WarioWare: Snapped! isn’t so much a game as it is a tool for making funny videos.
That’s right. So, while we were designing the microgames, we thought about what kinds of gestures would be likely to result in funny videos.
That’s the opposite to the normal starting point for games.
For example, you don’t want people to see you shaking your head from side to side and you don’t have many opportunities to see what your face looks like when you do. So we thought up a game for shaking your head side to side.
Can you make something like that just by thinking about it? Or did you have people try out what you’d made and then watch them as they played?
We watched people. But the place rapidly cleared out...
Of uninitiated people to lure into your trap. (laughs)
We were strapped for test subjects, but found some who didn’t know what was up and had them try it out. We saw which parts looked difficult, and then made adjustments so anyone could do it without explanation.
Did anyone’s response make a strong impression on you?
One guy got mad when he was done. At first he was extremely interested, but I guess it was a shock when he saw himself at the end. He got mad at the Nintendo DSi and yelled, “What?! You stupid thing!”
Who was that?
Nintendo’s Ko Takeuchi?
Ko Takeuchi who drew the characters for WarioWare, Inc. and Rhythm Heaven?
Yeah. He bellowed out, “No one said anything about this!” (laughs) Honest souls are more likely to get angry about it.
Yes, seriously angry! (laughs)
It’s more fun to make others play this game than it is to play it yourself!
You can watch as they play, then, as a treat, see how they react when they see themselves at the end. (laughs)
It’s a new kind of game. Video games are fun because you get back more than what you put in, but this is a little different.
That’s another reason I think it’s like a magic trick.
Ah, I see.
But many people, while they might not get angry, don’t like to have their picture taken, so we made it so that when you start a new game, the previous images disappear.
Even if you just close the lid, they disappear. You laugh, and then it’s over.
If the images disappear, then no one can take a peek at them later. The way everyone looked at mine! (laughs)
According to the guidelines for the Nintendo DSi, when the camera takes a photo it has to make a sound. But if it kept making noise while you were trying to play Snapped!, it would interfere with gameplay. So we addressed that problem by erasing the videos and photos. Also, as another specification, it doesn’t take videos or photos if the player doesn’t successfully complete the game.
So, for example, if you tried to take a picture of a stranger sitting next to you on the train, you wouldn’t complete the game, so the images wouldn’t be taken.
But certainly some people would like to keep these funny images of themselves.
Well, since the images don’t remain, you feel like moving on to take even funnier ones next time. This time there aren’t that many microgames, but there’s motivation to try the ones there are over and over again. The fact that the videos and photos disappear makes each encounter with the games a moment to be treasured.
Abe-san, what did you think about releasing it as Nintendo DSiWare?
If it wasn’t going to be Nintendo DSiWare, I don’t think we’d have been invited to participate in Iwata Asks. (laughs) Development began with the idea of taking photos during play, but as a single packaged software, it might never have been released.
If a game is going to be released as packaged software, it needs to have a certain amount of content. But it had been decided that it would be distributed for 500 points as Nintendo DSiWare (in Japan), so we determined the specifications of the game so it would deliver satisfaction corresponding to that price. It was easier to make that way.
I decided to call this game Big One-off Performance. Mori-san, what did you think when you heard that?
I’d heard that the only categories for Nintendo DSiWare were tools and games, so I was surprised. Only Snapped! could be called Big One-off Performance. It sounded special. I liked it.
That’s how much I felt like you’d tricked me! I’m not holding a grudge or anything, though. (laughs) This game makes you want to take it with me when you go out, give it to people and say, “Try this out. It won’t take long. It’s fun.” Fun in a certain sense, anyway.
It’s fun for someone watching! (laughs)
I wonder who it would be good to play this trick on?
I want to have people who don’t usually play video games, like older people for example, to play it. I bet the video afterwards would really be something! (laughs)
I think the best person to use this on is your boss at work. Wouldn’t you say so, Abe-san? (laughs)
WarioWare has become one of our headliner titles whenever we bring out a new piece of hardware. First there was touching, then dancing, and now snapping photos. I’m really looking forward to seeing how players put this game to use, but I suppose the ones who are the most excited are the mischievous children sitting here with me today. (laughs)
Thank you for joining me today.
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