Dylan Cuthbert, founder of Q-Games and best-known as lead programmer on the original Star Fox, has recently been on Twitter sharing some personal Nintendo stories from back in the day. His most recent account details a particular cold December night when he stayed late working on one of Star Fox's final builds.
Sadly we hear plenty of horror stories involving endemic crunch culture at modern studios, but Cuthbert says they only pulled 'a few late nighters' while working on Star Fox. The following tweets are the start of a longer thread:
If you read through the whole thread you'll get to the fourth tweet where Cuthbert mentions slipping out to a convenience store in the company of absolute Nintendo development royalty: Katsuya Eguchi, Hiro Yamada, Takaya Imamura, Tsuyoshi Watanabe and, of course Miyamoto. You know, as you do.
In the shop Miyamoto began reminiscing about his student days and cramming for tests before exclaiming "I used to love McVitie's chocolate biscuits during those all nighters. Those are British aren’t they?" It seems that most stores in Japan stocked these biscuits at the time and Miyamoto had a particular sweet tooth for them in his youth. Cuthbert and his posse of legends proceeded to buy four boxes and work through the lot as they squashed bugs into the morning.
On Saturday Cuthbert also shared recollections of a conversation with the father of Mario where he lamented not being able to hire the young British programmer following the cancellation of Star Fox 2. This was, as the thread explains, due to a anti-poaching clause introduced into the contract between Nintendo and Argonaut Games (the British studio that developed Star Fox and the Super FX chip) following the hiring of Giles Goddard, an Argonaut employee who Nintendo would put to work on 1080° Snowboarding, among other things.
Miyamoto offered to get him a job with HAL Laboratory but Cuthbert wanted to stay in Kyoto and was looking for local employment. "Just don’t work for a company that begins with the letter 'S'," replied Miyamoto, referencing the still-recent fallout between Nintendo and Sony over the ill-fated Nintendo PlayStation (although we're sure he wouldn't have been happy to see Cuthbert go to Sega, either).
Cuthbert would join Sony six months later, but has subsequently touched base with Nintendo multiple times and remains connected to the Star Fox franchise to this day. We also finally got to see the fruits of his Star Fox 2 labours when it came bundled with the SNES Classic Mini.
Both of the Twitter threads are worth reading, if only for a drop of nostalgia for a time when Nintendo was in active and open competition with its video game rivals, and for the casual references to munching chocolate digestives with Miyamoto while playing Star Fox, of course.