Yuji Naka Diaries from Nintendo Spaceworld

Yuji Naka Diaries from Nintendo Spaceworld

by September 12, 2000

Thanks to Video Senki, we know a little more about Naka-san…problem is, what we know is that he went to Nintendo’s SpaceWorld (where the Game Cube was unveiled), and brought back a Pikachu plush doll…

I went to Nintendo’s new product announcement at Spaceworld (8/24 – 8/26). At the show’s entrance I ran into [Keiji] Inafune of Capcom. He’s the person who created Onimusha and the Mega Man series. When I entered the pavilion, I saw that most of the seats were already filled; it really gave me an idea of how interested people were in Nintendo. I ended up spending the the hour until it began sitting down, chatting with Inafune.

I’ve gone to a fair amount of conferences like this before, but this was the first one I saw where everyone was seated and waiting so long before it began. Nintendo’s really something. Before the announcement, vice-president [Atsushi] Asada came out and began talking. I was so sure that president [Hiroshi] Yamauchi would come out that I was a little surprised. I didn’t hear this until later, but the fact that Yamauchi wasn’t at the announcement was apparantly also really something.

After the Game Boy Advance was shown, the Dolphin announcements began. This box big enough for a person to fit in was taken out, and smoke started pouring out after the curtain closed, so I thought for sure [Shigeru] Miyamoto was coming out of the box. (^_^;) But actually, only five girls carrying Gamecubes came out. I mean, since I came out of a balloon at the Sonic Adventure unveiling, I figured it’d be about time for Miyamoto to do the same sort of thing.

It was at that instant that the name “Gamecube” was revealed, but the moment I heard it I thought “Huh? I think I’ve heard that somewhere before”. It was true – three years ago when we were deciding the name of the Dreamcast, the name Sonic Team offered as a candidate was “G-Cube”. The “G” stood for “game”, of course, so I was a little surprised. (^^) At the time, the DC’s external shape wasn’t finalized yet; there were flat and box-shaped designs. I remember that Sonic Team liked the box shape more so they offered G-Cube as their choice. Oh, and there were four places to stick controllers in, too, so the unit looked a lot like the Gamecube. That DC used a front-loading mechanism for inserting disks, but I definitely felt some affinity between the two.

When Miyamoto came out during the Gamecube demo and showed off the controller, I was impressed with how enthusiastic he was about it. After that was the Mario 128 demo, with Marios from the 64 coming out on screen until there were 128 of them moving around. When the 64th Mario came on, Miyamoto said “So, is this Mario 64?”, which was really cool. (^^) It made me laugh without thinking. (^o^)

The Gamecube really is great, though. It was able to display all those Marios, with collision on everything too, and it seemed like no matter what kind of screen effects were used, the CPU wasn’t loaded at all. There was a usage bar on the bottom of the screen that almost never moved beyond about a third full, so I wonder if [memory] cache had a factor in that? It seemed like you could totally separate graphics from the game itself during development, which is very nice. The developers said during the show that the system was created with the goal of easy game creation, which as a developer I think is a great idea. Development became a lot easier with the Dreamcast compared to the Saturn as well. The movies were also really good, with Luigi and Link moving so realistically. Since we deal with character games too I felt like I have to work harder now.

The Gamecube’s media is an eight-cm CD that can hold 1.5GB of data, which I thought was nice, especially considering the piracy problem. I kind of wish they had put it in a cartridge, though. They are Nintendo, after all.

Oh, right, Famitsu.com featured an interview with Miyamoto done during the show, and he was nice enough to compliment Samba de Amigo. Thank you very much, Mr. Miyamoto m(__)m It made me so happy when he said “That’s pretty good” when I met him at E3, too. (^O)

One week later:

Today I was going to go to the Lotus/Elise Racing School to once again receive instruction from Tsuchiya and Iida. As I mentioned in the last racing-school diary entry, though, my car still hasn’t gone out of the repair shop so I couldn’t go. The AC is still installed wrong, and the number-one engine plug blew out, so they had to take apart the entire engine to get at it. And so, while I hope they hurry up and get it fixed, I had to go to the office. It’s really too bad I didn’t make it to the school. (;_;)

Gamewave was scheduled to come in the afternoon to do some shooting in the Sonic Team room, so we hurriedly prepared and tested out Phantasy Star Online (PSO) for them. Ijuin himself was coming too, so everyone seemed really restless and excited.

The offices were a lot noisier than usual with the shooting. I don’t know if people couldn’t work or were just interested, but everyone quit working to look into the conference room the shooting took place in. (^_^;) Ijuin asked me “I’m sure they’re busy but is it OK for them to look?” and I didn’t really know how to respond. Oh well; I figured that something like this is all right once in a while so we continued shooting.

The purpose was to introduce PSO, so we had Ijuin play the game from the beginning. Before you begin you have to go through the character creation process, and I noticed that Ijuin edited his character to make him kind of chubby. (^^) It went really well. Since it’s a net RPG you can have up to eight people gather in realtime in a Visual Lobby, so we had the developers on standby enter the game and explain how things worked while chatting.

Just the eight of us chatting was a lot of fun, but from here four party members were gathered to go on an adventure. We had Ijuin, me, and co-developers Ogawa and Todani form a party. Todani’s the programmer for PSO and he’s a big fan of Ijuin – so much so that he’s gotten a little famous for coming on Ijuin’s shows. So Ijuin said during the recording “Yeah, I know Todani personally a little.” (^^)

We could chat about whatever we wanted during the adventure too, and Ijuin told us “This control setup is really good”, which was good to hear. They recorded us going through a couple of dungeons and beating a dragon, and after an hour or so (which passed by in an instant), recording ended. They shot us for an hour but I’m sure they’ll only show about five minutes. If you want to see how they edit it, they’re planning to air it on the September 13th (Wednesday) showing of GameWave, so try to watch it. You’ll be able to see PSO in action. We’ll really appreciate it if you write us your opinions of what you see, via mail or the Sonic Team BBS. Don’t miss it! (^o^)