Nintendo's recently announced 3DS art guide to The Louvre museum in France was a long-time dream of Shigeru Miyamoto's, according to a recent "Iwata Asks" interview with president Satoru Iwata.
The guide can be purchased for £17.99 and features 600 images of artwork, 400 museum photos, 30 hours of commentary and an interactive map. According to Miyamoto, the audio guides in the museum itself were a "jumping off point" for the first public spaces guides, which started with the Nintendo DS.
"I always rent an audio guide to look at exhibits when I go to museums," Miyamoto said. "It gives you a much richer experience because it provides insights and discoveries that you wouldn't have made otherwise."
When the Nintendo DS launched in 2004, Miyamoto began to wonder if it could be used as an audio guide. Around the same time, Nintendo began receiving inquiries from public institutions asking if they could work with the DS. The company would later develop guides for shopping facilities in Tokyo, as well as schools, aquariums and art museums. Eventually, Nintendo started talking with directors at the Louvre.
"We were given a special pass, and we went all around looking at all the inner systems from behind the scenes," Miyamoto said. "We were able to go into the museum on a day when it was closed to the public, and wander around studying the insides. I took a ton of pictures with my 3DS.
"What I realized then was just how much fun it was to look at the 3D photos that I had taken. It made me think that museums weren't just about the works inside them, the building and the atmosphere were also a lot of fun. We thought it would be fun to add some more value to the software — to make it like a souvenir of your trip to the museum, rather than just a museum guide."
Miyamoto added that the product is still "experimental," and that he would love to see it used as an educational tool in art classes.
"I think it would get students really interested as they use the software to watch and listen," Miyamoto said.