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The story behind Nintendo Wii

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Nintendo Wii sold in 100 million units, but how was it designed? Shinichiro Tamaki shared the story on From Business to Buttons 2021.

Shinichiro Tamaki worked at Nintendo in early 2000 when Nintendo Wii was designed, built, and marketed. In his role as planner, he was involved in pretty much all hardware, software, and service development from the very beginning.

At the time, Nintendo's sales were declining and competitors closing in. Nintendo had to think new. The idea to approach non-gamers, with a full-body experience was entirely new. In 2006 Nintendo Revolution, later renamed Nintendo Wii, was introduced at ES. Nintendo Wii sold in 100 million units. Why was the concept so important for the conception of the console and what were the tough decisions faced by top management at Nintendo?

In this talk, Tamaki-san also teaches us about the mechanisms behind games, how we form a hypothesis about how the game works, then try it and get affirmation. He does that by the means of telling a wonderful story about the very first Mario game. We look at a simple hand-drawn sketch. Mario is a tiny little figure in the lower-left corner. What is it in the very first scene of the game that tells us, the players, what the rule of the game is? What are the details in the scene that gives it affordance? Is it the text at the top? It says something about coins. Is the game about collecting coins? But there are no coins in the first scene...

Watch his talk and put a smile on your face and then think about how you can apply those simple, but powerful rules to your own design work.

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