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@Whole-Lotta I knew they had a record named after the song, but I did not know the record included a cover version.
"Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I'm not sleepy and there is no place I'm going to
Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning, I'll come following you
Take me on a trip upon your magic swirling ship
My senses have been stripped, my hands can't feel to grip
My toes too numb to step, wait only for my boot heels to be wandering
I'm ready to go anywhere, I'm ready for to fade
Into my own parade, cast your dancing spell my way I promise to go under it"
On "Mr. Tambourine Man", Bob Dylan used all of his song-writing skills to talk about the power music has over us, and how it is capable of enchanting the willing human heart and taking it on a journey to some far away places where there is nothing but the magic of the materialization of the delightfully impossible. Most importantly, though, it sends a message on how any good artist can use his skills to lift up the spirits of his audience, and how art can fill up our souls with life and free ourselves from the shackles of boring reality. Musically, there is not much that can be done with a tambourine in hand, therefore Mr. Tambourine Man does not captivate its followers solely because of his music, but because he is a free spirit who, indifferent to the expectations and rules of the world, manages to live life to its fullest, have fun, and lend a glimpse, to those who are inclined to follow, into a fantastic beautiful land. Maybe it is not our intent to be exactly like him, because that takes too much courage, but just watching him play and simply be for a few minutes, fills our hearts with the happiness of knowing that there is more to life than rowing in favor of the current; that there are always interesting life-changing discoveries to be made somewhere out there.
While it is clearly questionable whether or not gaming deserves the stamp of being an art form, it is an industry that has certainly been blessed with a select number of very brilliant minds, a few of which will do everything in their power to take us to alternative realities that are as far away from earthly grounds as possible. Our Mr. Tambourine Men abominate the hungry chase for reality that is evident in the ever-growing graphical specs. They choose, instead, to capture things and places we have never dreamed of visiting in the form of polygons and code. They want to be outlandish, outrageous and uncanny; and in the middle of that impossibility they want to sculpt something that is believable enough to lift our feet out of the pavement and take us into a journey that, for the short time it lasts, aims to imprint a few unforgettable moments or scenes in our brains. They want to dress our gaming world in fantasy and lead us straight into the past, future or to some timeless island that is afloat somewhere between everywhere and no place at all.
Shigeru Miyamoto is certainly the most prominent figure in that breed of game developers. His and Nintendo's image are so tied up together that it becomes impossible not to talk about one without mentioning the other, they have virtually become the very same entity, and rightfully so, because if Nintendo made its name a powerful brand after becoming a respectable gaming company, Miyamoto, with his Donkey Kong arcade game, was the main brain behind that jump into stardom. If Nintendo is seen as a family-friendly company that produces games for all ages and has enough great recognizable franchises under its belt to build a software and merchandise empire, it is because of Miyamoto's ability to think outside the box without fear of failing or being judged; his insistence in betting in simple but surprising game design, especially in an era where games have grown to be almost as expensive as a Hollywood movie; and his extremely alert mind that is able to capture ideas out of nowhere.
There is a lot that can be said about artists whose works are still widely admired even so long after they have come to life, and in an area where technological advances are made on a daily basis, constantly changing the way the works are perceived and built, that feat is even more impressive. If Nintendo is still able to unleash Mario, Zelda and Donkey Kong into the world, and be praised for it even if over two decades have passed ever since those characters have been introduced to us, it means that, in its lunacy, our Mr. Tambourine Man has infused his games with something that cannot be planned, calculated or constructed; something that only comes to the surface in pieces that are so natural, organic and well-built that their brilliancy becomes clear from any context of time and space, and that is timelessness. Just like the biggest fantasy works directed by Walt Disney or coined by the Brothers Grimm, the children of Miyamoto's work still manage to captivate, whether they are being handled by their creator or by some dedicated disciple that in loving and learning about those franchises has acquired the ability to constantly restore them without causing any damage.
Miyamoto's leadership and influence is so strong that its ripples can be seen all throughout everything Nintendo releases. Mr. Tambourine Man has always been all about thinking differently, rowing against the current and being free to create and build whatever it is that he thinks is right, and Nintendo has adopted that philosophy so strongly that in recent years it has obviously distanced itself from its peers in the market with its two-screen handhelds and consoles with unique control systems; changing the way we play games, instead of simply going with the flow and investing in changing how games look. Miyamoto played his apparently crazy song, Nintendo sat and listened closely to it, and when they chose to fully embrace it, instead of partially accepting it, was the exact point in time when the company reached its full wide-scale potential and transformed the gaming market into something bigger, more light-hearted and more accessible than it has ever been, allowing thousands - probably millions - of people to listen to what Mr. Tambourine Man had to say, and promptly follow him into the Mushroom Kingdom, Hyrule, DK Island and other amazing locations.
Alongside the company, Miyamoto has created somewhat of a "Nintendo difference". The company's games can be recognized in a fast glimpse, whether due to its worldwide famous characters, or simply because whenever Nintendo games are run by one of their machines they emit some sort of fantastic joyous vibe that triggers an identification mechanism in our brains. Just like Disney, a long time ago, turned into a synonymous for family fun, whether in the form of theme parks or great animations; Nintendo has transformed into a dictionary entry whose definition can be summed up as a friendly fun product filled with content to please people from all ages and packing a level of quality that is, more often than not, guaranteed to earn some level of praise even from the most demanding fans or vicious critics. It is hard to pinpoint exactly how fat mustachioed heroes in a land of talking mushrooms, a lazy monkey going after his stolen bananas, a team of intergalactic animals in powerful space ships or armies of ant-like creatures could be so fun, but in his insanity, and in our wish to listen, our Mr. Tambourine Man has guided us there and we have discovered something utterly fascinating.
Ultimately, as awfully clichéd as it sounds, that is what is so special about this team of man and company; in an era where the market is dominated by action shooters, RPG shooters, adventure shooters, sports shooters, party shooters, puzzle shooters and others, Nintendo and Mr. Tambourine Man are absolutely lunatic. They come at us with light-hearted sports games; insane micro-games collections; mind-blowing platformers of plumbers running through space and pink puffballs exploring a world of yarn; a party fighter with four competitors and items that cause hilarious outcomes; racing games that go through scenarios as bizarre as something taken out of Alice in Wonderland; a kingdom constantly threatened by a pig wizard that must be stopped by young boy dressed in some elaborated green pajamas; a town ran by a greedy raccoon and inhabited by goofy animals; a female bounty hunter carrying the weight of the galaxy on her shoulders; a humanoid that controls carrot-like aliens with a whistle and much more.
While the world seems to be concerned with simulating, Mr. Tambourine Man just wants to keep playing his tune. A tune that, by being unharmonized and completely out of tune with everything else that goes around it, catches the eye and lifts the heart.
"Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free
Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands
With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves
Let me forget about today until tomorrow"
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@Whole-Lotta I knew they had a record named after the song, but I did not know the record included a cover version.
Tamborine Man is a song about a user's drug addiction lol. Dylan used double meanings because to sing about subjects like that were taboo back then. Think about the lyrics...
"Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me I'm not sleepy and there is no place I'm going to Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me In the jingle jangle morning, I'll come following you Take me on a trip upon your magic swirling ship My senses have been stripped, my hands can't feel to grip My toes too numb to step, wait only for my boot heels to be wandering I'm ready to go anywhere, I'm ready for to fade Into my own parade, cast your dancing spell my way I promise to go under it"
@Elem3nt You are right about the fact the song has two meanings. I just chose to use the one that would better fit the subject.
Shigeru Miyamoto is one of the FEW men in the gaming industry who made it great since the beginning.
He deserves every honour he can have from us.
An excellent blog...you've summed up the genius of miyamoto and nintendo in a few paragraphs. In practically every console generation, nintendo has managed to innovate, think outside the box, and change the way we play games. Despite many gamers condemning the wii for not catering to the 'hardcore gamer', or many writing off the 3DS as a 'gimmick', I truly believe that the courageous creativity of nintendo is a large part of what sustains this industry.
@tannertehpianis Thanks. And you are right, their courageous creativity is very important in sustaining the industry.
@Foolz3h He has his bad moments (see the way how he treats F-Zero nowadays) but overall he is a great guy.
I initially started reading this because I like the song Mr. Tambourine Man :P. Great blog mate. I've read many of your blogs, and this one easily is the best. You sum up my own views on video games perfectly while also paying homage to the greatest man this industry has, or probably ever will, know. While it has become a rather fashionable thing to criticize Nintendo in recent years, people should always respect the fact that they are the sole reason gaming is as popular as it is today.
Things always change .... One day u ll find even ps and microsoft something from the past .... Just wonder how games gonna be after 15 yrs from now !!!!
Nintendo seems to be the only first-party capable of originallity and creativity since Sega consoles died. Sony and Microsoft are just so uninspired.
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@rad8045 Mario's 30 years old, but still finds ways to reinvent the series. The games you listed are all newer, but feel like they're 30 years old.
@rad8045 I'm an adult dude. Maybe you shouldn't condescend because some people don't see things your way. It seems that you still have some growing up to do.
@rad8045 @SloganYams I don't think it is a matter of being a kid or being an adult. Nintendo games are not simply for children. Saying it like that is limiting their appeal a little bit too much. What they are, however, is family-friendly.
They have a much wider appeal than those games you mentioned, which is neither a good or a bad thing, it is just different. And Nintendo thrives on making use of that difference in their favor. They stand out from the crowd because of that and have a more recognizable signature in gaming than MS and Sony.
It was a poetic blog, and there's no denying that Nintendo has come up with original ideas that last and inspire. But I'm not so sure that Nintendo is really taking great strides to be original anymore. I still believe a large part of that originality died with the Gamecube era. Nintendo is only doing what they have to do now to survive. Nintendo was a pioneer for the industry. They aren't necessarily the future of it.
It's also not really fair to lump all modern games into the categories in which you lumped them. Sure, FPS games are popular, and many of them are immature and repetitive. But the fact that you can sit and categorize each of those specific types of shooters just goes to show that many other types of games have seen their elements mixed with the shooting genre, meaning that maybe FPS games haven't stayed exactly the same all of this time and have mixed things up a bit.
The cover-based game play of Gears of War is to the 1st-person skirmishes of Halo, as the power-up eating game play of Mario Bros. is to the enemy-inhaling game play of Kirby. Platformers aren't the only genre that has evolved.
I'm also willing to bet that if Nintendo had made Halo instead of Bungie, then Nintendo fans would be all about Halo instead of despising it. And they'd praise the games for their fun game play and interesting story. But because FPS games and games with serious stories are something Nintendo really hasn't embraced too well, most Nintendo fans are going to be biased against them.
So in a way, this brand loyalty to Nintendo might actually be hurting gamers. Because gamers are less-willing to embrace anything that isn't made by Nintendo. To me, a lot of Nintendo fans live in a bubble, and ignore everything being made outside of that bubble. Sure, maybe the Wii-U is innovative. That doesn't mean Mario, Zelda and Pokemon is the only option for the future of gaming.
@Ovirew I agree that a lot of Nintendo fans do live in a 'bubble', away from anything other than Nintendo. But it's quite unfair to only categorize Nintendo fans like this. I know a lot of Sony/Microsoft fans who live in the bubbles of those two companies. I know people who are so passionate about the other two companies that they don't play anything else other than their products. And even though they don't play Nintendo games they still pass judgement on them, calling them s**t.I love Nintendo more than anyone else in the industry, but one thing I love more than Nintendo are video games in general. I actually hope that one day blind fanboyism disappears, and all the companies get along with each other. Nobody is forced to like every console, or every company, but I'm getting sick of hearing needless hate from all quarters of the industry.
@widdowson91 @Ovirew I agree completely. A lot of people act as though Nintendo fans are the only ones in a bubble, but really, every console/company has fans within their own bubbles. And objectively speaking, it at the very least seems the Nintendo fans aren't as vindictive (generally speaking). I can't count the number of obscenities, profanities and slurs I see thrown at Nintendo and their fans. I mean, Nintendo fans can get crazy, don't get me wrong, but others seem just as, if not more capable of such fanboyish insanity.
@Ovirew I'm a huge Nintendo fan, and I love Halo (still need to get Halo 4 though).
The thing is, Nintendo may not make new IPs too often, but they do make new ideas. I feel the other consoles have a reverse mindset going on, where they'll get new franchises, but they feel a lot like the old ones.
I'm perfectly willing to embrace games not made by Nintendo, it's just that so little of what constitutes gaming these days captivates me in any meaningful way. There are a few exceptions (like Portal), but I think gaming now has lost a lot of its own identity. So many games always try to capture the "cinematic feel" or just go for the best production values in every last category, but so little of it seems to have any heart these days. Perhaps I've just become a curmudgeon through the years, but I don't like what gaming has become in so many ways.
Nintendo still has the heart. Even when they do make their mistakes, they'll churn out something like a Mario Galaxy that reminds you just what gaming can (and should) be.
@SloganYams @Ovirew Oddly, even though I love the Gamecube, to me Nintendo became much more innovative after the system. The DS, the Wii and the Wii U are huge in terms of changing how we play games, which is much more significant than the impressive steps they have taken with some of their franchises.
I would say that, lately, they have been taking huge strides.
@Lord_Python1049 It is a great song, by a great artist and it is on a great album. What more can one ask for?!
Really enjoyed reading that! Game developers do seem to focus on simulating rather than fantasising. I would definitely say games have the capacity to be considered as art forms! If a game can evoke emotion, just as music and paintings do, then what other requirement does it need to fill? It's my opinion, but I define art as a creation that triggers an emotional response. Give or take a few exceptions. I won't give any examples because too many people will disagree! lol Great blog :)
@SteelPenguin90 You make a great point. I guess one of the reasons it is hard to say for sure that gaming is art is how many different definitions and connotations that word can have. But based in your view of the subject, gaming certainly qualifies.
excellent blog, Miyamoto and Nintendo are so succesfully precisely because of how unique and brilliant the games they develop are
@pigfish2 Exactly! They do not release as many new IPs as other companies do. But the few franchises that they have under their belt are all quite unique and impressive.