Chris Padilla/Blog / Notes

Creative Insights from Miyamoto and Game Composers

Dave Rupert shared last year this amazing resource of translated video game magazines — Schmuplations.

Dave's post highlights some great connections between game development and Miyamoto's advice for success in the game industry. I did more digging and also enjoyed this Miyamoto quote from the same article:

What advice do you have for aspiring game designers?

No matter what your creative field, you should try to find a job that offers you many chances to realize own potential.

Before that, though, I think it’s important to refine your own sensibilities. 10 years from now, games will have changed. It won’t just be the same style of games you see today. If all you do is mimic what exists now, it will be difficult for you to create anything in the future.

I know it’s a cliche, but I think aspiring designers should follow where their curiosity leads, and try to accumulate as many different experiences as possible.

Another vote for following curiosity. Video games were (and still are?!) a young medium, so it's practically a necessity to be looking outside of games for inspiration from the world. There's simply more out there.

I'm excited to keep digging through the crates on this site! Here are a few more of my favorite snippets, this time from Beep Magazine's Game Music Round Table Interview:

What’s the secret to success in the game industry?

I hope this doesn’t come off wrong, but I don’t really remember trying super hard. One day I looked up and noticed things were going pretty well. Of course, I’ve been very blessed to have talented people and teachers around me. So I would probably have to say I didn’t really try super hard to get where I am… it just happened naturally.

A vote for effortlessness. It's what's easy and natural that we end up excelling at, and so, opportunities open. A nice counter to the notion that all that's worthwhile is on the other side of hard work alone.

A couple more on breaking into games. I don't ultimately see myself in games, but it's fun to see how musicians made it in way back when!

What advice do you have for aspiring game designers?

At present there are two in-roads to working in game music. The first is to join a game development company. For that it’s helpful to go to a 4-year college, and all the better if it’s a music school. The other way would be to gain some notoriety as a composer first, perhaps in a rock band or something, but basically if you can build a reputation in the music industry as a player, composer, or arranger, you might end up getting commissioned for this sort of work. Whichever path you choose, having that can-do spirit of “I want to write music no matter what!!” is important. If you can carry that passion with you wherever you go, and sustain it, I think nothing will serve you better.

Just an interesting perspective that still feels true. Though, in the indie world these days, it helps to have another skill to bring to the table: art, development, story writing, etc.

Here's that counter point from Mieko Ishikawa, composer for the Ys series:

For those who want to write video game music, I think knowing a bit of computer programming is a big advantage. There’s lots of people out there who can write songs, but if that’s your only talent, I think it will be rough-going in this industry.

Seems like good advice for creative work in general. Go all in on trying to make it on your art alone, and then pick up auxiliary skills to sustain your creative work.