Smash Bros. Creator Sakurai Is A YouTuber Now And I Love It

Sitting on a cream couch, Masahiro Sakurai delivers sage game design wisdom from his new YouTube channel, Masahiro Sakurai on Creating Games.

Did you know that in 2006, Super Smash Bros. creator Masahiro Sakurai helped develop a Tamagotchi like game where you raise virtual beetles on this smol LCD toy and send them off to fight other beetles via infrared connection a la Street Pass? It’s new news to me, and one of the many interesting facts the legendary game designer has shared on his new YouTube channel, Masahiro Sakurai on making games. To be honest, I think he might be my favorite YouTuber right now.

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Masahiro Sakurai is perhaps best known as the creative genius behind the Kirby and Super Smash Bros. franchises, but he has done a lot of work in the game industry since he started in the 90s. He directed his first game, Kirby’s dreamland, at age 19. For almost twenty years he wrote a weekly Famitsu column about games. In the mid-2000s, he even became a little independent and led the design of the falling tile puzzle game Meteos before returning to Nintendo’s HAL Laboratory for some more Super Smash Bros. spell. And until earlier this week, Sakurai posted daily screenshots of what may or may not be the last entry from the crossover fighter?, only to announce that he would no longer do that and instead focused on a new project: a YouTube channel where he spills the tea on the ins and outs of game design. YouTuber Sakurai. Has a nice sound.

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As YouTuber Sakurai put it the first video on his channel, Masahiro Sakurai’s goal in game creation is “to try to help make games around the world a little bit more fun.” Using his decades of expertise, he plans to dissect what “good” and “fun” could mean in game design, teaching aspiring developers and curious onlookers more about the medium through bite-sized lessons. While there are currently only four videos on his channel (YouTuber Sakurai goes fast, all of you), the topics he aims to cover seem to be all-encompassing, ranging from how frame rate affects the gameplay feel to how distance determines risk in platform games. . It sounds technical, but YouTuber Sakurai made sure that game development experience isn’t necessary to enjoy or gain insight from his channel, because “keep things simple” is best for accessibility.

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Consider the second video, Stop for big moments, where everything revolves around ‘hit stops’. A hit stop is an in-game effect that, as the name suggests, stops the action when you get hit. You see it a lot in action games where you stagger a bit and the screen shakes after a hit, but hit stops are felt most acutely in something like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate when you perform a critical attack that sends your opponent flying off the screen. The purpose of hit stops is to make every stroke in a game feel impactful and to translate the weight of the attack to you, the player. Without them, battles can feel floaty and imprecise, with no significant heaviness or punch.


What I love about Masahiro Sakurai when making games is YouTuber Sakurai’s behavior. If you are one of the Super Smash Bros. live streams he hosts, then you know the atmosphere here. It’s low-key and personal, filled with tons of information delivered in a digestible format. He speaks clearly and distinctly, not spending too much time wading through game design jargon to teach concepts. Talking about hit stops, for example, he demonstrated several times how the effect changes the feel of a game as it is activated and deactivated. What you get is an inside look at how developers create battles that are both spicy and rewarding. I really feel like I learned something from YouTuber Sakurai. So if you’ve ever wondered why fights are so “crunchy” in some games, pay attention to the effectiveness of the hit stop.

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While Masahiro Sakurai is now enjoying the YouTuber life, Nintendo is going through a tumultuous August. Earlier this month, the company was accused of firing an employee for asking a question about unions during a meeting. A a fire broke out at nintendo headquarters also in Kyoto this month, possibly caused by a faulty device that was charging. Kotaku also spoke to multiple sources who claimed that as Nintendo of America contract, they experienced a “frat house” culture of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior. Nintendo of America President Doug Bowser said: the company is actively investigating the claims that have appeared in recent media attention.

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