyamoto’s experience creating the arcade game Donkey Kong (the title where Mario made his first appearance, as a plumber named “Jumpman”), from the moment that the idea for the game first came into his head.
During the discussion, Miyamoto talked about some of the extreme precautions he took while developing
Donkey Kong and how he later relaxed his style much more while developing subsequent games like Mario Bros. Back then, Miyamoto was focused on making “serious” games, so he made sure that gravity affected Mario in a realistic way in Donkey Kong. In the original game, if Mario fell a distance greater than 1.5 times his height, he would die, sort of like in real life. After finishing Donkey Kong, Miyamoto simply stopped caring about details like this, deciding that disregarding gravity would make for a more entertaining platformer.
“I was pretty serious when I was making this. For example: If you were to fall from a height equal to your own body height, you’d probably break your foot, right? So in Donkey Kong, if you fall 1.5 times Mario’s height, you die. But later I thought, isn’t it better if you don’t die from such a thing? So in Mario Bros., even if you fall five times Mario’s height, you don’t die. But still, please enjoy this very serious game in which you die if you fall off a single platform.”
— Shigeru Miyamoto
The original interview was conducted purely in Japanese, but Wired translated most of it to English. If you’re interested in reading the rest of the interview, you can do so
What do you guys think? Did Miyamoto accomplish his goal in making
Donkey Kong a serious, realistic game? Sound off in the comments below!