Katsuhiro Harada bar episode 2 Masahiro Sakurai desire to quit or retire, approach to game design like Meteos, cannot drink alcohol, likes Mercedes S-Series car driving Harada's Bar

In last week’s episode of Harada’s Bar, we learned a lot of random things about game designer Masahiro Sakurai, such as that water makes him sick and horror games do not scare him whatsoever. Now, episode 2 of the bar conversation between Masahiro Sakurai and Katsuhiro Harada has dropped, touching upon more random topics like Sakurai’s in-depth thoughts on cars and driving, but it also notably touches upon the topic of retirement and the desire to quit or retire from game development.

Cars, alcohol, and earthquakes

While some might think based on his career and his Famitsu column that Sakurai spends all of his free time playing video games, he explained that he actually spends most of his free time driving. Sakurai has two cars, one for daily use and one for “fun.” The fun one is currently an S-Class Mercedes, and Harada also owns one. Car discussion surprisingly stretches on for about 10 minutes.

After that, Sakurai revealed that he can’t drink alcohol because even just a little bit makes him dizzy. (Between that and water, Harada may have some odd intestinal issues.) Sakurai also randomly described what it was like living through the 2011 Tohoku earthquake in his 15th floor office, saying he saw the building next to his wobble back and forth in a surreal fashion. (The wobbling was part of a “quake-absorbing structure” though.) “I couldn’t believe the scene of our building swaying like a ship,” he said.

Masahiro Sakurai on the desire to quit or retire, and his approach to game design

Finally, the topics of the difficulty of game design and the desire to quit or retire were broached, and Masahiro Sakurai had plenty to say on the subject. He began, “Making games is really tough. I can’t count how many times I’ve thought that I want to quit.” He also added that “basically, games are just more fun to play than make, guys.” In part, it is because “Even if you work really hard on making (a game), sometimes you get picked on, things don’t go well, and there are many setbacks that can happen.” Such stress could result in “cutting your own life short to make games.” However, Sakurai concluded with a positive spin, saying, “In this way, I don’t think I can choose when I’ll retire myself. However, I also think I should work as long as I can,” and later added that “(if) there’s demand, you can keep doing it forever. That’s what I think.”

The last notable subject of discussion was how Sakurai approaches game design, about which he explained, “I make a plan to overcome a problem I have at the time. For example, when I made a puzzle game I analyzed what makes falling block puzzle games fun. And then I thought about if you could replace erasing blocks with something, I thought it’d be fun if you shoot them up, and that’s how I came up with Meteos.” He said he is not a “genius type” who can just intuit his way to a great game. Rather, he explained, “I happened to focus on each genre, but that was just a coincidence. There should be a purpose or target you should aim for and think really hard about how you can get there. That’s what’s important. Games I made are a result of repeating that carefully.”

So, now you know where Masahiro Sakurai stands on retirement, game design, and alcohol tolerance. Come back next week for Harada’s Bar episode 3!


John Friscia
Head Copy Editor for Enthusiast Gaming, Managing Editor at The Escapist. I'm a writer who loves Super Nintendo and Japanese role-playing games to an impractical degree. I really miss living in South Korea. And I'm developing the game Boss Saga!

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