We’ve covered Shmuplations many times before, but for the uninitiated — it’s easily one of the best sources on the whole internet for translated interviews about video game development. Most recently, translator Alex Highsmith has translated an entire 26-minute Japanese documentary from 2003 about the history of the Famicom (the Japanese name for NES), and it includes interviews with Hideo Kojima, Keiji Inafune, Koichi Nakamura, Toshihiro Nagoshi, Yoshiki Okamoto, Takahashi Meijin, and Tetsuya Mizuguchi. It’s a pretty entertaining and insightful watch even if you’re already familiar with the console’s success, since this is a strictly Japanese viewpoint on the rise of Nintendo and Famicom.
There are some terrific words of praise in the documentary for Famicom and Mario in particular. Yoshiki Okamoto, who’s worked on the likes of Mega Man and Street Fighter among many others, mentioned Super Mario Bros. and its creator, Shigeru Miyamoto. He said, “We all knew we couldn’t beat Miyamoto, not then, and not now.” Then-Mega Man producer Keiji Inafune also said, “It was Mario that made me realize how interesting video game character design could be.” Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima even said of Super Mario Bros., “That game, man, it’s like the Bible to me.” Along those lines, the Super Mario Bros. strategy guide that released in Japan in 1985 was apparently the bestselling book that year.
While Shmuplations typically only covers written interviews, its video content is ramping up, such as this translation of a Dragon Quest 30th anniversary special. If this stuff is up your alley, be sure to give it at all a watch. A short Famicom documentary is a fine way to spend a part of your weekend.