Zentendo had the opportunity to speak with Takahashi Meijin, known in America as Master Higgins, the Executive at Hudson and spokesperson for the company. He is known for his ability to hit a button 16 times in a single second earning him the nickname, 16Shot. He was also the man that the protagonist in Adventure Island was based upon. Master Higgins is currently in America, his first time in the past twenty years, to make an appearance in San Jose, California for a Deca Sports competition. Also present at this meeting was Director of Marketing at Hudson, Mike Pepe. Before the floor was open to live questions there were some questions that were emailed that Master Higgins answered first.
Press: What do you think of the innovations of the Wii?
Master Higgins: The new features of the Wii controller allows for new ideas for games. It is a wonderful thing for developing games, more possibilities and more to work with. However, because there are more buttons available and features, developers will feel pressured or forced to use all the buttons to work with a game. I want the developers to be aware of how the buttons work, what they are good for, and what type of game the controller is made for. I am excited for the development for new games.
Press: Do you see the Wii as a stepping stone for a future innovative Nintendo system or will it be like the glory days of the Super Nintendo and will be around for many years before the next system?
Master Higgins: The Wii is here to stay and certainly has innovation and staying powers like the Super Nintendo. Because the Wii was the first console to introduce the idea of a wireless remote controller, it shifted the whole industry. Because it was an innovator back then, I feel it has staying power. But I think it's really a matter of Nintendo staying on top of their game and that they make the controller as accurate as possible. The system still has room to improve so that the characters and the games reflect the action of the player. But there is improvement room. In terms of graphics, on one hand the Wii's graphics aren't the most advanced in the industry, however if the game is really fun to play or not doesn't depend on the graphics. It is better to have simpler graphics so that one is enjoying the games and not the graphics.
Press: Does Hudson have any serious plans to release a Wii or DS Adventure Island title?
Master Higgins: Yes, there are plans for a new Adventure Island which will probably be available through WiiWare, but we haven't decided the fine points of the plan. Nothing is on paper, but we are working towards it.
Press: With games like Super Paper Mario and the recently announced Wario Land: The Shake Dimension, both 2D-type platformers for the Wii, what new opportunities would the Wii's control system provide for a classic franchise like Adventure Island?
Master Higgins: It certainly provides opportunities for Adventure Island and it is available through the Virtual Console, but if it is revamped and made available through WiiWare I want to make sure that the controls aren't forced into the game and that the movement isn't going to change what the game is about. If it is going to be revamped for WiiWare, it won't be threatened by the uniqueness of the Wii Remote Control. Although I want it to be available on the Wii.
Press: Looking to the future do you think gaming will shift to the casual gaming experience or will it consist of gamers who stay up all night and play Zelda?
Master Higgins: There will always be a hardcore gamer market and there will always be a casual gaming gamers who game with their family. The casual family gamers types have immersed as the success for Wii and the ability how easy it is to sell to them. But maybe the divide between those tow groups will become more extreme because the types of games they like will be more different. Because the Wii remote provides a unique opportunity to look at the player and the motion it is no longer players sitting still, only their fingers moving, now it involves everyone watching in the same area. The room for the kinds of enjoyment for casual gaming will expand because of this.
Press: Who does you think is doing the best job at not making developers feel like they must use every button on a controller and are making good games right now?
Master Higgins: I love the game Kororinta by Hudson. It is the kind of game where there is a small piece of wood and a ball in the middle. You balance the Wii Remote and get the ball into an open slot. The uniqueness of the motion sensitivity of the Wii Remote makes it the best example.
Press: Is there anything you want to say before we open this up for questions?
Master Higgins: I have a motto, play a video game for an hour everyday; no more or less. What I mean by that is that kids out there shouldn't have video games as their only means of entertainment and become anti-social. Kids should go out there and play and be physical. I want to make sure that video games are apart of the big picture of what it means to be a part of a kid. I do not want to be seen as a video game master, but an ambassador between things that are playful and fun for little kids and kids at heart.
Press: You mentioned the planning of Adventure Island game for WiiWare, how far along is the planning for that?
Master Higgins: It's still in the really early planning stage. There isn't much I can say, but we are really working for making this happen.
Zentendo: Star Soldier R just came out for WiiWare, which was enjoyed here in North America, is there a plan to continue the franchise on the Wii or the DS?
Master Higgins: Basically, we decided on a two minute round and five minute round because back in 1985 on the Caravan tour for Star Soldier, the preliminary round was two minutes and the tournament was five minutes so the time limit was decided by that event. The basis of the game was about how much you can score in a very small amount of time. We felt like if there is a demand out there to want to compete on how much you can score in a longer amount of time then we will consider developing Wii game.
Mike Pepe: I don't think we have anything slotted for this year. I can tell you that much, but the year ends in March. I can't talk beyond March.
Press: This is in relationship to the comment about playing your game one hour a day, not letting it be the main thing that kids do. Is tournament gaming as we know it, this professional gaming where people spend hours perfecting, just so that they can make money, is that sending a bad message about what gaming is about to be?
Master Higgins: I want to make sure that message is towards kids in kindergarten or elementary school age range because I think that is when kids should be kids, go outside, be rough and experience what life has to offer. So that message is not meant for everyone; it is for kids who cannot make that kind of decision. In regards to those who professional gamers, those people are old enough to make their own decision. But when they are depicting themselves, those that are successful with the money and games and a little child sees that, that is a problem. They have to know what gaming is about; a form of entertainment. I have nothing negative to say about the professional league of gamers, but they have a social responsibility to portray themselves and what they do in a good way and that they are a spokesman and say that video games aren't everything. If you are going to be a professional gamer and perform at a tournament in order for you to achieve this persona it is best not to be outspoken about how much you practice without sleep, and all you do is play games, because it puts a negative image out there about what you have to do to get where you are at. But if you are trying to be that, that is fine, practice all you want, but don't make how much time you practice obvious.