The Super Mario Bros. Movie releases next April, and while some (me) fear it (okay, just Pratt) with every waking breath, others (also me) are curious and excited to see what it has in store. At the recent quarterly investors Q&A, Shigeru Miyamoto was asked about what it was like to work on the movie and other long term expansions of Nintendo IP. Miyamoto said he’s thought long and hard about adapting games into films:
With novels and comics, people have already enjoyed their stories, so I think movie adaptations guarantee a certain amount of enjoyment. But with video games, it is the gaming experience that makes them compelling, so a movie that adheres to the story of a game will not necessarily be interesting. Moreover, people who have played the game will expect a movie experience that is faithful to their memories of the game, while those who have never played the game will expect a movie that is enjoyable as an independent piece of entertainment. We spent a significant amount of time trying to figure out how to overcome these two challenges. While it is a bit presumptuous to say so myself, I think we managed to get it right, so I hope you will enjoy the movie.
Miyamoto is a longtime proponent of the idea that stories in games are inessential or at least secondary to gameplay experiences, so this take is in line with his philosophy. And he does qualify his opinion with a “necessarily.” But even so, it still feels shortsighted, especially as game stories have grown ever more expansive and intricate over time. Though it certainly makes sense that Miyamoto would have to carefully consider the topic when adapting Mario, a franchise typically not known for its narrative features (unless we’re talking about the RPGs).
Miyamoto’s answer about expanding IP was pretty vague, without offering any tangible directions, goals, or even insights beyond a brief reflection on Nintendo’s long history. But hopefully the movie he made is interesting. The Super Mario Bros. Movie releases on April 7th, 2023.
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