In a strange turn of events Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has conceded that legendary video game developer Shigeru Miyamoto was once his rival. Iwata says that Miyamoto possessed a methodology that he doesn’t have and Iwata felt that it was a waste that he never had it. Here’s the interview that was part of a longer one with Japanese publication, 4Gamer.
Iwata: So, I have this strange sense of duty regarding the codifying of the ‘Miyamoto Methodology’, because I feel like it would be useful to the game industry if you could put it into words. I started up a project similar to ‘Iwata Asks’ for that purpose. And, of course, wanted to see it put into words so I could understand it too, because back when I was just starting out, I sort of arbitrarily decided that Miyamoto was my rival, though that’s embarrassing to admit now.
Kawakami: Your rival? Mr. Miyamoto?
Iwata: Yes. Would you believe that for a long time I’d just decided within myself, completely arbitrarily and not at all reciprocated, that he was my rival and I wanted to do something to just give him hell.
Kawakami: Well fair enough, but in the end did you ever manage to give him hell?
Iwata: Umm, well, maybe a little (wry laugh)
Iwata: Miyamoto is, as you’d expect, an amazing person and without a doubt posseses a methodology that I don’t have. And I always felt it was a waste that it wasn’t verbalized.
Kawakami: It caused a buzz online, but Mr. Miyamoto’s definition of a good idea* is quite remarkable.
*”A good idea is something that does not solve just one single problem, but rather can solve multiple problems at once.”
Iwata: Yes, that one’s great. I thought ‘Yes, that’s a great quote! It’ll be popular with people’, so I went and spread it around as much as I could and it’s become quite well known (laughs).
Kawakami: Yes, it has. It’s like, to put it another way, realizing that killing two birds with one stone was about ideas too! (laughs)
Iwata: Yes. It’s the perspective that solving multiple problems with one solution is what an idea is.
Kawakami: But when people say ‘I got it!’ or ‘That’s it!’, it’s usually like that. So, I think from a cognitive point of view, it’s the correct definition.
Iwata: It’s probably the same as the ‘A-ha!’ moment that they talk about in neuroscience. Things that, at first glance, didn’t appear connected actually are and you can say ‘if I just do this to this thing and that thing, I can solve all these problems in one go and everything will work beautifully.’ That’s the ‘I got it!’ moment.
Iwata: Miyamoto also says that when a problem just can’t be solved no matter what, someone is lying.
Iwata: Yes. He doesn’t mean lying in a bad way, but that the person’s thought-process is mistaken, or they’re looking at the problem the wrong way.
Miyamoto is like, how do I put this, he’s a genius at creating perception changes. Explaining the value of changing one’s perception in an easily understood manner makes people happy, so it’s a very interesting skill (laughs).