“Games Are All About Actions and Reactions”- Nintendo Mastermind Speaks on the Significance of Player and Gaming System’s Intercommunication

Published 05/09/2023, 1:40 PM EDT

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Masahiro Sakurai is back with another video on game design. This Nintendo legend has been consistently making clips on game development to help budding developers. Recently, he hit a personal milestone when he uploaded his hundredth video on the channel.

His hundredth clip talked about the secrets of developing the original Kirby. In the latest video, the mind behind Super Smash Bros. also shared a secret. The latter confers to a very minute detail often overlooked by fans and developers.

Nintendo mastermind shares an important secret of game design


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Sakurai revealed that developers often overlook dual key-mapping of controls. He said a game controller has almost a dozen keys. Rather than leaving all these buttons unresponsive, developers should try dual key mapping. This means having more than one button to perform a single task.


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Even with simple tasks like start and exit, doubling down on keys doesn’t hurt. Sakurai said, “It’s better to have buttons do something as opposed to nothing at all.” He shared glimpses of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and showed how the game didn’t leave any keys empty.

But he said that it does not mean over-mapping of keys. It should be done in such a manner that players feel the game is still responsive.

Sakurai urges games to not be unresponsive

Sharing the psychology of playing games, he said players and the game both send information to each other. If either one lacks in responding, it makes the game feel unplayable. As for cutscenes, he said giving players any kind of response while pressing a button is essential else the title might feel unresponsive. The dual-mapping of keys gives the illusion to players that the game is always responding and ready for their input.


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He shared a tip for mapping keys and said: “It’s also good to avoid ambiguous responses that don’t clearly show whether a button was pressed.” However, he said there are some downsides as well to dual key-mapping. Players have to test out a much bigger amount of keys to know what key do what.

While concluding the video, Sakurai said: ” I’m not saying that a lack of response is always a bad thing, but games are all about actions and reactions, and it’s worth keeping this point in mind.”


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Do you agree with Sakurai’s views on dual key-mapping of games? Let us know in the comments down below.


Written by:

Ajitesh Rawat


One take at a time

Ajitesh Rawat is an up-and-coming eSports writer at EssentiallySports. An avid gamer himself, Ajitesh grew up just like the majority of the gamers out there by simply falling in love with Need for Speed and Grand Theft Auto. He likes to dive into these vast imaginative worlds and experience the fun himself.
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