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Nintendo: “Without Ongoing Innovation, Even Mario And Pokémon Would Have Lost Their Popularity Long Before”

Nintendo Global President Satoru Iwata thinks that people who say Nintendo lacks innovation might be making judgments on the company’s games without actually trying them out. According to Iwata, Nintendo continuously innovates with every sequel to the Pokémon and Mario series. Iwata claims that if Nintendo hasn’t been innovating its two flagship franchises, Mario and Pokémon would have lost their popularity a long time ago.

“…I wish business in the entertainment industry were so easy and lucrative that we could make a brand-new title as big of a blockbuster as Mario and Pokémon just by keeping the package of the game next to the packages of Mario or Pokémon games on the shelves in retail stores. We have to take one step at a time for a completely new big hit, but it is true that our products might be stereotyped if we don’t add to our lineup.”

“One thing I would like to add, though, is that it might be true that Mario and Pokémon are franchises with long histories and tradition behind them, but we are trying to push the boundaries every time we develop a series title. In other words, the reason Pokémon has been continuously popular for about 15 years and Mario for almost 30 years now is that each sequel has something novel. So I frankly think that those who assume that Nintendo lacks innovation might be making judgments by looking at our game titles without actually experiencing them. Without ongoing innovation, even Mario and Pokémon would have lost their popularity long before.”

93 thoughts on “Nintendo: “Without Ongoing Innovation, Even Mario And Pokémon Would Have Lost Their Popularity Long Before””

  1. Yeah funny. I hear all these people that say the galaxy games weren’t good… Yet I’m sure 90% who said that never played the games. I think both games are outstanding and they being two of the highest reviewed games of all time should stand for itself.

    1. I openly admit I have not played Galaxy 2, but one was not my favourite. It was a good game, but after the genius of 64 and sunshine, I was not super impressed. Impressed… Just not super impressed… and with a name like Super Mario Galaxy, I expect to be Super Impressed.

      1. Sunshine is one of the worst Mario games and I’ve finished it so I can judge it.
        the problem with sunshine is that Mario are so stiff to control, the camera are bad and they killed Yoshi.
        Super Mario 64 is the best.
        I’ve tried galaxy and it’s a really good game, I am going to finish it whene I get my Wii U.

    1. Except if you actually played and understood anything about video game design them you’d know that wasn’t the case.

      1. THIS. with each new super mario game (there are a wopping 3 in all) they all have something very different and distinct about each one. like how the wii version added 4 player co-op, the propeller hat, the ice flower, and the penguin suit. while new super mario bros 2 added the gold flower, two player local system link co-op, coin rush, and dlc. and now the wii u version will be adding baby yoshies, the ability to play as a mii, boost mode, 5 player co-op, and the squirrel suit. there’s plenty different, it’s just that people are too dumb to actually play the games and figure out what they are.

        1. Dlc isn’t innovation it’s a way to maximise long term profits. gold flower is the fire flower but with a bigger explotion. co-op was done in NSMB1 and NSMBwii. coin rush counts but is not worth my money.
          Wii U version looks promising. baby yoshis are too cute to hate

              1. Fire up your copies of SMB 1-3, compare the innovations and advancements between them (even if 2 is an adaptation of another game) and then look at the NSMB series and you can’t say with a straight face that there is more innovation now than there was then.

                New hats and co-op does not a great game make.

          1. theres was no co-op in the first nsmb. and no, actually, the gold flower actually turns everything the fireball hits into coins, it’s not just a “bigger explosion” and i was specifically talking about how they did co-op on two seperate systems rather than one system. and dlc is a big step for them, and is a feature that they never had in any other game. so it’s a difference. seriously, play before you hate.

            1. DLC isn’t a featrue its a way of getting money for longer.
              Coin flower if the fire flower but slightly different.
              Mario Vs Luigi on the first one was fun but I dont want to have to go the same pace as my freind. i’m not buying the game becouse to play before i hate becouse i have made a rational decision to not spend my money on games i think dont deserve it esspaclly when know they can do much better

      2. I’ve played the game. I like it but it’s not up to the usual Mario quality that i was expecting. It feels like a lesser version of the wii version while at the same time looking like an enhanced version of the DS original.

    2. You miss the point of the New Super Mario Bros. series. They’re meant as a throwback to the old-school 2D platformers. They’re for the people who want to get their 2D sidescrolling Mario fix. Plus, there’s only ever been one per console so I really don’t see the problem.

  2. Definitely agree. there are some novel changes made to Pokemon every generation other than the new set of Pokemon (and sometimes the new battle styles.) The mechanics that run the game change drastically every time making a much deeper experience in competitive play.

    For example, fourth generation (diamond/pearl) COMPLETELY re-did the physical/special attack system. Rather than, say, all water moves being Special and all ghost being Physical, there are physical and special moves for all types. This change gave many Pokemon better opportunities to show their usefulness.

    1. True that. Plus all the natures, stab, EV training, breeding bonuses, its actually apretty complex game xD i personally dont play it like that, i just catch ones i like and play, but its still there. Then people make up game mode like Nuzlocke ect.

      And then genius, god like decisions like making the game ASK you if you want to use another repel after it runs out, in B/W2.

      1. I play like that with the pokemon I love personally. It’s won me 3 tourneys, so i’m not complaining =P The magic of pokemon is it’s as simple or complex as you want it to be.

  3. Damn straight. Remember when Mario Galaxy was first shown? People didnt even know what to say, it was like a completely new IP. The differences between Mario games (the main series) are pretty big.
    Plus, in my opinion, Pokemon has just gotten better and better. Yeah yeah, its still the 8 badges, defeat evil dudes, become te champion, but small to quite big gameplay touches and content changes happen all the time for the better, although i wish there was a more complex and meaningful story in the future.

    1. Black and White have pretty good story considering Pokemon. And the Mystery Dungeon games are pretty plot heavy. Although I agree that the main series still needs more of a push.

    2. Pokemon B/W 1 was really impresive (didnt expect that) and now im playing Pokemon W 2 (no words for now, only 2 badges for now)….. even spin offs are actually really good: Ranger and Mystery Dungeon but i dont like Pokepark and Stadium games…. i like XD Gales of Darkness, i want a sequel….

    1. Yes. But the standard dropped when the beeping came.
      Zelda 1
      Standard Zelda not much to say.
      Adventure of Link
      Redesigned combat RPG elements
      Link to the past.
      Similar in structure to the original zelda but the plethora of colours and new items made it one of the best games
      Ocarina of Time
      Huge (for the time) 3d world but similar to Link to the past in pacing (get 3 stones get sword visit alternative reality do 5/7 more dungeon) Horse back riding Ocarina playing Gorgon dance
      Majoras mask
      Masks for different forms 3 day cycle subtle hints to darker stories amazing narative dungeons were an afterthought
      Wind Waker
      huge world new sounds fresh look not too much beeping but sailing could get boring.
      Minish cap.
      Tiny exploration.
      Four Swords.
      Multilayer competitiveness
      Twilight princess.
      wolf form (like majoras mask) sniffing things horse back fighting double hookshots spinning top ball and chain challenge area
      Skyward sword
      The motion controls were awful (could be better used for combos rather than enemy blocks here and here try to hit here before he decides to change and hit you with an electric sword) the stamina mechanic was stupid too many fetch quests opening inventory each time you got an ingredient and TOO MUCH BEEPING (BEEP BEEP hearts are low. BEEP BEEP fi wants to tell you about your hearts being low just in case you missed the first lot of beeping BEEP BEEP stamina is low BEEP BEEP you dowsing target is over there BEEP BEEP press the sail button now even though you don’t have to. BEEP BEEP your sword is charged BEEP BEEP I detect an 85% chance that what has just happen did in fact happen. BEEP BEEP there is an 90% chance that you should hit that BEEP BEEP YOUR BATTERIES ARE LOW IF YOU COULD NOT TELL FROM THE RED THING ON THE SCREEN. skyward sword was the worst 3d zelda for me BUT it did improve on upgrading weapons so there is something. and the boomerang became motion controlled.

      1. i dont know about you for Skyward but the game was awesome, kinda taken back cus it lacks areas for exploring like in most Zelda games, its was a bit linear in my opinion, wish they wouldve made the flight exploring more enjoyable like having to visit different floating cities that cant go to after you beat dungeons, but everything else was pure innovated, above all I had NO problems with motion controls, each enemies was fun to beat down, the items were fun to used with the added motion’s plus and the story was easily followed and never gotten too boring. Fi was annoying but what the game offer out weights those minor flaws, enjoyed the game so much had to play it again on Dolphin:)

        1. I had no technical problems with motion controls it’s just the way that they were put in for sword fighting dissipointed me the “enemy is blocking this side so you must hit this side” combat was pointless and punishing for Motion plus lag The bosses were fun (apart from girmahim and the imprisoned). The items and upgrading them were fun but revisiting the same areas again and again got stale no areas to explore apart from a soup shop and main town. Skyward Sword held so much promise but hopefully nintendo learns from their mistakes.
          PS. thanks for not raging over how my opinion differs from yours I see that alot on this website

      2. Sounds like someone is calling a game bad due to their poor gameplay skills. I loved SS and never once had issue with the motion controls. I agree Fi was pretty annoying at times but it was such a minor detail in an otherwise superb game.

        1. It’s not my skills :) it’s the slight disconnect (half a second) from my actions and links that can sometimes cause problems during fights involving electricity. I played it though once and have started to try again but I cant make myself do it with all the fetch quests. The parts I enjoyed I loved but the parts I didn’t I hated. however I have play Oot 3 times though and Windwaker and link to the past 2 times though.

      3. Agreed on Skyward Sword, except i liked the motion control, but shoulnt use it for WiiU, or not for the sword at least.

        But yeah, i understand some people need tutorials, but christ sake, there should be an option to turn them off in SS….and yeah, the beeping whe your heart were low was annoying…1 beep every 4 seconds is acceptable in my opinion, but yeah…

        1. The way I see motion control work in the perfect zelda game would be: You do a series of motions with your sword for combos that do different things like the flow of wind wakers swordplay rather than link attacking slowly for the first part and then going completely ape shit jamming in as many moves as he can. Slashing the deku babas who only had one kind of block was fun but the electric bobokins where they change block side as you slash causing you to get hurt though no fault of your own is annoying
          Also if they are going to make big areas to explore don’t have me ration out my sprinting time it breaks the flow of movement you run till the stamina bar beeps you walk for 10 seconds and repeat.
          Hopefully Zelda Wii U will be good but I wont fall for the hype as I did skyward sword it raised my expectations to high for any game to possibly achieve.

          1. To each their, what i hate the most was the beeping due to my wiimote batteries running low, I love the small puzzle like sword combat each enemies had I also like Twilight’s combat as well as Windwaker, so I’m really caught in between to which I want for the next Zelda installment..

            1. I enjoyed the puzzling combat but the motion plus lag just wound me up.
              Windwakers flowed well.
              I suppose you can have a mix of both Imagine this.
              Link is fighting a big Dark nut (the suits of armor bad guys)
              Inntally if flows like wind wakers combat until you stagger the darknut you then use the touch screen to carefully chop off the small seams that hold the armour together. you are left with only its helmet on you do more wind waker fighting with parrys until the darknut is down on one knee you then use your bow with touch screen zoom to shoot though the slit in the helmet.

              1. For the obligatory musical instrument instead of the mindless strumming of skyward sword you play Thearythem style mini game with the song.
                potions can be distilled on screen.
                touch screen items
                Bow scope.
                Dagger for pinpoint attacks
                Sword polishing game. (for immature shits and giggles)
                shield insignia that you make yourself
                learn item basic item use from doing similar things before hand
                Before you get dagger you need to hammer in some nails to make a bridge (same style of use) or when you get the dagger you get practise of putting it into slits by putting it in locks.
                thats all for now

      4. sky word sword is better then the oringnle legend of zelda wind waker is one of the worst magoras mask is so stuipid yeah oh im olmost done with a dungan oh wait end of day 3 i haft to start agien in fact the onely good zelda games ar ocrena of time and sky word sword so shut up troll

  4. The only problem I t see with nintendo is they are responding to the haters. It’s a proven fact that you become irrelevent when your not mentioned in conversations, but now they are the conversation.

    Lets look at these facts.
    1. motion control on the Wii= kinect and move.
    2.. Touch screen controls= Vita crossplay, smartglass.

    Say what you want but Microsoft and sony won’t allow Nintendo to run wild again whether there controller is a winner or not. Niintendo has changed the game. Just like with the consumer we had to wait to see what Nintendo was doing so did the other two. It prob took Nintendo 5 years to get that Wii U system to run withought issues theres no way Sony or Microsoft to create a similar system in less than a year get it to run right.

    That means that Those two won’t have something similar or more than what they offer or it will take them longer to releae there new system with additional cost.
    People complain that the Wii U cost is high imagine the other two’s co’st and the first wave of games won’t look to amazing.

    1. Sony and Microsoft both have patents for tablet controllers. Roughly 6 months after E3 2011 Sony and Microsoft made those patents. While I agree that there’s no way they can make a clone in 1 year. 720 and PS4 will be out in 2014 and be pricey. All though the chance of a ps4 is slim with Sony’s situation.

    2. if softsony doesn’t copy and launches with a classic controller wii u will win in three year’s I believe the gpad will become standard for many dual analog gamers play and x pad included

  5. Mario Innovates when they make Galaxy or Sunshine or 3D Land not when it makes NSMB!

    As for Pokemon there is not much innovation on the main series make the 3D jump already im tired of pixelated Pokemon battles on the DS!

    1. the forces dictating whether or not you pokemon can do well in certain things and what attacks do what are updated with regularity. it’s just the presentation that needs a good shake up.

      1. The presentation has been shaken up every game… Anyone who can’t see that is blind. Even playing B/W then going back to SoulSilver, the graphical difference is jarring.

  6. He technically isn’t wrong. Much of the additions to every game are often things people would overlook, but they’d be able to see them if they looked hard enough.

  7. I’ll say it once and I’ll say it again, Never judge a game without playing it for yourself. That’s what I do. You wont know a game is awesome or crap if you don’t play it for yourself. So I get what Iwata is saying, which is basically what I just said.

  8. I know one troll in particular that is going to have a field day with his insubstantial opinions over this whole Mario-&-Innovation thing.XD

    Having said that, though, I do feel that some of the Mario games lacked innovation compared to others, but I cannot truthfully say that most of them did not do at least a few things different.

    1. NSMB2 just put the nail in the coffin for the series for me. I’m not buying another until they prove that they are worthy of my money.
      NSMBU looks alright but it still has the bloody bounce physics.

  9. Well stated President Satoru Iwata, and so true about how people probably have not played them. LOZ Skyward Sword is one my favorites, the only thing I didn’t like is that they didn’t use IR pointer. Otherwise, I loved the motion controls and wished they remake Windwaker with Motion controls. I also wanted a remake of Super Mario Sunshine with motion controls and Luigi’s Mansion with Motion controls. Also, Nintendo has largely ignored shooters all its history, but Nintendo can not ignore success of Halo and Call of Duty anymore. Nintendo should make a FPS.

  10. Face the truth: every major producer, maybe with the exception of Capcom, Konami or Namco, is envious of Nintendo´s ability to keep such franchises sucessfull for so long.

  11. Well, we are using the word “innovation” very lightly. They don’t innovate, as much as they change.

    And they do change enough to keep things fresh, but that doesn’t mean they’re innovative. Let’s not just throw that word around for anything and everything.

  12. Pingback: Gamers Anônimos | "Não se pode julgar a falta de inovação da Nintendo sem jogar os seus games", diz Iwata - Gamers Anônimos

  13. Pingback: NewsXpress: Édition matinale du 30 octobre 2012 | Facteur Geek

  14. He definitely has his pulse on the game industry. He’s exactly right. People like to make that argument without even trying the game. They think that by making those arguments people would lump Mario in with those games the come out annually and don’t improve much. Mario is way better than that.

    We only get one, maybe two mainline Mario games every console generation. All the others are spin-offs. Leave luck to heaven.

  15. sorry nintendo but adding a million coins doesn’t bring new or sound promising good game tho if u like more of the same

  16. The term “innovation” has been losing meaning amonst the market of electronics and entertainment due to the innovations claimed by products like Apple and their million I-Products. In my regard, no product that’s a direct inspiration and remodelling of a previous product is true “innovation” but “refinement”, but obviously, the market isn’t objective to it (and neither am I, to a degree). Getting what you like only more refined can be welcome, so long as the inclusions of content/features is also rewarding to make it worth the additional investment.

    Mario 3D games have been a variety of flavours. Though I don’t hugely enjoy 64 and Sunshine today, I still bought them and enjoyed the heck out of them in the past, so I can’t say they’re bad. I greatly prefered the Galaxy games and still enjoy them today, though again, I don’t play them as much. To me, Mario has always shined best in 2D (or heck, do people forget about great series like “Mario and Luigi” and “Paper Mario”? Those are awesome too). The “New” series has always been entertaining for me and each game has offered something to me, in-game and personal (Like being able to play NSMB2 on the bus home from work each day). I might just be a gamer whose bar is set really low, but I’m not gonna nick-pick a video game when I’ve got confidence in recieving entertainment from it. We’re not going to see DRAMATIC changes in most series (especially in “refinement” titles), but so long as the price is within our likes and the product within out respect, then we’ll be willing to support them for whenever the likes of true new and real “innovative” titles come (Like Galaxy was when it first came out, offering something very new and different o the genre).

    As for Pokemon, I find it pointless to complain. Each game is vertially the pervious game with new content (and hardly ANY removed from its previous title), and what’s wrong with that? You enjoy the old stuff, it’s there. Want new stuff? It’s there. Especially given the volume of what they HAVE to program in to achieve that (since they are complex games), I can better enjoy them (and most any game) knowing where to look to find the most entertainment in them. So long as a real level of entertainment is derived from it, it’s made it worth my while. Besides, Pokemon is best enjoyed with a friend you can rival with in-person or online. Makes things more fun. :)

    Anyway, my two-cents worth on all that.

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