10:31 a.m.: There's Adam Sessler in the distance, chewing gum and scanning the crowd intently. The way he's chewing seems to indicate either extreme disinterest or extreme anxiety. We brought lots of extra gum.
10:38 a.m.: A GDC employee/volunteer slouched in front of us is wearing a T-shirt that reads, "Ask me -- I can help." Well, this Sudoku puzzle is giving us a hard time ...
10:48 a.m.: Our photographer, Zack, is getting hassled for using a camera tripod in our current seating area. " My legs are longer than this tripod," he argues. "Yes sir, but your legs aren't a fire hazard," the GDC helper replies, coolly. We briefly picture his legs consumed by flames.
The keynote is running quite late, as evidenced by the facts that (1) it's 10:53 a.m., and the show was scheduled to start at 10:30 a.m.; (2) Miyamoto isn't anywhere to be seen; and (3) we've looped back to the Daft Punk song we were listening to when we arrived.11:00 a.m.:
GDC head Jamil Moledina comes out to make the intros. "Will Wright calls our next keynote speaker the Steven Spielberg of gaming ... the Steven Spielberg of games is about to arrive."11:03 a.m.:
The Wii menu appears on screen, with a GDC07 channel (?). A slightly disturbing Miyamoto Mii is selected and added to Mii plaza. It fades away and the real Miyamoto appears. It's magic!
Miyamoto notes that it's been eight years since his last GDC appearance. He whips out a Wii remote and shows ... pictures of his garden on the photo channel. Stop the presses!11:08 a.m.:
He's moved on to pictures of games gone by. He compares the best selling games of 1998 -- Goldeneye, Ocarina, Gran Turismo, Super Mario 64
-- to today's top sellers -- GTA, Madden, Halo 2, ESPN NFL2K5
. Oh noes!11:10 a.m.:
Video games have gotten a bad reputation over the past few years. Reporters were focusing on how games and gamers were perceived. As developers, we felt threatened.
: Miyamoto talks about his family's reaction to his games. His wife didn't really like Ocarina of Time
, until his daughter started getting into it. Suddenly, Mrs. Miyamoto was enthralled. The wife-o-meter registers a hit!11:17 a.m.:
But the wife-o-meter must climb higher! Mrs. Miyamoto likes dogs, as do many other people around the world (including women). Of course, this led to Nintendogs
. When Miyamoto told his wife the game had no enemies, it finally made her look at games with a different perspective. Brain Age
really pushed over the edge of the gaming abyss (creepy!).
A Mrs. Miyamoto Mii (say that three times fast) shows up. She's hawt! Miyamoto says Miis are like the first step in game design. "When she gets going, I can retire" he jokes. No,Miyamoto! Don't leave us! You can NEVER RETIRE!11:22 a.m.:
Now he's talking about balance. People at Nintendo discuss games all the time, even in the bathroom (giving the term "Wii games" a whole new meaning. Har har).
11: 25 a.m.:
Third parties were initially worried that the Wii remote would mean turning their back on traditional franchises. The TV remote design highlights the concept of balance. He's always dreamed of the kinds of things you can do with the remote. Now those dreams area reality. It's magic ... again!11:28 a.m.:
Miyamoto is showing a picture of some sort of Japanese card game museum. The card are shown on touchscreens on the floor, and you can move them with your feet. It's like having a DS on the floor, Miyamoto says. Note to readers: Playing the DS with your feet can lead to a stinky/broken DS.11:31 a.m.:
Apparently Nintendo helped design this museum exhibit. Since it wasn't a game, they didn't have to worry about how it would end, and it was a joy to work on. This "game" truly bridges the gap between the generations, Miyamoto says. Awwww, how sweet.
Now Miyamoto's on to the third part of Nintendo's vision -- risk. The GameCube was a half-step towards this vision, he says, with the giant A button, but it was still too complicated. DS and Wii are much more risky.11:36 a.m.:
They "dared to take the greater risk" with a one-handed controller. The long lines and happy faces of Wii players at E3 proved they made the right decision.11:37 a.m.:
Corporate vision is important, but personal vision is key, Miyamoto says. The harder you look at games the farther you get from finding the things that make them important. When Miyamoto designs, he imagines the face of the player as they play.11:40 a.m.:
Miyamoto reminisces about the DS launch in Japan, and shows video of a Japanese girl squealing with delight (or sharp pain... we think it's probably the former). "That's the reaction I always want," Miyamoto says. 11:42 a.m.:
Miyamoto keeps that image of the happy player in his mind at all times. He reminds the team of it when they begin to stray from their goals. Developers should always be willing to take risks and delay games when they're not ready.11:45 a.m.:
Positive emotions like these are necessary to expand the gaming audience and lure in people who are scared of traditional games. Reviewers should add a new category detailing how much non-gamers like a game, he says. We guess that's good if any non-gamers happen to accidentally read the review ...11:48 a.m.:
Players experience talking about games is also important. Apparently, the original Zelda
prototype didn't go over well in Japan -- people were struggling with the puzzles. Instead of making it easier, Miyamoto took away the sword at the beginning. This made players focus on talking with other players and exchanging advice for what to do next.11:50 p.m.: Animal Crossing
, a game without competition, "bumped up the wife-o-meter" and sold over 7 million copies, Miyamoto says.11:54 a.m.
: Prioritization is also important. Miyamoto has always wanted to make a realistic baseball game, but Wii Sports: Baseball
isn't realistic at all because a full baseball sim would fit in the unrealistic Miis. He'd like to do a realistic baseball game in the future though. Pennant Chase Wii
, anyone?11:55 a.m.
: Trivia: Wii Sports: Baseball
originally had Mario characters, but people preferred the Miis.11:58 a.m.:
Last key point -- tenacity. Like the tenacity of the audience that has been sitting here for almost two hours. The Famicom disk drive was intended for a face animation program at one point. "But how could this be a game," someone asked him. "It would be a very fun idea," he responded. Gripping.12:01 p.m.:
An N64 disk drive prototype video shows a polygonal Yamauchi bowing and thanking Nintendo fans with the standard N64 blurriness. Strong shades of the Mii Channel here. A 3D Iwata and Miyamoto come out and dance with what Miyamoto calls "great rhythm." People still didn't see it as a good game idea, but Miyamoto pressed on.12:04 p.m.:
When another team started using the face animation idea on a DS game, Miyamoto told his team they were useless. "They often don't appreciate me that much," he says. He was frustrated with himself, too, though, for failing to turn this face-making program into something more substantial. He wanted something that wouldn't be a game in itself but that could be used to make sharing in other games more fun. More realistic graphics would make things more complicated and less like a fun program for everybody -- he wanted something simple. Tenacity finally paid off in Mii channel, of course.12:06 p.m.:
ANNOUNCEMENT! Miyamoto is working on a channel that will allow people to compete in popularity contests with their Miis. Stop the presses again!12:08 p.m.:
Miyamoto introduces Mario, and asks "What ever happened to Mario 128?" Apparently we've already played it -- in Pikmin
. Elements will also be in Super Mario Galaxy
. A video is shown showing Mario zipping past planets, spinning through stars, collecting coins and dashing about on all sorts of structures.12:10 p.m.
: Graphics are by far the most impressive yet on the Wii. Mario is avoiding falling blocks and floating on a giant flower. The game will be out this year, Miyamoto confirms.12:14 p.m.:
"Your vision doesn't have to be my vision," Miyamoto says. You should apply your own visions. "You've given me a lot of faith about the future of our industry." True success will mean breaking out of the industry and becoming part of the larger culture. With Nintendo's tools and visions, we can make it happen. "We must always remember the human touch. After all, if we can convert my wife, we can convert anyone, right?" Crowd explodes into a gibbering mass of screaming fans as the keynote ends. We're going back to our Sudoku, now.