Page 1 — The First Foreign Employee of Nintendo
Page 2 — Working on the N64
Page 3 — Snowboarding in 64 Bits
Page 4 — N64DD, Doshin and Prototypes
Page 5 — Rock n’ Roll Wii and VR
Page 6 — Undersea Adventures on the 3DS and Smash
Page 7 — Bringing Tanks Online and Missed Opportunities
Page 8 — The Future of Vitei
Page 9 — Giles, The Enabler
Page 10 — The Future of Vitei and VR
Page 3 — Snowboarding in 64 Bits
You worked as the main programmer in 1080 Snowboarding. Also, you voiced, Ricky Winterborn, right?
Yeah, that is correct. I forgot about that until you mentioned that.
What was that like, working on 1080?
I really loved it, as it was my game, kind of thing. Programming-wise, it was my system kind of running the whole thing. So it was really good, seeing that put into the actual game. We did the whole game in nine months, which was a really ridiculously short amount of time. So it was really nice and compact.
How did the Panda character make its way into the game?
I have no idea…. The artist, he really liked Pandas.
[laughs] Ah, okay! There’s also a snow Yeti, or something, is that correct?
There’s a metallic guy. He’s only in there because we wanted to show off the N64’s environment mapping.
I remember playing 1080 and being really impressed with the snow at the time.
The snow effects were done by Colin Reed, who was the other programmer.
Were you inspired by any other sports titles at the time?
No, because there weren’t any. There definitely weren’t any snowboarding games. There wasn’t much in the way of winter games. So there wasn’t much to be inspired about. That’s why it probably looked so realistic. At the time, it was the only reference besides actual photos.
Did Nintendo assign you to that game, or was that something you or an artist came up with?
Miyamoto said, “why don’t we make a ski game?”, or something like that. I was working on inverse kinematics animations at the time…basically IK is like a way of doing animations, that is natural. Do you know ragdolls?
It’s like that. So I had this guy standing on skis, going down a mountain with his arms flinging…it looked really ridiculous. [laughs]. Around that time, snowboarding was starting to take off, you know, start to get popular…
Was it the X-Games era, or before?
No, it was before. It was just a sport people were starting to get into. I was also getting into it. It was my second season or something like that. So it was changed into snowboarding. Also, snowboarding is good because you can do a lot of tricks.
The trick system was great.
That was the main part of the gameplay. The tricks.
Trying to rack up the points, and trying to get to the end of the course.
That’s where we came up with the name. Why not have, at the time, one of the most difficult tricks to do, the 1080. Now it’s a quite easy trick to do.
1080 was before the Tony Hawk games, I think. But were you inspired by Tony Hawk himself?
No, not really. The skating/ snowboarding thing…there never seemed like there would be an overlap there. I think snowboarding came more from the ski culture. I think they overlapped though.
With the trick system?
Yeah with everything, really. Snowboarding originally comes from skis, where they said “why don’t we have a wide ski, and put one leg in front of each other. Eventually they got wider and wider until snowboards came out.
Were you inspired by any places in Japan where you might’ve snowboarded?
Maybe Hokkaido. I think Japan has some of the best snowboarding mountains in the world. Certainly the most in the smallest area.
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