Nintendo designer Shigeru Miyamoto admitted that he is concerned about the gaming industry’s heavy and continued reliance on gun-oriented games.
Just a week after expressing his desire to make a first-person shooter himself, the legendary designer conceded that he did not approve of games based around guns as such themes contain a very potent risk of affecting the minds of the young generations of gamers.
“Sometimes I get worried about the continued reliance on making games that are so centered around guns, and that there are so many of these games,” Miyamoto stated during his interview with IGN. “I have a hard time imagining – particularly for young generations of gamers – how they sit down and play and interact with that.”
Miyamoto further went on to set the record straight by clarifying that even though he is interested in working on a first-person shooter, the ideas in his mind does not revolve around a typically violent gun-based theme. Instead, he wants the game to have more substance, such as giving players access to a three-dimensional (3-D) environment that they can freely explore.
Pointing out Nintendo’s commitment to ensuring a safe environment for its young gamers, the creator of Mario and Zelda emphasised on the important role that the developers needed to play in order to make both the games and online space safe for the gamers.
Before the advent of digital mediums, parents had an easy time monitoring the previous forms of media such as books in order to ensure that their child was not exposed to anything harmful. However, the more contemporary or digitalised forms of media have significantly hampered their ability to protect their child from content that may not be appropriate for such young and frail minds. He stressed on the importance of taking all this into account, contending that the developers needed to take this issue very seriously.
While the trend of portraying violence in first-person shooters dates back to the times when Doom came out on the PC, the gore became even more detailed and enticing with the release of the Unreal engine, the graphics technology that led to the creation of Unreal Tournament.
With games such as Medal of Honour and Call of Duty stepping into the picture soon after the success of Unreal Tournament and Quake 3, the developers did not take too long to realise the rapid growth in the new market. Hence, game after game involving a person with a gun and a license to kill began to hit the shelves. The likes of Mario, Sonic and Zelda soon got lost in the background as games such as Gears of War, Halo and Battlefield stole the limelight.
Miyamoto’s concerns about the strong focus of today’s games on guns is primarily based on the prevalence and strong appeal of such games, which make the existing risk too big to ignore for long.