Nintendo legend Shigeru Miyamoto has provoked the ire of Japanese gamers by complaining that it is their inability to stomach the challenge of difficult action games which has led to the genre’s decline in Japan, even as challenge-loving American gamers happily lap them up.
Miyamoto’s comments came during an otherwise uninteresting interview discussing Nintendo’s latest Pikmin remake:
I’ve been making action games for some 30 years, and I’ve been thinking about the difference evident in how their popularity has been gradually declining in Japan whilst in America it has been maintained.
The issue is that Japanese who cannot overcome the level of difficulty in an action game no longer want to play them. This perception then spreads to all games as a whole, and people avoid them because they see them as difficult.
In the case of America, there are a lot more people who enjoy a challenge and will stick with it for you and try to overcome the initial hurdle.
Yes, it’s action games which really demand a certain level of skill.
Right, some players just enjoy playing, some prefer to finish it, and some prefer greater challenge. People looking for a challenge will dismiss an easily cleared game as “easy.”
But by making things too difficult, the people who just want to play get driven off. I always wanted to accommodate both types.
His comments have not been well received by Japanese gamers – although with the topic of the difficulty of Japanese games being so controversial overseas it seems he may have some sympathisers there at least:
“Yes, yes. It’s all the fault of the Japanese.”
“The reason they declined was because of idiots like this blaming everything on their customers.”
“It’s because they only know how to make games for children now.”
“Nintendo, the reason you’ve declined is because of your endless remakes, that’s all.”
“Certainly, you need perseverance to play on the Wii U. Holding that horribly heavy pad was just too much for me.”
“I suppose all this is why pay-to-win social games are all the rage now.”
“If you are a kid with no money but lots of free time taking your time on a difficult game makes sense, but if you are an adult with money but no free time the opposite is true.”
“Games recently are too simple. You should die if you make one slight mistake.”
“Who wants to play a game where if you miss one pixel on the screen it is an instant game over.”
“Now things are split between lots of casuals and a few hardcore gamers. You can’t meet their requirements at the same time.”
“The gaming audience has aged and no longer has time for the hassle of difficult action games.”
“People talk like difficulty determines how much fun a game is. It is the other way around really – a game has to be fun to make you keep playing and enjoying the challenge.”
“The real issue is not the difficulty but the level of effort you have to consider investing to overcome a given level of difficulty.”
“Japanese just get bored of them more easily.
“I seem to recall a lot of western games used to be very difficult. Then they got dumbed down and sold more as a result. Really I think the Japanese games aren’t selling because of a lack of ideas though.”
“Wait, if what he is saying about Japanese being quitters is true how come Monster Hunter is so popular still? Don’t overseas players moan about it being too difficult?”
“I don’t get him at all. He’s blaming the fact their action games sell like hot cakes in America but not in Japan on the Japanese? Blaming your customers is hardly a good business strategy…”
“Well, you rarely see western games so difficult nobody can complete them…”
“Gaming demographics just differ in the US and Japan, and the ones in the US tend to be more committed?”
“Games are supposed to be fun. Playing them needn’t be treated as an act of self-mortification.”