Shigeru Miyamoto praises Rovio’s Angry Birds

Shigeru Miyamoto isn’t just a legendary game designer; he’s also a humble, classy dude. Even though he’s the property of Nintendo, Miyamoto’s not afraid to talk about outside games that he loves and admires. During a recent interview that was conducted in Paris, he said that he holds affection for Angry Birds, one of the most popular games on iOS.

When Miyamoto was asked about his favorite non-Nintendo games over the past year, he stated, “What I like about Angry Birds is that it has a traditional videogame [feel] to it, but also a very creative side. And you can really feel that they’re having fun developing the game. That’s what I like about it.”

Miyamoto admitted that he doesn’t have a lot of time to play smartphone games, but he still has a good deal of insight on the emerging market. “I check up on [smartphone games] sometimes, but I don’t have a lot of time,” he said. “I think we also have a history of having certain fun ideas and making a game out of it, and there’s lots of other people also doing this [now].

“This kind of environment inspires us to try even harder, and create even more unexpected new things.”

Nintendo has not been shy about admitting that it sees Apple as a threat—a bigger threat, even, than Microsoft and even Sony, whose Vita is in direct competition with the Nintendo 3DS. Naturally, when two companies are at war (even a cold war), both sides are likelier to pooh-pooh the others’ products instead of acknowledging any hard work or good ideas that went into them. Nintendo has made comments in the past about iOS games being “disposable,” and Steve Jobs wasn’t exactly full of nice things to say about the House of M[ario].

So it’s nice to see one of the world’s premiere game designers stand up and say, “Angry Birds may not be a Nintendo game, but it’s well-designed, and I enjoy playing it.”

It’s heartening to see that Miyamoto still values fun and well-designed games above the bluster, big talk, and marketing that is inevitably paired with console wars.

And he’s absolutely right: competition from Apple is keeping Nintendo on its toes, particularly as a hard reminder that digital distribution isn’t going to go away. This is a very good thing for the 3DS in particular, which actually has a halfway decent online shop thanks to pressure from the App Store.

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