Sega Chief Creative Officer Toshihiro Nagoshi recently talked to Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu. They discussed the time in which Sega backed out of the hardware industry to become exclusively a software developer. Siliconera has provided a translation of some highlights, including amusing anecdotes about how Nagoshi created Super Monkey Ball.
When Sega shifted fully into software development, Nagoshi suddenly became interested in making a game for Nintendo, since he had been working mostly in arcade games up till then. He wanted to make something family-friendly that fit Nintendo’s image, so he settled on the eclectic idea of Super Monkey Ball. However, things took an unexpected turn upon the game’s release, as Nagoshi explains it:
Personally, I wanted to gain experience by making Super Monkey Ball. But then it didn’t sell locally. I thought, “Now we’ve done it”, but then it took off overseas. Still, honestly I don’t know why it sold well. In the midst of that, Sega’s president called and praised me, saying, “You really took the overseas market into account!”, and of course, I said yes. (laughs)
Yep, you could say it was a beautiful case of serendipity for Toshihiro Nagoshi and Super Monkey Ball. Or more accurately, you could say Nagoshi simply trusted his instincts to great effect. It’s pretty obvious he’s an extremely talented guy.
One more interesting thing about the interview is that Nagoshi was surprised to learn Nintendo and Sega had “completely different” corporate philosophies. He doesn’t go into deep detail about it, but he thought in retrospect that it was “no wonder Sega wasn’t able to beat them on hardware.” However, he also jokes that, had he worked for Nintendo instead of Sega, he might have left the video game industry a long time ago!
How many Super Monkey Ball games have you played? And do you think it would have been different as a first-party Nintendo title?