The Super Monkey Ball franchise started on the GameCube, and ended up being much bigger than SEGA expected. That first entry spawned numerous mainline entries, spin-offs, and more. Pretty amazing for a game with such a simple idea!
In an interview with SEGA's Toshihiro Nagoshi, we hear about the mission statement Nagoshi had for the game. It was the combination of two main elements that paved the way for the classic we love.
“Monkey Ball has been around for a long time since Daytona and at that time I was already planning and making various other games. As technology advances, how to play games become more and more complicated. If we talk a little about business, development costs were gradually increasing. In some ways it can’t be helped, but especially arcade games were essentially more intuitive and were made in a way to play easily and have a more fun time. Such an approach is essential, and the number of such games was gradually decreasing. If we were to feel sad about that, then there are only 2 ways to go. I wanted to pursue a game that was simple to play and low cost to make, and that was what I thought about. In the end, I didn’t think with Daytona that it would go beyond the arcades to the consumer and be played for more than 10 to 20 years.”