Old predictions of the future of gaming

From 1950 to the noughties, we look back at the history of gaming's future

Mario creator and Nintendo god Shigeru Miyamoto has been known to drop huge hints about the future into his interviews. The whole 'I like gardening / oh look here's Pikmin' episode is well documented. But we had no idea his early interviews held so many amazing prophecies and statements of intent. Check these out:


In May 1991, there was an interviewwith Miyamoto in Mario Mania Player's Guide. The question posed was: "What is your ongoing philosophy about making video games?" to which he replied:
"Challenge for the player is the most important thing. In the Mario games for example, the player can go back and try to finish the game without collecting a single coin. I think great video games are like favorite playgrounds, places you become attached to and go back to again and again. Wouldn't it be great to have a whole drawer full of "playgrounds" right at your finger tips?"

Sound familiar?


Above: A whole drawer full of playgrounds at your fingertips


In the same interview from 1991, Miyamoto was asked: "How do you explain the number of changes to Mario's appearance over the years?"

"The main reason the character changed was because we have had different artists and programmers working on the Mario series from game to game. Also, the hardware technology has become more advanced and hardware limitations are the most important factor in influencing what we can and can't do. Who knows how Mario will look in the future. Maybe he'll wear metallic clothes!"


The arrival of the new millennium saw everyone making predictions for the future, most of which revolved around the internet. "The whole industry is going in this direction,"said Charles Bellfield, director of marketing communications at Sega of America on November 10, 1999. "Online multiplayer gaming will revolutionize gameplay in the next five years."

Very prophetic. So why the heck did they try to do it so early?



InFebruary 2002, Miyamoto was promoting the new Nintendo console - the Gamecube. And yet, despite the PS2-beating graphical quality, he was already talking about Wii and its low-spec hardware, only not by name:

"We learned that we can't make the run on technology... To improve the visual quality we have today we need to invest loads of money to achieve very little gains, that only very expert players or over-particular journalists will notice, and these efforts would not give any advantage to the game itself.

By now we think the main goal in the world of videogames is to make the technology cheap and the price of the GameCube is a proof of that. The hardware of the console is important, but to make it affordable to anyone it is better to focus on creativity and originality rather on a super CPU that will make the price too high."

He had it all planned out, y'know. But sometimes even the best plans and intentions can go awry...


"[PlayStation 2]...is engineered for connectivity to lead the broadband revolution," saidChris Deering at theannouncement of PS2 on September 28, 2000.

Of course it is, Chris. Of course it is.


Predicting the future of gaming has now become big business in itself. Sothere'sa quote to remember from our favourite analyst. Yes, this is the same Midway that recently filed for bankruptcy.

Facepalm.


Official Sega Dreamcast Magazine US #04 said:

"The future is bright"

Ouch. To add more irony to an already bittersweet gaming moment, theyalso said: "You're living right now in the year of the Dreamcast". Sadly, that was a bit too accurate - the machine had about a year as king before PS2 came along and stole all the glory.

Sigh.

22 April, 2009


Why would that PSP image remind us of this?


We've got crystal balls too. Oh, hang on...


And Shadow of the Colossus. And Zelda. Why? Cos they add bikes to everything these days

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

The longest-serving GR+ staffer, I was here when all this was just fields. I'm currently Reviews Editor but still find time to speedrun Sonic levels and make daft Photoshop articles.
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