Home Smash Bros. creator doesn’t want to waste one second of your time

Smash Bros. creator doesn’t want to waste one second of your time


  • Masahiro Sakurai, creator of the Smash Bros. Series for Nintendo, doesn’t like loading screens in his games.
  • The celebrated developer believes in getting players into a game as quickly as possible.
  • His commitment to that ideal goes so far as to turn down the use of Dolby Surround in a 2003 game because of the time that would have added.

Masahiro Sakurai, the celebrated creator of Nintendo character Kirby as well as its Super Smash Bros. platform-fighting franchise, said he once vetoed the inclusion of Dolby Surround sound support in a 20-year-old game because of a loading screen requirement that he felt would inconvenience the user.

The game in question, Kirby Air Ride, was a kart-style racer that launched for Nintendo GameCube in 2003. Sakurai, speaking in a livestream with PlatinumGames co-founder Hideki Kamiya, mentioned this to illustrate how far he was willing to go to get video gamers to the action.

The two were discussing the 10-year anniversary of the Arcade Archives series of emulated video games which, per the series title, delivers games that launched on arcade cabinets to home console users. Sakurai said that Arcade Archives maker Hamster Corporation should shorten the time it takes to boot the games, to more properly deliver that arcade-style feeling of going machine-to-machine and getting into a game immediately.

“Rather than just tossing in a coin and getting into the game immediately, you must click an icon, wait for the logo, wait for the title, look at the instructions screen, wait until everything loads, and then you’re finally at the main screen, after which you can start playing,” Sakurai said, according to a translation.

Sakurai considers all of this such an abuse of the player’s attention that he threw out Dolby Surround from Kirby Air Ride because it added two seconds to the game’s boot screen. For the record, here’s what that looked like in 2003:

“I feel very sorry for making the user wait,” Sakurai said in the conversation with Kamiya. “If you take one second from each user, that means you’ll be taking 10,000 seconds from 10,000 people. The more this repeats over the years, the more time you will cause players to lose.”

It may sound obsessive-compulsive but coming from Sakurai, it’s perfectly fitting with his character as a designer revered by those who play his games. It’s also refreshing to hear a software designer — of any application — stand against extra layers of friction in the user experience.

Sakurai, 53, was the creative director behind 2018’s Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for Nintendo Switch, a comprehensive, built-from-scratch adaptation that saw every character in the 25-year-old series (and more) return to the game on modern hardware.

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Owen Good
Gaming Editor (US)

Owen Good is a 15-year veteran of video games writing, also covering pop culture and entertainment subjects for the likes of Kotaku and Polygon. He is a Gaming Editor for ReadWrite working from his home in North Carolina, the United States, joining this publication in April, 2024. Good is a 1995 graduate of North Carolina State University and a 2000 graduate of The Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia University, in New York. A second-generation newspaperman, Good's career before covering video games included daily newspaper stints in North Carolina; in upstate New York; in Washington, D.C., with the Associated Press; and…

Get the biggest tech headlines of the day delivered to your inbox

    By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy. Unsubscribe anytime.

    Tech News

    Explore the latest in tech with our Tech News. We cut through the noise for concise, relevant updates, keeping you informed about the rapidly evolving tech landscape with curated content that separates signal from noise.

    In-Depth Tech Stories

    Explore tech impact in In-Depth Stories. Narrative data journalism offers comprehensive analyses, revealing stories behind data. Understand industry trends for a deeper perspective on tech's intricate relationships with society.

    Expert Reviews

    Empower decisions with Expert Reviews, merging industry expertise and insightful analysis. Delve into tech intricacies, get the best deals, and stay ahead with our trustworthy guide to navigating the ever-changing tech market.