Video games are often unfairly blamed for society's ills, with critics claiming they make players violent or antisocial. While some might assume such claims are a recent thing, a newly-translated interview with the team behind Super Mario World reveals that such unwarranted criticism has been playing on Shigeru Miyamoto's mind for decades.
In the interview - which originally appeared in the official Japanese guidebook to the 1990 SNES classic - Miyamoto states that he has always wanted to make a game which parents would be pleased to see their offspring playing:
I want to see console games become a "destination for play" — a world that kids feel a kind of affection and attachment to, and want to return to again and again. And how awesome is it that kids have all these worlds they can visit, all inside a console and game library small enough to fit in a dresser?
Also, as a parent my eyes have been opened to something new recently. I've noticed that when a parent sees their child reading a book, they think that's a good, proper thing. But sitting their children down in front of a TV to play a video game somehow makes parents feel guilty, even though games are an active experience. Why is that, I wonder? I'd like to make a game that, when a Mother sees her child playing it for the first time, she thinks, "Ah, good! My child is old enough to play video games now!"
Of course, I've got these lofty goals on my mind, but my daily reality is spent hammering out the details of questions like "how many pixels should Mario jump?" (laughs)
Miyamoto also reveals that the team ported Super Mario Bros. 3 to the SNES in order to get a feel for the new hardware, and that process encouraged the creation of fresh ideas:
We no longer had the restrictions on scrolling and the number of colors that the Famicom had, so it became much easier to depict things. That was nice. However, before starting Super Mario World we ported Mario 3 to the Super Famicom as a hardware experiment, and even though the colors and sprites were more detailed, it was still the same game. It made me realize that we couldn't just make the same game again: we had to create something new. So it was in that context that we talked about how to make the most use of the new hardware. There was a lot of discussion about it, actually.
Zelda is also mentioned during the interview - Link to the Past was in development at the time - and interestingly, both games were created by almost the exact same team. Miyamoto even jokingly suggests that Link could end up getting friendly with Yoshi:
Taking Zelda and Mario as an example though, it's almost entirely the same team for both series, and while we're bouncing ideas off each other you often hear things like "Oh, that idea would work better for Zelda, I think." So maybe you'll see Link riding a dinosaur next game. (laughs)
Anyway, the idea (and maybe it's a joke at first) gets taken to the programmers, and after talking with them and doing some tests, once they can see a general picture for how the game would work, the staff is assembled and things go from there.
The full translation - along with a 1991 interview with Super Mario World composer Koji Kondo - can be read here.