But you’re not professional voice actors, so if someone says, “Shout!” you can’t do it without flipping a switch inside.
You get used to it after a few times, but the first time Yone-san told me to shout, I didn’t know what to do.
You don’t usually shout at work.
Right. I’d never gone hoarse because of my work as a programmer. (laughs)
There’s also a game called Love Rap . I did my best to project a spirited voice, but when we showed it to Tsunku-san, he said, “It doesn’t have bounce!”
If it did have bounce, (tapping the table) it would have rhythm, like ♪takka-takka, takka-takka, but instead it just droned evenly, like ♪taka taka taka taka.
If it had bounce, the sounds ♪i-n-to-you, i-n-to-you, would come out ♪iin-to-you, iin-to-you, but they weren’t.
We stayed really late working overtime on it.
We were like, “Takeuchi-san, shall we do it one more time?” (laughs)
In the end, we replaced them all, though.
Tsunku-san won’t compromise the core of the game.
Without that, it would just be a bizarre game. For example, if even one “In to you!” doesn’t have rhythm, the game would lose what’s good about it.
So no matter how late Takeuchi-san stayed working on it, if it didn’t bounce, you couldn’t use it.
If I’d known he pulled an all-nighter, though, I might have been like, “Hmm…maybe it’s okay?” (laughs) But because of the distance between Tokyo and Kyoto, not a lot of information flows back and forth, so you say, “This doesn’t bounce,” and that’s the end of it. That kind of brusqueness can be a good thing sometimes.
I thought, “I’m scared of our next meeting!” (laughs)
But it wasn’t like he had something against you.
I know, but…
It would be fun if I did, though! (laughs)
No, no, no, no, no! Why?! (laughs)
It was a single blow. The moment he heard it, Tsunku-san’s mood darkened a little and he said, “This doesn’t bounce!” (laughs)
Whoa, that’s scary! (laughs)
But it really didn’t bounce.
That’s why I was hanging my head when we met.
Many people have experienced how rather than comprehending rhythm theory with your head, you understand it much better when you get into the music and actually beat out the rhythm. I feel like everyone who participated in this project understands that.
That’s right. When Tsunku-san says, “It doesn’t go like that,” he taps on the desk. When you hear that beat, or the beat of footsteps, you naturally pick up how it falls.
I think one good aspect unique to the series is the “remix” element, in which the rhythm switches from one to the next. What makes the difference between people who have trouble with the remixes and people who master them?
If you do all four of the games up to the remix, you can pick up on it. Well, even if you do all four and still have trouble and are just sort of muddling through, you should stand up and pay close attention to beating out the rhythm.
Why does it go better standing up than sitting down?
You don’t just play the game with your hands. Rather, it’s better to keep the rhythm with your body, with your chest.
With your chest?
Yes. And your knees and feet. In music, as in sports and dance, you don’t put your heels down. If you keep them up, you’ll get much better at playing the game or guitar or whatever. It’s like receiving the ball in tennis. You can’t do it with your feet flat on the ground, can you? When the goalkeeper in football positions himself to block a ball, he leans forward on his toes. It’s much better to play this game that way. You can respond more quickly. Playing this game standing up is better because it brings you closer to that state of readiness.
Oh, I see. I don’t think someone who doesn’t think a lot about rhythm would say something like, “Keep the rhythm with your chest, rather than with your hands.” Does anyone at Nintendo play standing up?
At the company, everyone refrained from standing up out of their chairs, but I heard an awful lot of tapping feet.
I do want to stand up, though! (laughs)
By the way, during development, did you ever feel like you’d gotten into a tight spot?
Partway along, we had plenty of games, but there was a time when we were like, “What should we do with these?”
That was before we could do the remixes.
Figuring out which four to put together into one remix must have been like putting together a puzzle. How did you decide?
We got the songs from Tsunku-san and tried various combinations. In particular, when there’s a song with words that seemed perfect for a remix, the impact felt great. I think I worried the most when we were fleshing out the remixes.
So there was a process of trial and error like searching for the right place for a puzzle piece.
I think I fretted most over how difficult to make the game. People who played the Nintendo DS game may want something fairly high-level, so I wondered if we should make it somewhat difficult from the start, or if we should make it something that beginners could start playing. I pondered for a long time over the criteria determining what would make the difficulty easy, medium or hard.
Someone does have to establish such criteria.
As we were doing all kinds of things, we became afraid that it was too difficult, so we went to people from all age groups - from new employees and female staff members in their mid-twenties to people about 50 - and without any explanation, said, “Play this!” And they couldn’t do it. A lot of our staff members don’t play video games very much, so they had to start by asking which buttons to use. It took some time until I could hit upon the right criteria.
Then we thought, “Well, maybe they can do it if we make it this easy,” and had the new staff at Tsunku-san’s place check it. We were really nervous, like, “Please, be able to do it!” We were tense, like, “What if they trip up on this?” (laughs)
It’s funny how usually the person being watched would be nervous, but in this case the ones standing around watching were nervous! (laughs) Tsunku-san, did you naturally hit on that idea yourself of grabbing people who don’t play video games much and making them try it out?
Yes, I did.
That’s the same thing that (Shigeru) Miyamoto-san who made Super Mario Bros. does. I’m surprised that you naturally did that and hit upon the exact same idea and way of doing things as he did.
Now I’m surprised, too.
I’ve had the pleasure of working with you three times now over the course of about six, seven years. It’s quite a mysterious connection we have that results in games like this.
I truly think so.
I would be happy if the excitement of this game gets across and inspires laughter in front of the television in homes everywhere.
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