The following is a translated digital print of an interview conducted on Nintendo of Japan's official website under the Nintendo Online Magazine banner. This interview has been translated from its original Japanese language to English by Kyoto Report. We also include the original Japanese document alongside; August 2007, Issue# 109 . This interview features Kazunobu Shimizu, Hirotaka Uemura, Takuro Ito, and Noriko Akita from the Network Business Department of Nintendo Company Limited. While the name is misleading, this section of R&D deals with mechanical creations, game creation, and network applications. In this interview, the development staff discusses the creation of Slide Adventure: MagKid.
Kyoto Report - Translation - Nintendo Online Magazine Vol. 109: Slide Adventure: MagKid
Q: First, how did this project come about? What were your roles?
Hirotaka Uemura: I was involved in developing the prototype and supervising how the slide controller was incorporated into the software creation. It was a lengthy process including several steps before completing a basic design, and several testing programs for the peripheral.
Kazunobu Shimizu: I was responsible for the planning of the game software.
Takuro Ito: My role was designing the controller board located nn the slide. I was also responsible for selecting board parts and components.
Noriko Akita: I was responsible for the mechanical design of the slide controller. You can say that there were two types of design teams, a design team focused on the appearance and friendliness of the slide controller, and another design team focused more on the function and ergonomics of the slide controller.
Q: So what exactly is the slide controller and how was it created?
Hirotaka Uemura: When the design concept and early builds of the slide controller were created, the Nintendo DS was not yet conceptualized. Instead the original prototype was being built for the GBA SP.
Noriko Akita: The precision of the device was prototyped in terms of providing the functions of a commercial computer mouse. Creating a different type of control mechanic.
Hirotaka Uemura: Our department at Nintendo was trying to conceive the elements of a traditional console game with a new style. We were working on various experiments at the time, like Pokemotion, which was another internal project inside our office.
Kazunobu Shimizu: WarioWare: Twisted! used the tilt cartridge that was pioneered my members of this same department. I wasn't involved in that original project, so it was very interesting to design a game with a similar ground-breaking technology.
Noriko Akita: Our department is always coming up with different ideas.
Q: I see the features really stand out. It is a bit strange.
Hirotaka Uemura: If such a structure is a tandem fiber, it comes to the surface of the ore and stands out the bottom of the stone design. This is a strange feeling, but we expect to represent the finished result on the handheld with this slide controller.
Kazunobu Shimizu: And when Mr. Uemura showed me the prototype of the slide controller, it included the beta of a test program called "Goldfish".
Hirotaka Uemura: The final software contains mini-games based around it. This test program was how we demonstrated it around our office to try and green light a retail release.
Kazunobu Shimizu: When Mr. Uemura brought "Goldfish" for me to play with, my mind found it vivid, i feel like i was actually moving the goldfish. It created a virtual fish tank.
Hirotaka Uemura: Originally we were emulating the movement of a PC mouse, the screen is stuck at the mouse itself.
Kazunobu Shimizu: For example, when you move the mouse on a PC, they look toward the mouse cursor on the screen that \you are moving. By itself, the screen with the mouse, it moves to link the movement of the mouse and screen. The sense of unity to the movement, gives birth like found in the real world and virtual world movement, giving a sense of reality into the virtual world that is connected to a sense with an intuitive feeling. The Nintendo DS and slide controller really deliver the sensation of free movement in an alternate world.
Hirotaka Uemura: The moment I experienced Shimizu's enthusiasm, I knew we were on to something.
Kazunobu Shimizu: Basically, from the "Goldfish" demo, I began planning the concept of MagKid.
Q: What specific circumstances decided the theme of this game?
Kazunobu Shimizu: I was influenced by many childhood experiences. I converged the concept of the slide controller with an experience I came to remember when I was playing with magnets as a child. My favorite thing as a child were magnets, not toy trains. No matter where the location, or what other kids were doing, that was always my preference.
Hirotaka Uemura: From there the project was taken over by Mr. Shimizu.
Kazunobu Shimizu: I think my projects vary from concept to concept. I don't think i've been excited over the possibilites from a hardware since the Virtual Boy. I was just reacting to something I found very intriguing.
Q: The idea to recreate an optical mouse in such a manner is amazing.
Horitaka Uemura: I had to try it out first on a ball type mouse. But when the point of becoming a bottleneck in terms of the size of the ball design had shifted to optical mouse, we could use it in ways different than just like pushing an object into a wall.
Takuro Ito: The perspective of design thought on the slide controller was that a fixed amount of power was used by a recognized body, unlike the optical mouse for PC. The Nintendo DS is a portable game machine, could in sense be manipulated by more components of movement emitted by the persons actions.
Hirotaka Uemura: The optical mouse has a track pointer movement to see itself in the floor pattern. The patterns match, but I found we could use a pattern shift. You can move it where you stand.
Kazunobu Shimizu: "there is no difference in pattern, not moving at all", but that type of motion would be misunderstood by an optical mouse.
Takuro Ito: In order to play anywhere you need to increase the sensitivity of the mouse. One way to increase the sensitivity, is to boost the brightness of light emitting diodes, power consumption would then increase. Various components were tested to balance it.
Noriko Akita: Based on selected components and circuit design from Mr. Ito, we balanced the controller board inside the slide mechanism responsible for the charge of the circuit.
Takuro Ito: The story becomes a bit complex, and production of electronic components from a recent issue of technology has become mainstream on the surface of the substrate to solder surface mount components called DIP. But the heart of the sensor to slide the controller board soldering Dip in melted solder partly because it was using a method called DIP solder electronic components.
Noriko Akita: A sliding controller design is invisible compared to the optical mouse. Inidividually each component of the slide controller is just a little small piece, but the number had more than usual shape of the parts to make now. The end result of the combined small parts created a combined joiht that isn't noticed outside of the Nintendo DS.
Hirotaka Uemura: Let me tell you, the original prototypes made me very nervous because of how bizarre they were perceived.
Kazunobu Shimizu: Well, it was complex.
Noriko Akita: While we had firmly in mind the features of the unit, the design was always being worked on.
Q: Explain the Nintendo DS process?
Noriko Akita: Initially we found the screen dark. We tested the degrees of a good viewing inclination. Starting from 10 degrees 05 degrees, say 15 degrees and put the slope to a fixed angle of 23 degrees today.
Q: The angle was satisfactory?
Noriko Akita: The Nintendo DS provided more room for the player's hands to wrap around the machine. This allowed us more leg room for the design of the slide controller.
Kazunobu Shimizu: It is never easy making a new game out of a new peripheral.
Q: This is a new type of action game.
Kazunobu Shimizu: The operation is put at odds with intuition, I just concentrated on the slide operation. Such operations can not be immersed in a world behind the observation window when not needed. In the development phase A stuck button, B is the issue that off button, move the controller and slide would do it MAGKID denied the fundamental idea of his trying to make they will be.
Hirotaka Uemura: I tried the stylus on the way operations were incorporated, and the end result was not as fluid.
Kazunobu Shimizu: This game focuses on a sense of imagination and magnetic attachment. I really love the blend of action and puzzle.
Q: Thank you. Any final words?
Noriko Akita: This product took a lot of work from the members you are hearing from today. All of Nintendo's products have a high mark of quality, and require lots of effort to be released in to the hands of the consumer.
Takuro Ito: As the designer of the optical mouse sensor, I welcome you to experience this unique feeling.
Hirotaka Uemura: I think the characters movement with the screen control movement will really create a fresh experience for the player.
Kazunobu Shimizu: I think the play mechanics we are introducing are definitely exciting to the player. I also believe the game is fun and challenging and would dearly recommend it young children especially because it can serve as an educational toy.