The Smash Bros Creator YouTube Channel is a Game Design Goldmine
Japanese game director Masahiro Sakurai (the mastermind behind series like Kirby and Super Smash Bros.) used to post daily screenshots for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate on his Twitter account. It was a project he pursued for nearly three years until he finally ran out of photo ideas and announced he would be stopping. It was a sad day, but there was light at the end of the tunnel, as he also announced that he was starting a new project, and it wouldn’t be long before we could see what it was all about. This project turned out to be his new YouTube channel, titled Masahiro Sakurai on creating games, and man that’s great !
The channel is Sakurai talking about game design elements while giving tips and pointers on each one. He plans to give those interested in creating video games a head start while making his dives into the concepts simple and easy to understand for audiences, including people who aren’t interested in creating video games. . In short, everyone can watch his videos and learn interesting things.
He talks about some of the other games he’s made, such as the early games in the Kirby series, and his philosophy behind designing them as he did. It also provides design documents and builds used for the development of some of its games, including Smash Bros. Its overall goal is, in its own words, to “make games more fun!”
Judging by the popularity of the channel, it is doing a great job so far. It’s only been a little over a month since the channel started, and it has already amassed over two million views and 430,000 subscribers on its English channel; it also has a Japanese channel with similar numbers. The fact that he has no plans to profit from these videos at all (he even explicitly states that this project will probably cost him a lot of money the longer it lasts) is even more of a reason to like and appreciate the content that he is ready to provide.
Some of his advice may seem basic and self-explanatory at first, but when he starts to dig a little deeper, it’s quick to see just how complex they are and how beneficial it would be to understand them on a deeper level. One of his recent videos called Draw the Light, Not the Asset focuses on game graphics. When drawing an item for a video game, he recommends drawing the light that an object reflects rather than the object himself. He then gives an example of several trees being copied and pasted across a landscape, transforming it from a dull image into something truly beautiful with just a few lighting tweaks.
Its tips and advice can also be compared to other games, for better or for worse. To use the example above, take a look at Pokémon. Their recent games have been heavily criticized for confusing their graphics. This was especially the case for Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield’s Wild Area, when fans got a peek at the flora during a Treehouse Live presentation ahead of its 2019 release. reflecting on the trees rather than the trees alone, they would have been much more beautiful and organic. The same can be said about other parts of the Wild Area, such as grass and bodies of water.
Comparisons to other games can also be drawn from one of his early videos, titled Stop at Big Moments! In this video, Sakurai explains how pausing the action during major events in a game, like a fatal landing, can help sell the impact or emotion it’s meant to have.
It also shows how using slow motion or screen shake effects can further add to this. You can probably think of many games that have used it expertly. The first example that comes to mind is the Kingdom Hearts series; I still felt something after losing your life or winning a major boss fight, thanks to the iconic slow motion effects and sounds that accompanied the final big hit.
It does a great job of digging just deep enough to not only show the complexity of these concepts on a basic level, but also to inspire its viewers interested in game design to dig deeper for themselves. All of this is great for people who play games or are interested in them, but other videos from his covers may apply to other things in life besides video games.
Going back to the asset creation video, the trick to drawing the light that an object reflects rather than the asset can be applied to any art form outside of games. If you’re a budding artist, you might find a lot of value in its graphics-focused videos. Using the trick about pausing the action at important times can help you if you want to make movies, shorts, or even books. Beyond that, it’s just nice to listen to Sakurai talk. Its soft inflection and its way with the words resemble an anecdote in a chaotic world.
Seriously, Sakurai has a lot of valuable information to offer as a veteran game developer. He’s too modest to say it himself, so I’ll say it for him: feel free to like his videos and subscribe to his channel.
NEXT: Masahiro Sakurai on Sora in Smash, Disney, Making DLC, Future Games