News Article

Miyamoto: "Super Mario 64 Was Boring"

Posted by James Newton

Wasn't always a classic

We now know that Super Mario 64 is one of the most important genre leaps in gaming history, taking Nintendo's mascot from 2D into 3D with enormous skill and craftsmanship. However, creating the game wasn't plain sailing, as a new Iwata Asks reveals.

The discussion — which comes in at a colossal 26 pages — reveals that during development, Shigeru Miyamoto felt the game wasn't going well:

When I was working on Super Mario 64, I realised halfway through that it was getting boring. I don't remember if it was when I watched someone playing it, but I was like, "Wait, a minute…" So I went around and asked everyone, "This game was really fun in the beginning, but now it doesn't feel fun anymore, does it?" And just as I'd expected, they all said, "We agree."

As it happens, the cause for Miyamoto's concern was a change in Mario's movement:

In the beginning, we had Mario turning really slowly, so that it was really overemphasized. But at some point he'd started turning really quickly. He kind of zipped around. So then we changed it so that he went back to turning really slowly. And well, I'm not sure if that was the right change to make, but it was really important to me. Because Super Mario 64 was a project that started from that turning movement.

Miyamoto calls his ability to identify small changes in a game's feel as his "special talent", but even a man of his considerable talent can get it wrong sometimes: Miyamoto originally objected to spinning Bowser by his tail in the game's iconic boss fights:

I didn't tell them [the team] it was impossible, but I said, "Don't explore that direction anymore." I just felt like it was pretty risky. Then something happened to get the program working, and I decided that since there was now a light at the end of the tunnel, we should go with it as one of the main features.

As with Mario Kart 7's customisation, Miyamoto was won over when he saw his team's accomplishments, yet it's fascinating to think how close a seminal video game came to missing its potential.


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User Comments (70)



SLiM said:

As a 10 year-old at the time, Super Mario 64 blew my mind. Collecting all 120 stars felt like a great accomplishment. It was very far from boring in my mind



Late said:

Not a boring game but I just never seem to find myself time to get all the stars.



Marios-love-child said:

When first released it was the most revolutionary game ever, certainly not boring.

Admittedly it doesnt hold up very well by today's standards but at the time........... One word......... Wow



theblackdragon said:

I loved SM64 when it hit, but i'll admit a lot of the fun came from just exploring random stuff, trying to do things that didn't seem possible. the castle was the best, and then when i got bored running around in there i'd go find some stars, lol.



WaveGhoul said:

Ground breaking is the best way to describe Super Mario 64 when it hit the scene....Especially for those 'like me' who grew up with the NES, SNES and Genesis. And I wouldn't say it was boring at all....if anything, i disliked the Boss battles with bowser, and the entire game didn't feel quite Mario enough....It was lacking a ton of iconic enemies from the previous Super Mario bros before i'm probably one of the few that hated most of the music.

And while that amazing wow factor after experiencing it for the first time, it mildy started to wane on me. Super Mario 64 for me didn't hold a candle to SMB2, 1, World and 3.



Gavin_Rozee said:

I think he's saying that the game was boring during a specific time in development, but they got it fixed up for the final product.



NintyMan said:

That's the biggest Iwata Asks I've ever seen. They really shoud have called it Iwata Silently Listens.

I think Miyamoto meant that Super Mario 64 development was boring, not the final product. Clearly they had some challenges to overcome since it was the first 3D game.



she_gamer said:

@tbd Yup, I remember I had a friend watching me play one day, and finally they asked, "Is that it? Just exploring?". Then I felt the need to impress and went and got some more stars.



zezhyrule said:

@9, 10: Yep, that's exactly what he's saying. The article title is somewhat misleading, except for the "was" part.



WaveGhoul said:

Are you suprised that he was bored during development? These new born 3D titles were so primative and practically lifeless, artificial and void of any detail and creativity that you could pull off visually for an 16 bit SNES title, which was already miles ahead based on what you could do in 3D for the N64.

The first step to 3D had THAT as a major drawback in the 32/64bit era. It's no wonder why these games(or most of them) have aged poorly including their hammy below 30 frame rates. I'm looking at you Zelda OOT!

Super Mario World for ex has aged perfectly and looks much better than Super Mario 64.



Expa0 said:

Miyamoto's really getting senile if he really thinks Wii music > Super Mario 64. I think he should finally retire and hopefully give some room to new ideas that don't suck.



Scissors said:

Just to nit pick this and the recent Mario Kart 7 title are a little misleading.



Radixxs said:

@18: But it got you reading though right?

I think the game still is mostly boring, I couldn't finish the DS version because I was tired of doing the same thing so slowly.



TanookiSteven said:

Loved Super Mario 64 before, still love it to this day, heck, I went crazy finding out it was released on the Wii Shop Channel!



TheGreenSpiny said:

@17 expa0: When did he ever state that?

If anybody thinks Mario 64 is boring you need find a new hobby. My one and only complaint about the game was the good awful camera. Even when you used the c buttons it slithered back to it's annoying default position. This made it painful to play at times but it was never boring.

I gotta say as much as I've loved the more recent 3D Mario titles, I miss the freeform star collecting of this game. It may not feel very "Mario like" but it was a hell of a lot of fun.



Chris720 said:

It was fun but yet, it gets stale and boring as you progress through the game at certain points. It's a really good game, but lacked any "fun" like what Super Mario Galaxy or NSMB have.



Supremeist said:

SM64 is a great game, but the DS version is boring. I loved it on the 64 though, good times.



Tasuki said:

I have to agree that I too did find Mario 64 boring which is one of the reasons I opted for a Playstation over the N64 during that gen. Like TBD I had fun running around and exploring and just doing things that I couldnt do in a 2D Mario game, but when it came to the actually storyline and gameplay I got bored of it very fast.



FonistofCruxis said:

A lot of you seem to only be reading the title. Read the article itself and you'll see that it he said it was boring at a particular point in development but that was fixed.



James said:

Title isn't misleading: Miyamoto felt Super Mario 64 was boring, "was" being the past tense of "is", suggesting he doesn't think it's boring any more. And yes, generally the titles make more sense when read with the full article



Ramses said:

SM64 was really fun at first, but it got boring once you went on to the later stages.



Tetsuo_808 said:

Tssk, this title has bait all over it and I see many takers. But to counter the "yeah, it is boring" people (not what Miyamoto was ultimately saying, incidentally) I'd like to say SM64 is a work of genius, and it's interesting to understand why Nintendo took decisions like this.

If you look at beta footage of Mario 64 you'll understand quite clearly what Miyamoto-san is talking about. Mario's movement was changed late in development to a slower, more floaty feel - much to the benefit of the final game.



Punny said:

The only part of the game that bored me was Hazy Maze Cave. The rest was pretty entertaining!



7uss3in said:

well i played it back in the days N64
and played it again on DS
still fun game to me



Hejiru said:

Did you guys even read what Miyamoto said? Mario 64 WAS boring. BEFORE he changed it, it was boring. He never said the final released game was boring. Super Mario 64 was NOT boring. It was awesome.



timp29 said:

I replayed this game about a year ago and enjoyed it heaps. Didn't 120 star it, gave up at about 115. I still think there are elements of SM64 that shine over SMG, especially how the multiple stars within levels are implemented in SM64.



FluttershyGuy said:

So long-ie, Bowser! Never get tired of Mario saying that when he tosses him. I still remember the first magazine pictures of Super Mario 64 and other first wave N64 titles. That was anything but boring! At the time, the concept of playing Mario and other Nintendo franchises in 3D was very exciting!



Token_Girl said:

I love Mario 64. Whatever magic those guys did to get it the way it is definitely worked out in the end! It's also nice to hear that Ninty even in the N64 days obviously had some great talent that could go above and beyond Miyamoto's expectations. Hopefully, we'll be in similarly good hands when he retires.



Dodger said:

People really should read the article before commenting anyways but the title was a bit confusing. "Super Mario 64 Was Boring" could mean that Miyamoto thought it was boring before it was changed to be not boring or it could mean that he thought it was boring when he was playing it or when it was released. I could say that I thought Super Paper Mario was boring and it wouldn't mean that I thought it got better later. I thought it was a boring game when I was playing it. The title makes sense if you read the short article though which means that it doesn't really need to be brought up at all.

I haven't 100 percented the VC version but I have beaten Bowser before and seen the credits. It was a great game but there are too many frustrating, boring missions among all the great ones to 100 percent it (which is to be expected of the first 3D Mario game).

I thought the article would be about Miyamoto saying it was boring before I read it because to be honest, I disagree with where he is taking the 3D Mario series but that's just me. I would prefer games more like 64 then like the NSMB series although I like both. I just want 3D to be 3D and 2D to be 2D. I felt SMG 1 had levels that were more fun to play even if SMG 2 had levels that were probably of a higher quality.



JayArr said:


The game is still amazing today. The worlds are actually worlds, you explore and discover. Mario now is just fast food levels shoved down your throat and finished before you can savor their flavor.



AnimeloverGal said:

I think Super Mario 64, was the best N64 games, I ever played, I hope they make a new one for the 3DS



Kage_88 said:

"Miyamoto calls his ability to identify small changes in a game's feel as his "special talent""

Completely and utterly 100% agree with this. When it comes to handling the 'feel' of a videogame, Miyamoto-san is without equal.

As for Super Mario 64 - it is one of the greatest games of all time, hands down (and one of my personal faves). Moving Mario around back in 1996 was nothing short of revolutionary (and made the PSX look very inadequate by comparison!).



Jamouse said:

Hate Mario 64. 99% of Mario Games suck. Except Galaxy 1 &2. They were awesome



Jamouse said:

I'm sorry . It always sucks when someone says something bad about a good game.
I absolutely explode when someone makes fun of Ace Attorney



rafaelluik said:

5. Rated_R_Superstar I have to disagree. For me it DOES hold up very well by today's standards! Being remade for DS and all... It's still fun and if someone managed to make something better than it was Nintento, presumably with Super Mario Galaxy that fans love so much (I never played).



WaveGhoul said:


Plus no other 3D Mario had the amount of Complex 3D control that Mario 64 had. It was so precise and had a greater range of movement than Galaxy did. Maybe it was the N64's sturdier analog stick or the combination of Nintendo just giving Mario more subtle movement changes depending and yadah yadah.

No other game in history has given me this type of 3D control, it's the real deal.



FantasiaWHT said:

I'm a huge Mario fan, but I found 64 so boring and un-fun I've never played more than a few hours of it, it felt that awful right off the bat.



Pj1 said:

I wondered why they havn't re-worked it with Galaxy style graphics! the DS one plays badly for me.



StephenYap3 said:

My opinions:

Super Mario 64 was the 3D Mario game I enjoyed the most and I would want a 3DS port of it, but not likely it would happen unfortunately Of course, there was one for the DS, but I was put off heavily due to its unnecessary changes (playing as other characters other than Mario and forced to play as Yoshi first, plus the lack of the Wing, Metal, and Vanish caps, and lastly its awkward A, B, X, and Y controls) and a jubilee of its novelty features (both the mini games and the VS mode, though a few mini games were alright).



Marakuto said:

When I was a child it was the best game I was playing at the time so ITS NOT BORING, but if its your oppinion I respect that but if you say OOT then I won't.



alLabouTandroiD said:

It would be amazing if Nintendo did some books with a dozen or so Iwata Asks features each. Sell them to the public or have 'em in the Stars Catalogue i'd love it lots.

One day i'll at least beat you, SM64, one day ... (After not being able to find one certain star i gave up the last time.) Maybe then i can say if there's anything boring in it.

@Token_Girl(41.): Completely agreed. I recently thought about that too.



Supreme said:

Is it just me or does the thumbnail make it look as if there's blood coming from Mario's eyes?



rafaelluik said:

@56. StephenYap3 Ohh but I like Yoshi!!!!
lol... For me it was very cool that you had to use the right character on later parts of the game to get the stars.



Marioman64 said:

@everyone who read the article wrong
it says it WAS boring as in it USED to be boring while it was halfway through being made. Miyamoto said halfway through production that it seemed boring, so they fixed it, and the end result is not boring anymore
People: Learn to Read
Writers: Make better titles
thank you



StarDust4Ever said:

@Nintenzo: Action Replay... LOL, good times! Back in the day, I 180-stared my Super Mario 64 cartridge with my N64 Game Shark Pro, and maxed out the coin records! True, there's only 120 obtainable stars in the game, but the coding of the game allows for quite a few more than that. You just have to go in there and fill up a nice healthy chunk of RAM addresses with "FF". There's a simple code that gives you 175 stars with all cannons unlocked and coin records maxed out at 255 coins on file "A". Then all you do is go into the castle and talk to the five remaining Toads to yield a grand total of 180 stars! Good times...

Sadly, my Gameshark Pro (v3.3) eventually got corrupted and wouldn't work anymore...



MeloMan said:

Spinning Bowser... ahhh, the beginning of me wearing out my N64 analog sticks



JimLad said:

I wonder if he spent too much time playing it by the end. I could totally imagine not being able to enjoy a game I developed.
3D character movement has evolved since then for the better, but you gotta go through those earlier stages to get there. Mario 64 was groundbreaking at the time, and still is a really fun game to play.



TheN64Dude said:

I agree The game was incredibly boring. It had dull textures, sound effects, and the levels weren't so colorful. I guess it was the feel of the game that was so boring. I've seen games that were a lot.....brighter and colorful. You know, Kirby 64, Sonic R, Donkey Kong 64.



Chuie said:

its my favorite mario game ever and on the ds awsomeness but yea i was never bored untill i beat it



Charizard2012 said:

It was one of the best games I've ever played in my entire life, THE best Mario game, and thee ONLY Mario game that enables free-roam. IT. WAS. AWESOME.

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