Iwata Asks - The Joy of Ambiguous Boundaries

Let’s see, it’s a link where Shigesato Itoi (creator of EarthBound) talks to Shigeru Miyamoto and Satoru Iwata about epistemology. Yeah, I guess, I’ll blog that.

Itoi: Ambiguous boundaries are the key. You can say that about anything, like virtual worlds, that draw upon the power of our imagination. Put an unusual way, I think that ambiguous world is like the Otherworld. We live in this world that we think is the real one, so if something from over there enters here, this world becomes unstable. That is at times frightening, at times thrilling.

Iwata: Ahh, the boundaries break down. We can relax only when there are proper boundary lines.

Itoi: Right, right. People long ago always existed in an unstable world. In other words, to people in the time of the Tale of Genji, there really were ghosts.

Iwata: Uh-huh.

Itoi: But maybe that’s not something to talk about here.

Iwata: No, it’s interesting. (laughs)

Itoi: Takaaki Yoshimoto says that, a long time ago, things were comprehended far less clearly, and that many things were not clearly delineated. With regard to questions like whether gods or ghosts existed, we can never relate to people in the past as long as we try to apply modern thinking. Rather, they must have existed in a more ambiguous frame of mind, he said.

Itoi: To pull in yet another area of thought, I think one of the reasons that such works are increasing each year is that academic fields in modern science that treat of epistemology are still young and not yet fully established. Everyone has an almost physical reluctance to plunge down that path. It’s interesting to think that people are trying so hard to recapture that fading ambiguity.

Iwata: That fogginess that was a matter of course in the past exists at the boundary between the real world and the one within the screen.

Itoi: Yes. You can sense that, which is peculiarly pleasing. For example, the boundaries between fiction and nonfiction and fantasy and documentary were once all vague.

Iwata: Hmm, that may be exactly what we are trying to give people now. I showed you this briefly before, but the AR Games software in the Nintendo 3DS system itself is interesting for the way it mixes reality and virtual space.

You heard it hear first: Nintendo 3DS, now you’re playing with ghosts!