This Week in Nintendo History: September 6th to September 12th
History has a way of repeating itself. Hopefully, though, we’re not doing too much of that here. This week, we get more excuses, Pokemon (it seems like a new game is released every week), Donkey Kong, and the birth of one of the most important men in Nintendo’s history. I bet it’s not who immediately comes to mind, sorry Mr. Miyamoto. Let’s jump right in.
September 6th brought about yet another Game & Watch title. Much like the Pokemon I talked about in the opening comments, it seems like we hear about a new one of these games every week. They’re great fun though so it’s not all that bad. This time though we get the release of Donkey Kong Circus. This game came out at the same time as Mickey Mouse on the Panorama and were ssentially identical. The only difference being that in this game you controlled Donkey Kong while he juggles sticks, though when a torch comes you’re required not to touch it or else you’ll be burned. There was also a bit of a mix up with these two games as their models numbers are switched. Donkey Kong Circus’ model number is MK-96, when it should be DC-95. Since this posed no real problem the error was never corrected.
September 8th, 2008 was Virtual Console day in America. On that day American gamers received one of the more unique virtual console titles we’ve gotten. It was import day for the VC and on that day we received Cho Aniki and Final Soldier. Both of these games were for the Turbo Grafix 16.
Chef was another title released for the Game & Watch. This title was released on September 8th, 1981. In this game you were required to juggle three pieces of food at the same time. If one of them hit the floor you would lose a life. Lose three lives and it’s game over. Chef has been re-released in two Game & Watch Gallery titles; Two and Four for the Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance respectively. This title is also featured in Mr. Game & Watch’s moveset in Super Smash Bros. Brawl when he flips pancakes at enemies.
September 8th, 1989 was the date that The Legend of Zelda premiered on American television. This was where the famous phrase “Well, excuuuuse me. Princess.” was first heard. This show started off as the Friday cartoon that would appear during the Super Maro Bros. Super Show. An interesting point of note about the series is that it only ever mentioned two pieces of the Triforce, Wisdom and Power. Courage was nowhere to be seen. The show ran for 13 episodes.
Pokemon FireRed and Pokemon LeafGreen would hit the scene on September 9th, 2004. These were remakes of the originalPokemon Red and Pokemon Green for the Game Boy Color. Pokemon LeafGreen was also the first time that title had appeared in America as Pokemon Green was an exclusive in Japan that was replaced with Pokemon Blue in America. These titles would fix some of the glitches found in the original games as well as updated the graphics to the 16 bit style of the Game Boy Advance. The menu button was also moved the the L/R shoulder buttons.
September 10th, 2007 was Virtual Console Monday in America again. This time there were a range of releases. American gamers saw the release of NES Play Action Football for the Nintendo Entertainment System, Sonic the Hedgehog 3 for the Sega Genesis, and Neutopia II for the Turbo-Grafix 16.
War broke out on the GBA on September 10th, 2001. Advance Wars was released to the masses. This was a turn based strategy game that is part of a series that spans from Famicom Wars on the NES to Battalion Wars on the Wii and touches nearly every platformbetween the two. You used a force made up of infantry, armour and aircraft to take the fight to your enemies. Advance Wars is set in the fictional empire of the Orange Star, where you as the player work as an “advisor” to several Commanding Officers in the Orange Star Army, each having their own advantages and disadvantages.
Now we get to probably the most important day so far in our look back at Nintendo’s history. On September 10th, 1941 Mr. Gunpei Yokoi was born. This man was responsible for the design of a number of Nintendo systems including the Game Boy, Game & Watch and the Virtual Boy. He was also the man behind the Metroid franchise and Kid Icarus. Mr. Yokoi was hired by Hiroshi Yamauchi as an electrician on their Hanafuda card assembly line when an invention of his known as the Ultra Hand caught Mr. Yamauchi’s eye. The rest is, as they say, history. Mr. Yokoi was also responsible for a young man known as Shigeru Miyamoto when he was hired by the company.
It was a sad day in Nintendo’s history when this man was killed. On October 4th, 1997 he was driving along the road with an associate, Etsuo Kiso, when they spotted an accident. The two pulled over to help when another car slammed into them crushing Mr. Yokoi. He was rushed to a hospital, but was pronounced dead two hours later.
Mr. Yokoi was, as mentioned, the mentor to a young Shigeru Miyamoto who would go on to create the plumber known and loved by many as Mario. On September 11th, 2006 Mario would take to the hardwood in the Mushroom Kingdom’s version of basketball. Mario Hoops 3-on-3 hit the courts that day with its own unique brand of basketball for the NIntendo DS. This game was developed by Square Enix who had intended the game to be an original basketball game. They felt, though, that it would benefit from the Mario franchise being added and Nintendo allowed the collaboration. It features 16 characters from the Mario universe and five characters from the Square Enix universe playing on nine different courts. Much like theother sports games that feature Mario character it bears only a slight resemblence to the original sport.
Our last day of the week features two hit titles from third party developers. First on the list is Cooking Mama by Majesco, released on September 12th, 2006. This title has been credited with single handedly saving the company from distaster as it has sold over 4 million copies alone. This is a cooking theme mini game collection where you use simple mini games to prepare different parts of a meal. Combine them together and receive a score based on how well you did. The game’s cute main character, simple game design and immense replayability combined for a title that has been a huge hit. It has spawned a number of sequels on both the DS and the Wii and the franchise overall has sold over 8 millions units to date.
Last on the list, but certainly not least, and released on the same day as Cooking Mama is Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy. This game is considered by many to be the best of the Lego franchise released to date. It covers the events of the original Star Wars trilogy and combines it with the universal appeal of Lego. There are dozens upon dozens of playable characters, vast locals and loads of unlockable content. This game also features a cameo of the legendary archeologist, Indiana Jones. Chances are if you like either Star Wars or building things with Legos then you have played and enjoyed this game. This game also received a bit of a re-release when it was combined with the first Lego Star Wars and packaged as Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga.
Another week down in the history books. Let me know what you think of the column. Is there anything you know of coming up and would like to see included in the article? If so leave me a comment and let me know. It could end up on the site.