Masahiro Sakurai, the designer of the Kirby and the Super Smash Bros series, has revealed in his Famitsu column that he is currently suffering from repetitive strain injury, which is causing him all sorts of problems. Sakurai says that repetitive strain injury is getting to the point where it’s starting to restrict both his work and lifestyle. Sakurai’s says that the solution for the time being is to use a trackball. Here’s what he wrote.
“Using a mouse, keyboard or gamepad make my arm tired, so I can’t use them in a continual manner. The only device I can use for an extended period of time is a joystick. It’s posing problems when I’m test-playing something in progress.”
[repetitive strain injury] is getting to “the point where it’s starting to restrict my work and lifestyle,”
“I figure that if I cut down on writing emails and other things, try not to type in so much data myself, and start giving more verbal directions, that’ll reduce the amount of keyboard-oriented work I have to do. But if I’m going to be supervising other people’s work, there’s no way to cut down the amount of mouse usage I need to perform. I’m trying to work it with my left hand in order to give the right one some rest, but that definitely cuts down on my work efficiency…”
“Kirby was drawn with a trackball on the Game Boy and NES. The internal hardware team at HAL came up with a way to connect a trackball to the NES, then use a dev tool that ran on a Twin Famicom disc to draw graphics. It was great because you could draw and animate graphics right on the NES screen with the trackball, clicking on numbers onscreen to go between animation frames. It really had a beneficial effect on HAL’s NES and Game Boy development — in some ways I think we really had a powerhouse system.”
“I’ve been familiar with trackballs for years, so controlling one should be easy…in theory! Hopefully the day will come when I’m able to use them for extended periods with my right hand again. I hope this gets healed up!”