Masahiro Sakurai is a busy guy. After spending decades making video games, and basically 9 years straight working on just Super Smash Bros., he dedicates most of his time to a YouTube channel where he uploads 2 to 3 videos a week talking about game development. The legendary director recently sat down with Denfaminico Gamer in Japan for an interview where he discussed the channel and much more. Thanks to Twitter user @gosokkyu (also known as GSK whose translation work is also available at shmuplations), we have a thorough summary of the info. Here’s a lowdown:
— GSK | https://cohost.org/gosokkyu (@gosokkyu) December 27, 2022
- Sakurai takes note of all the unique elements he brings as a YouTuber: a prolific director free to talk about his work and others, who has an absurdly high knowledge of different games, a flair for visual presentation, a track record of providing regular columns/insight, enough money to eat production costs without worrying about profit, and the confidence to articulate himself and his ideas. This all aligns to make this a one-of-a-kind position.
- Sakurai’s videos get an absurdly good like ratio of over 99.6% average. He jokes that he’s afraid to mention this for fear of getting bombarded with dislikes.
- He made the channel with an awareness of his increasing age and the increasing amount of time game development takes now. If he kept working at the same pace, his life would be used up before he knew it, and he’s not sure he’ll have the free time to make this channel later. The channel is also not everlasting – it will end at some point, hopefully in style.
- Sakurai has a unique setup for reading manga – an iPad he hangs over his bed that he flips the pages with using a trackball until he conks out. He has thousands upon thousands of manga volumes digitally, and he has a habit of rereading old works that he’s forgotten about. Most recently he reread all of The Seven Deadly Sins.
- Sakurai commented on today’s culture of criticism, stating that he finds people argumentative and quick to tear things down in bad faith. He notes (in this author’s opinion, rightly) that those putting art out into the world are vulnerable, while critics don’t run the same risks. Unfortunately, he has little confidence that this will change anytime soon.
- He attempts to make videos speedily and without hesitation, but this – combined with restraint by the production staff – makes them compact and perhaps too direct, which sometimes leads to misunderstandings in the comments about things he didn’t explain sufficiently or at all. But he still pushes ahead at the same pace.
- One specific video he cites as misunderstood is “That Was Then, This Is Now,” which pointed out the changes in the gaming landscape over time and that while old games are fundamentally different from new ones, both have value and we should recognize the sharpness of modern games. Many overseas fans disagreed by citing specific disagreements (such as old games not having microtransactions compared to new ones) but missed Sakurai’s intended point, which is that all these games are available and we’re free to enjoy all of them.
- A big secret Sakurai hasn’t seen anybody point out – he wears the same outfit in all videos of a specific category. He has the same shirt on in his Graphics videos, for example.
Phew! Quite a bit of info – more than one of his videos, even. We’ll be back with more of Sakurai’s wise words next week, so relish in these while you can.
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