Nintendo – Putting Play First | Game Maker’s Toolkit


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Views: 540850 | Rating: 4.95 | View Time: 12:2 Minutes | Likes: 23427 | Disslikes: 243

In this episode I talk about Nintendo’s method of making games, which helps this Japanese developer stand out from most other studios.


Miyamoto on core concepts, time, and ambition –

Gunpei Yokoi and replacing the character with a dot –

A focus on jumping action –

Luigi’s Mansion is a game about using the vacuum –

Pikmin’s simple basic action –

Why Nintendo won’t make a new F-Zero game –

Miyamoto and form follows function –

Matching aesthetics to mechanics in Splatoon –

Splatoon’s evolving character design –

Super Mario Sunshine’s tropical island influence –

Zelda’s story brings out the gameplay –

Ocarina of Time’s time travelling story –

A Link Between Worlds’ strange artist enemy –

Miyamoto admires Portal –

Additional research via

Shmuplations –
Iwata Asks (US) –
Iwata Asks (UK) –

Further reading / viewing

Game/Show: “Super Mario’s Hidden Language”

Really Freakin’ Clever: “Yoshi’s Island”

Games shown in this episode (in order of appearance):

The Order: 1886 (Ready at Dawn, 2015)
Quantum Break (Remedy Entertainment, 2016)
The Evil Within (Tango Gameworks, 2014)
Dark Souls III (From Software, 2016)
Civilization VI (Firaxis Games, 2016)
No Man’s Sky (Hello Games, 2016)
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (Infinity Ward, 2016)
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker (Nintendo, 2014)
Splatoon (Nintendo, 2015)
Super Mario 3D World (Nintendo, 2013)
Luigi’s Mansion (Nintendo, 2001)
Pikmin 3 (Nintendo, 2013)
Super Mario World (Nintendo, 1990)
Super Mario Sunshine (Nintendo, 2002)
Super Mario Bros. (Nintendo, 1985)
The Legend of Zelda (Nintendo, 1986)
Pikmin (Nintendo, 2001)
Super Mario 64 (Nintendo, 1996)
Donkey Kong (Nintendo, 1981)
New Super Mario Bros. 2 (Nintendo, 2012)
Sonic the Hedgehog (Sonic Team, 1991)
Disney’s Aladdin (Capcom, 1993)
Kid Chameleon (Sega, 1992)
Bubsy in Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind (Accolade, 1993)
Joe & Mac 2: Lost in the Tropics (Data East, 1994)
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (Nintendo, 2013)
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (Eidos Montreal, 2016)
BioShock (Irrational Games, 2007)
Red Dead Redemption (Rockstar San Diego, 2010)
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (Nintendo, 2002)
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U (Sora, 2014)
Metroid Prime (Retro Studios, 2002)
Mario Kart Wii (Nintendo, 2008)
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Nintendo, 1998)
Super Mario Galaxy (Nintendo, 2007)
The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask (Nintendo, 2000)
Metroid (Nintendo, 1986)
Yoshi’s Woolly World (Good-Feel, 2015)
F-Zero GX (Amusement Vision, 2003)
Super Mario 3D Land (Nintendo, 2011)
Mario Bros. (Nintendo, 1983)
Super Mario Advance (Nintendo, 2001)
Kirby’s Epic Yarn (Good-Feel, 2010)
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island (Nintendo, 1995)
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (Naughty Dog, 2016)
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Nintendo, 2011)
Hue (Fiddlesticks Games, 2016)
DOOM (id Software, 2016)
Portal (Valve Corporation, 2007)
Donkey Kong Country Returns (Retro Studios, 2010)
Star Fox Zero (Nintendo / PlatinumGames, 2016)

Music used in this episode:

Super Smash Bros. – Super Mario Bros. Medley

Other credits:

PlayStation: “The Making of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End”

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  1. Kit Farman says

    "The game is fun. If it's not fun, why bother?”

  2. Thomas Johnson says

    quarterbacks dont charge at you lol they throw the football

  3. BayBear says

    I feel like this is part of why Mount & Blade: Warband is so good. The original goal was to do medieval combat right and then an entire medieval RPG world was built around it. Can’t wait for Bannerlord!

  4. Chester Lacayo says

    Nintendo is amazing!!! I just wish they had a console that remains relevant for more than 4 years. I guess to a degree they use the change of hardware as another way to create a new way to play games. But is just unattractive to think you will drop $500.00 for something that wont be around for long.

  5. william strickler says

    push forward combat in doom is definitely not underappreciated or anything. it was one of the core components behind the game receiving as many votes as it did, it wasnt like a sleeper hit or anything lol.

  6. william strickler says

    bgm starting @ 1:26 = resonance by HOME.

    loops for a while, amazing song.

  7. Nchima Kapoma says

    What song is playing in the background at the intro of the episode?

  8. Derek Strohm says

    What about Pokemon?

  9. Juan Jimenez says

    Resonance by Home… Great track.

  10. Buggs says

    5:55 Hmm I wish he'd had the same principal when it came to New Super Mario series. Those games felt like a rip off of every previous Mario game and they were just dull as a result, I was so disappointed with them.

  11. porky11 says

    Gameplay and fundamental logics are also the things I first do, when programming a game. But most of the time I don't add a story/levels/etc. afterwards…
    Maybe this video will help me

  12. Vexa Grimwoe says

    I hope Nintendo ports Ever Oasis onto the switch. That game is amazing.

  13. Jason Todd says

    Eyyyy nice touch with the vaporwave in the background!

  14. fawfulmark2 says

    And this was the main problem with Metroid Other M: this game came up with a story first as priority, and the gameplay feature felt kinda tacked on and limiting(switching to first person to shoot missiles).

  15. Caleb Willden says

    Interesting! Story and graphics is just the context for what you're doing. This is the opposite of the design principles behind Dungeons & Dragons, where the narrative drives the design of the mechanics. I wonder why those approaches work so well for their respective mediums?

  16. Tao says

    This is why despite some negative things, I'll always like Nintendo games as well as those that share the 'design around gameplay' thought process. I do like some games that aren't necessarily focused primarily on the gameplay, such as Yakuza which has pretty basic gameplay to push the story along, or Metal Gear Solid which I'm really unsure to whether the gameplay is written around the story or visa versa (because there's clearly a story focus…But the gameplay is so good too).

    I really can't stand games like modern Naughty Dog games. It's so apparent that gameplay just isn't a priority for them at all, nothing more than a crutch to stop their games from just being movies….Heck, it's to the point where two separate franchises, Uncharted and the Last of Us, feel like they're one mechanic away from outright being the exact same game (mechanically).

    Then we get Crash and Jak. The latter did end up having story focus, but it still felt like they thought "this mechanic would be cool. Lets get that in there" rather than "sounds fun, but doesn't make sense with the narrative. Narrative first, bois, that's how sophisticated adults make games"

  17. DarkFiraga64 says

    Watching this just made me think back to that one ad campaign. It's so fitting thinking about it now.

    Wii Would Like to Play

  18. Caboose 92m says

    Every time I think about designing a game I start with a core mechanic or gimmick

  19. Rinku_Kun says

    What's the song at the start? Reminds me of bamboo island from Skyward Sword.

  20. Toastee says

    something funny is portal was made the same way Nintendo makes games. they wanted a game about portals, so they made a story where they would fit.

  21. kalaikamalu says

    10:20 I thought my annotations were on

  22. Stephanie Annemie Hanson says

    Doom is the most Nintendo game that Nintendo would never make, eh? I take it you've not heard the DoomGuy = Link fan-theory then…

  23. elin111 says

    That must explain why Doom 2016 is the only First Person Shooter that I don't hate.

  24. Sponge Boy says

    Putting Pay First

  25. Jazz says

    What about Pokémon?

  26. Jack Taylor says

    You want to calm down with the Nintendo dick sucking please? It's possible to praise a style without ignoring it's flaws.

  27. Mindy says

    This video was a masterpiece

  28. Ash says

    "Nintendo is, predictably, quite different",

    The irony in this sentence.

  29. Daniele Mazzali says

    Just a question: what about fire emblem, mario party and mario kart? Aren't they the same soup over and over like Call of Duty or Assassin's Creed?

    Not compelling, i like Nintendo, metroid is one of my favorite series, but also the great N becomes ripetitive sometimes…

  30. Jordan Davies says

    I feel like Nintendo could have really easily shoved an ink gun onto Mario and called it something like Super Mario Splat, but it's really cool that they conceived an entirely new IP with the splatoon idea.

  31. Luana Andare says

    You're amazing! Thanks!

  32. Claiming Light says

    The notion of basing a game around the central mechanic is certainly worth considering when developing. And as always, you provide good food for thought. Might have done with a little less brown nosing though, eh?

  33. Charls Space says

    I really hope you keep doing this lives more times once in a while, since I`m sure plenty of people will be finishing their games and they´ll want to show you then (I`m one of those jaja)

  34. Pedro Gomez says

    eh, I feel this way of making games is inherently flawed, theming is more important than pure gameplay. It puts out some great stuff…but it can also completely destroy what was once a good concept, such as in Sticker Star or Color Splash. I feel like you're too biased towards Nintendo's way of making games.

    To Miyamoto, creating a new high speed racer with HD graphics is unfathomable, this is why he is an outdated hack.

  35. Ninja Animations says

    Z E D

  36. Snecols Slocens says

    This video is incredible. I’m an escape room owner and designer, and your analysis in this has inspired a new room concept we will be developing this year.

    Thank you so much for creating your thoughtful, passionately crafted content.

  37. David Allen says

    As you mentioned, Nintendo's philosophy of "put gameplay first" helps explain why and where their games fall flat; you used Paper Mario: Sticker Star as your example, while I – this is ONLY me!!! – feel the same way about Splatoon; Great core gameplay concept, but the aesthetic turns me off from even so much as even saying its name without deep disgust and/or terror.

  38. erm4gundr says

    I literally just caught onto the fact that there's an entire set of people who call it "Zed targeting". Wow.

  39. aria wyatt says


  40. Dream Mix says

    For the F-Zero comment from Miyamoto,
    "I don't want to make the same game with prettier graphics", or something along those lines…

    What about Smash Bros? It's been pretty much the same since it started. Different team than F-Zero, I'm sure, but still.

  41. michael watase says

    i heard new machines and freaked the fuck out, i love that song to bits and pieces

  42. Beta Ray Dave says

    So F-Zero needs some dramatic twist in the gameplay to get a new installment but Mario Kart gets a new game every other year because they came up with one new mechanic?

  43. Ray Ivey says

    I love how you used clip from an Uncharted game as an example of design failure. ???

  44. RumoTu says

    I hope Nintendo would make more HD releases of old game. Yes maybe there Is nothing new to tell about F-Zero, this is much better to play the same old F-Zero with new graphics, no?

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