Maybe I'm just an idiot, but when people began talking about Shigeru Miyamoto "upending the tea table" I always took it literally. I believed that, in a meeting, when Metroid Prime was in development, Shiggy actually did start wrecking shit like an enraged Pokemon. Now that I know the truth, I'm ever so slightly disappointed.
According to Eiji Aonuma, "upending the tea table" is really referencing Miyamoto's ability to look at a game's design, suggest some adjustments, and flip the game concept on its head.
"Well, back at GDC, when that conversation was presented, I think it painted a picture of Mr. Miyamoto’s role inside the company as coming in and being a really disruptive force in the development process, but I view it a very different way and I think a lot of people do. It’s that his time to come in and flip things on their head is part of the development timeline. It’s an event that happens. It’s almost a ritual in that sense," claimed Aonuma, speaking to IndustryGamers.
According to Aonuma, it's a necessary process that helps development.
"I’d really like to reinforce that fact that I don’t view the process that people refer to as 'upending the tea table' as something unpleasant," he said. "It’s actually quite necessary and useful."
Truly, I had an image in my mind of an extremely grumpy Miyamoto, slinging random insults like Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross, while other developers cower in abject fear and respect.
Miyamoto. I am disappoint.