At Spaceworld 2001, Satoru Iwata made the following remark regarding Nintendo's kid-friendly approach to games, and the criticism thereof:
Next up was Satoru Iwata, who explained that the company's strategy for the future would continue to emphasize the younger set. Defending this position, he said that "This criticism has always confused us for a couple of reasons. First, youngsters are the people with the most time to play the games, and often the most passionate. The fact is that Nintendo is the only manufacturer who seriously targets this market. Second, young people are important for another reason. They are the purest and truest indicator of game quality."
Full Story (from the GIA)
This reminds me of something I saw one day at Kicks. There was a new Dreamcast game out called Heavy Metal, and it was turned on at the testing area. Heavy Metal is an exceedingly bad game that thinks it compensates for this with "style". In this case, "style" refers to a lot of poorly rendered bikers in poorly-animated slow motion rolls and ducks, showing off their attitude by smashing the "camera" to some very bad "Heavy Metal" "music" - about five "notes" of it. The "gameplay" consists of hitting a button a lot and watching some piss-poor "gun model" fire off a shot and maybe hit the enemy. Whoever runs out of life first loses. A very, very pathetic game.
So these two kids come into the store and one of them goes over to the Dreamcast, presumably lured by the strains of very bad "guitar" synth. He starts playing the game. And what's the first thing he says about it? "Hey, [insert name of other kid here]! Dude, you gotsta play this! It's HELLA tight! It's, like, the best game ever made!" I thought he was being sarcastic until ten minutes later, when he was still playing.
This brings me to the realization that saying children are the truest and purest indicator of a game's quality is like saying that a nine-year-old is the best judge of a wine's quality. You could give the average nine-year-old a can of "Orange Ass Soda" and he'd happily drink it. Kids will eat, drink, watch, or play ANYTHING. This is the reason for Pokemon's success.
I have a great deal of respect for the creative minds at Nintendo, particularly Shigeru Miyamoto and the late Gumpei Yokoi, and am always happy to hear Shirou Yamauchi's ravings. That said, I think Iwata's comments at Spaceworld 2001 are the most moronic thing I've heard since the X-Box was announced. Perhaps the man is better suited to making photocopies for Shigeru Miyamoto than making speeches in defense of his old-school Zelda design.
Maybe instead of making insulting statements about their earliest customers in order to laud Pokemon as the greatest game ever made (since, after all, it's what is played by the purest and truest indicators of gaming excellence!), Nintendo should worry about satisfying the hordes of people who are reacting to Miyamoto's Zelda design with such baffling hatred and bile.