Netflix’s upcoming documentary about video games, High Score, releases on Aug. 19. (Check out our review!) The final episode covers, among other things, the beginning of the relationship between Nintendo and Argonaut Software and how that culminated in the development of Star Fox for Super Nintendo. Former Argonaut developers Dylan Cuthbert and Giles Goddard speak about how that meant moving to Japan to develop Star Fox right there in a Nintendo office — and how legendary designer Shigeru Miyamoto was constantly smoking cigarettes in their work space.
Shigeru Miyamoto smoked and talked about trees
“They never had anybody outside Nintendo working in the building,” explained Goddard. “They actually made a separate office for us in one room on our own, basically segregated out.”
“The only place in the office where they allowed Miyamoto to smoke was in the place, the area where we were,” said Cuthbert. “He’d light up behind us and he’s, like, smoking away. And we’re, like, programming away and we’re like, ‘Oh, is he back again?’ So we’d be trying to implement something quite interesting, and then he just starts talking about trees or something, or, you know, just something completely out there. But we realized after a while that that’s actually the reason why he’s so much a creative genius. It’s because his brain is kind of thinking about all these different things at the same time.”
It’s quite kind and insightful of Cuthbert to take a conversation about Shigeru Miyamoto literally blowing smoke in their office and turn it into an opportunity to compliment the man. That’s a real class act.
Incidentally, this isn’t the first time Argonaut has ever mentioned that Miyamoto smoked, but it is the first time developers have gone into real depth about it. However, if you’re wondering, Miyamoto “decided to give up cigarettes and pachinko and get in shape” when he turned 40, according to The New Yorker. So between that and the stellar reception of Star Fox, it’s a happy ending all around!