Eurogamer recently conducted an interview with Giles Goddard, one of the few foreign programmers who worked at Nintendo HQ in Kyoto in the 1990s, the man who also happened to create the famous interactive face that introduced the world to Super Mario 64. You know, that major turning point in gaming history.
Goddard, who also worked with the late Satoru Iwata when he was still a programmer, reveals the early days of working with Nintendo 64 was a time for fun experimentation:
"When we got the Indys, they came with a camera. I put ping pong balls on my face and I thought it'd be cool to use the camera to control the face. And the justification was to test out the skinning - at that point, if you had two joints they'd be two separate objects. There was no smoothing. That's what I was experimenting in - how to do skinning. And a good demonstration of that was the Mario face. If you have a boss there that's seen this iteration of skinning, of facial animation - it's dicking around with a purpose, it's progressive and it's new stuff."
It wasn't made for publication, either. Goddard didn't expect the game to make it into the final game, even when Miyamoto requested he add an elasticity to Mario's skin.
"Miyamoto just saw it as he walked past. It didn't really change, either - the only thing was the elasticity. They wanted you to pull the face, but after that what happens? That's where you got the springy stuff."
Tell us your memories of playing Super Mario 64 back in the '90s and how it influenced your love of gaming...