Samba de Amigo: one of the most influential games of all time

Sega’s motion-controlled rhythm action game, Samba de Amigo, turns 25 this year, and it’s one of the most influential video games of all time.

Consider the following:

  1. In 2000, Shigeru Miyamoto told Famitsu that Samba de Amigo was his favourite game at that time.

  2. A 2003 developer interview between Shigeru Miyamoto and Yasumi Matsuno (Tactics Ogre, Final Fantasy Tactics) sees Miyamoto bring up both Samba de Amigo and fellow peer, Taiko no Tatsujin, as games that caught his attention at that time, even claiming (translation via shmuplations) “I have a sense that these are games the industry needs right now.” He also points to a piece of software that translates dog barks into human readable language as the sort of application that could stand at the nexus of interactive entertainment and novel applications.

  3. Here’s the big one, and the interview that brought this all to my attention last year. In 2023 - twenty three years after Miyamoto first mentioned it - Miyamoto still brings up Samba de Amigo in interview, now going as far to touch on the impression seeing his neighbour playing the game with his family had on him, claiming that moment “changed our direction”.

Of course, Wii and DS followed in the latter half of that decade, and it’s no coincidence that Wii held many parallels with what Nintendo was doing with Famicom as well - a focus on approachable software that is easy to pick up, difficult to master. A return to the focused sensibilities from the arcade.

And that’s very much echoed in interview 3), where Miyamoto expresses what seems like frustration
that the games he made at that time cannot be described with brevity, and mostly come from long running series that became beholden to the weight of ever-burgeoning fan expectation.

Super interesting stuff.


Good post, very cool info!

Samba de Amigo is an amazing game!

I used to love playing Samba De Amiga. I never did the silly posses mind you but had great fun with it at home and in the Arcade.

Sega’s developers were on fire at the turn of the century — even Miyamoto noticed!

Wow never knew this or even played the game. I really ought to change that.

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I sold my mint boxed Samba DC during covid lockdown to a guy near Paris, France. He needed it to complete his collection and it was just stored under a bed in my house gathering dust. So he paid me an awful lot of money for it.

I think you can get them much cheaper now. Good timing.

The most current iteration is a lot of fun on the Switch. You can pick it up inexpensively and the JoyCons function very well as Maracas-style controllers.

I’ve also heard the VR version is super fun, I might turn on my Quest 2 and find out now that this thread has sparked the Samba inside me

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