No doubt, Shigeru Miyamoto is definitely one of the greatest or even the greatest game designer ever. But how did he do it? What can we learn from him?
1. Do External Hobbies and Memories
Most of his ideas came from external hobbies. But what are external hobbies?
If you look anywhere you will see lots of game developers love the same things, they all like watching movies and playing games, etc. Resulting in many similar games. By external hobbies, I mean things that are out of your space, like reading poems or gardening for example.
Look at Shigeru Miyamoto, he remembered that when he was still a child, he would explore his backyard, every day, until one day, he discovered a cave. He saw that the cave was dark, so he ran home, grabbed a torch and ventured into the cave.
This adventurous memory, that feeling of excitement and mystery. He wanted to transfer that feeling to a video game, which led him to create the Zelda series.
If that wasn't enough proof for you to start a new hobby, let me introduce you to Koichi Hayashida, a designer at Nintendo.
He developed a unique level template that allows for the rapid development of different ideas. He wasn't inspired by a film, another game or even programming, but rather a poem introduction structure called: Kishotenketsu.
So why not you start a hobby that is unique, like origami, gardening or calligraphy? It will definitely pay off.
And just one more thing, make sure you actually like the hobby, don't just try some hobby to get inspiration for your game, just do the hobby and have fun with it, the inspiration will come to you.
2. Have Fun & Be Creative
I think that Miyamoto designed his games by having fun. If you want to make a game that is fun, make sure you think it is fun too.
When you watch Miyamoto getting interviewed by anyone about his design technique or process, he always smiles and laughs at what he added or removed. He added things that he thinks is fun for him because chances are when you like it, others will like.
Another thing is that Shigeru Miyamoto tries to do things differently than other designers. He puts fun first.
However, nowadays, game developers forget that games are just another medium of entertainment, they try to get players addicted to spending money or they make games that just aren't fun. Or am I wrong right here? If you think I am wrong? Why not email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Anyways, my message to you all is to (at least try to) make games that are just a pure representation of fun. Really. That is all the advice you will ever need as a game developer: Make fun games.
3. Be Bold
Miyamoto isn't scared to take risks, whether to avoid online gaming or to not add small in-app purchases in a game. He doesn't care about the money, he wants to make a fun and original game.
While other designers would try to keep up with the trend, Miyamoto tries to build up a trend. This although full of rewards, also has its obvious downsides.
One downside is how a trend can be hated, or not well received by the community. After all, trends are there for a reason (usually), and following trends is an easier way to get money and fame, but again, money isn't first, it is the fun and originality.
Being bold doesn't mean you should not listen to any of your colleagues. In fact, you should let them try out a simple prototype of the idea, they might have different views on an idea. Always take honest feedback seriously, they are always a wonderful revenue.
Shigeru Miyamoto taught me 3 main lessons:
1. Get inspiration from external sources
2. Be fun and creative with your ideas
3. Be bold and always listen to feedback
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