As the creator of Super Mario, Shigeru Miyamoto retains an important place in the history of video games as we know them – but even geniuses get it wrong sometimes.
For Miyamoto, that moment came during the development of GoldenEye, the James Bond movie tie-in game made exclusively for the Nintendo 64 back in the mid-90s and a title rightly regarded as one of the greatest of its kind.
One of the things that made Goldeneye so much fun for Nintendo fans was the fact that it was among the first proper adult-orientated titles on the console.
While Mario and his pals existed in a multicolour-world of magic mushrooms, dinosaurs and castles, Goldeneye felt hyper realistic for its time, with players tasked with stealthily killing off enemies using a silenced PP7 pistol.
The multiplayer mode, meanwhile, was carnage, pitting friends against each other in a bloody (but largely bloodless) fight to the death.
However, if Miyamoto had had his way things would have been very different. And when loaded says very different what we really mean is kind of rubbish.
According to an anecdote from a New Yorker piece by Simon Parkin on the link between video game violence and mass shootings, one of the developers behind Goldeneye, Martin Hollis, recalls one very bizarre request from Miyamoto around the time the game was being made.
“…He [Hollis] once received a fax from Shigeru Miyamoto, the inventor of Super Mario, calling the game “tragic” and “horrible.” Miyamoto proposed that, at the end of GoldenEye, players should be forced to shake hands with their victims as they lay recovering in hospital beds. (The idea was never implemented.)”
It’s not even worth thinking about how bad that sort of change would have been and it’s fair to say that, if it had been implemented, it could have ended up torpedoing the game’s chances of success.
Thankfully, the team behind Goldeneye were able to ignore Miyamoto’s suggestions and continued on regardless. It’s a good job they did too.