Talismanic Nintendo designer Shigeru Miyamoto has lavished praise upon Angry Birds, telling us Rovio's mobile smash is his favourite game of the past year.
Miyamoto admitted the high regard in which he holds Rovio's game, which has been downloaded over 600 million times, during an interview in Paris yesterday.
"I usually don't comment on these sorts of questions," Miyamoto said, before praising the Nintendo-developed audio guide for the Louvre museum which prompted his visit to the French capital. "Non-Nintendo… Angry Birds, maybe.
"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."
Given comments made during the past year by Nintendo president Satoru Iwata, and US boss Reggie Fils-Aime, it's surprising to hear the company's most high-profile and respected developer praising a smartphone game.
At GDC last year, Iwata blasted cheap games, saying traditional companies had to "focus on a single question: is maintaining the high value of games a priority or not? What we produce has value, and we should protect that value." Fils-Aime hit out at "candidly disposable" smartphone games which he said represented "one of the biggest risks today in our industry."
Those comments, however, were borne out of business considerations, of the need to continue to sell £40 games in an era where conventional business models and attitudes to pricing are rapidly changing. Miyamoto is a designer, and he sees merit in small games built on one solid idea. Does he keep an eye on smartphone games in general?
"I check up on them sometimes, but I don't have a lot of time," he admits. "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."