The Great Nintendo DS School Invasion
Could Nintendo's Mario and Luigi be headed for blackboards and pop-top desks after decades battling bob-ombs, chain chomps, hammer bros, and koopa troopas? Mario creator and Nintendo R&D guru Shigeru Miyamoto certainly hopes so.
Speaking to The Associate Press ahead of today's London-based British Academy Video Games Awards, where he'll receive a special award, Miyamoto admitted turning consoles into teaching tools is "maybe the area where I am devoting myself (the) most."
Miyamoto can lay claim to some of video gaming's greatest franchises. Donkey Kong. Mario Bros. Zelda. Kid Icarus. F-Zero. Pilotwings. Wave Race. Star Fox. Pikmin. Metroid Prime. If you're one of the over 30 million Wii owners in the US, you also know him for recent hits like Super Mario Galaxy, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Mario Kart Wii, and New Super Mario Bros.
Add education-related gaming to his resume, if he has his druthers, courtesy the Nintendo DS. Miyamoto says he wants to convert Nintendo's bestselling portable gaming device into an educational aid, and pronto. The DS is already used in Japanese public venues like museums and aquariums, he says, adding that Nintendo will begin rolling out the DS in Japanese junior high and elementary schools in the coming school year.
It'll be interesting to see where any of this goes, stateside. Video games theorist and Georgia Tech professor Ian Bogost just typed up an op-ed decrying the lack of substantive connectors between government-endorsed gaming and the actual merits of said games. Nintendo isn't the US government, but--rose-tinted love-glasses for Miyamoto and all he is and represents snatched off for a moment--it's certainly just as susceptible to government influence.
After all, it's already happened in the UK.
Follow us on Twitter (@game_on)