Some thoughts on Shigeru Miyamoto and Mario
Is Shigeru Miyamoto forcing the Super Mario series to have as little plot as possible?
Shigeru Miyamoto, the maker of the Mario series (alongside various other game series'). While many of course appreciate him for making the series to begin with but is he holding the series back and making it too complacent?
Oh what can be said about Shigeru Miyamoto that hasn't been already said before? For years Shigeru is known as one of the most highly renowned figures in Video Game history and is one of the biggest reasons why Nintendo has such a legacy in the Video Game industry. However it wasn't until recently did Shigeru become a more divisive individual amongst gamers. How is it possible you ask? Simple, Shigeru is nowadays being held up as some sort of "Patron Saint" of story is a bad thing for Video Games especially for the Mario series and is both praised and hated for it. It seems that Shigeru has popularized the mindset of "Story is never important! Only Gameplay matters since story distracts from the gameplay!". Not too mention on how some people wonder whether if Shigeru should retire for being too restrictive or if he is just a misblamed scapegoat who is more of a glorified figurehead in Nintendo nowadays.
Ah yes Paper Mario Stick Star, while this game does have its fans it is so far the most divisive title in the Paper Mario series.
But why is Shigeru becoming a bit more controversial regarding the Mario series? Well the biggest reason nowadays is the 3DS game Paper Mario Sticker Star. Namely on how Miyamoto wanted Intelligent Systems to cut down on plot and not want them to come up with anymore original characters. Naturally the Paper Mario fans had a problem with this as while the plot in the main Mario series maybe minimalistic but the Paper Mario series is fairly renowned for being fairly plot-heavy. (Though people have told different stories regarding Miyamoto and Paper Mario Sticker Star. Some claim that Miyamoto forced IS to majorly tone the plot as he hates the idea of Mario games having more of a storyline. While others claim that Miyamoto never forced anyone at all and all he did was made some suggestions over how the next Paper Mario game should go in which IS tried a little too hard to comply with them.) Though if it is true that Miyamoto only wanted IS to focus on preexisting characters for Sticker Star's storyline then its not necessarily a bad idea. Over the years there have been several characters in the Mario series and a lot of them could really go for some screen-time. So in other words "having to stick to preexisting characters" in a Mario storyline is not that big of a restriction here if you think about it.
Ah yes the Koopalings and the fact that they are apparently no longer Bowser's Kids. Deliberate major retcon or is it just simply an accidental cultural misunderstanding?
However this is not the only time Shigeru has ever caused controversy regarding the Mario series recently. In a 2012 interview with Game Informer Shigeru Miyamoto said that the Koopalings are actually not Bowser's children and only Bowser Jr. is his kid. Naturally this got older Mario fans infuriated over why would Shigeru would do such a big retcon. However there are some who came to Shigeru's defense and point out that the idea of the Koopalings being Bowser's children was one of the various things that Nintendo of America came up with back then. (Namely on how its been said in the Japanese version of the Mario games, the Koopalings originally had no names and were just Koopa Troopas with unique designs.) So in other words one could argue that this incident was a mere accident and that Miyamoto had no idea about the concept of the Koopalings being Bowsers kids.
Though to be honest I do find it slightly ironic on how Miyamoto is being held up as a "Anti-Narrative" Patron Saint when it comes to Video games. After all Shigeru has once talked about how its much more appealing to playing as a character like Mario and Pac-Man rather than some blank slate nameless avatar like you did in older video games back in the 1980s. Now I am sure there are those who would say "there is nothing wrong with keeping a series' storyline simplistic!" and that is very true. But even if you keep a game's storyline light-hearten and simplistic it is still possible to come up with different creative ideas. Heck one of the reasons why there are those who think that Super Mario 3D World is a nice step in the right direction is because Peach is actually playable instead of being kidnapped again.
Ah yes Nintendo of America, the folks who came up with plenty of the initial ideas regarding the Mario series (including Mario's name).
But in all honesty in times like this I sometimes wonder if NoA should try to step up on coming up with ideas regarding the Super Mario series like they use to. Keep in mind that a lot of the ideas regarding the Mario were made up by NoA at the time, Mario and Luigi being plumbers from Brooklyn, the Koopalings being Bowsers kids and more. (Heck the idea of Mario even being called Mario was made up by NoA for crying out loud.) Granted NoA is probably unable to bring back the "Mario & Luigi are from Brooklyn" idea since certain games like Super Mario World 2 Yoshis Island say that Mario and Luigi were actually born and raised in the Mushroom Kingdom. (Though some find that to be a bigger case of Fridge Logic for the Mario Brothers being born and raised in the Mushroom Kingdom than being outsiders.) But in all fairness out of all the ideas NoA had for the series the only one that Miyamoto was actually openly against was Mario and Luigi's surname being Mario. (But that is more due to how Shigeru thought it would be cooler for the Mario brothers to not have a last name but not everyone agrees with him there.) But basically to make a long story short while I do think that Miyamoto is not quite as "Anti-plot" as he is made out to be but certain series' such as Mario could go for a bit more of a change.