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Famicom Disk System:
The More You Play It, the More You'll Want to Play! [Disk 1]
IS IT OK FOR DESIGNERS TO NOT UNDERSTAND HARDWARE?
When Metroid came out, I recall people were greatly confused by the map.
Sakamoto: Although different staff was in charge of the map, it was attacked by everyone with reckless abandon. They would say such things as, "This isn't interesting!" or, "Players won't understand it!" Because of that, the opinion of part of the development staff was that we should rebuild the whole thing. Moreover, regarding Samus' running, although they truly felt Samus should be made to run even faster, if it were done that way, she would immediately arrive at the edge of a platform. Nevertheless, if at all possible, we wanted to make Samus run faster, and so the map became more expansive.
Sakamoto: In those days, you would often hear, "How many hours did you play this game?" Because "sense of volume" equaled "a good game", naturally, the map would also become larger.
Is that so! (Laughs)
Sakamoto: For example, when Samus drops down from a high place, the screen also falls, and in those days, it was pretty much always from very high up. However, sometimes the processor couldn't keep up, and gray bars would appear. While they were falling, people would say, "Huh? Now there's something gray." (Laughs) The processor couldn't keep up.
Kiyotake: In those days, it was related to the scroll rate, so in this case, I think the image had completely changed. Maybe the technology couldn't keep up. In truth, although we even came to draw too many character animation frames and had to greatly reduce them, although it isn't a flip book, the middle frames were left out, so in reality...
The movement separated more smoothly.
Kiyotake: The movement was softer.
Sakamoto: At one part of development when I was a working manager, Mr. Yokoi (Gumpei Yokoi, deceased) told me, "Designers don't have to understand technical things." Therefore, Kiyotake said, "We can do anything with the Disk System!" Having swallowed that [story], that was the correct meaning. "I think we can do anything," was what he [Yokoi] would say.
Mr. Yokoi said that...
Sakamoto: So in reality, there were many designers who didn't know about hardware who made completely new games. Moreover, they would say, "Disks use one megabit," and although they believed they wouldn't need all of it, that is, the storage capacity of one disk and process the data read into the Disk System RAM adapter one time, to tell the truth, things were really no different from that of the Famicom cartridges of those days. As for us, whether we could do hardware-related things or not, if we didn't understand it, the result was we could make software without being conscious of the hardware's great restrictions.
When Mr. Yokoi issued those directions from the beginning, you were making games while not understanding the limitations of the hardware. He was worried that your expression would become limited.