This Week in Nintendo History: April 11th to April 17th
Howdy Howdy everybody and welcome once again to our trip down memory lane. This week was pretty light on releases with only three big names, but the names that did come out are some of the best. So let’s quit gabbing and get right into it
First up this week we have Kirby Tilt ‘n’ Tumble for the Game Boy Color. This game, released on April 11th, 2001 was unique in that it featured a tilt sensor built into the game cartridge that allowed for motion controlled movement in the game. In the game Kirby becomes suspicious of King Dedede whom he sees wandering around carrying a large bumper, similar to that found on a pinball table. Kirby soon discovered that Dream Land had lost all of its stars and attempts to recover them. The game was played by tilting the Game Boy to move Kirby around the game’s numerous levels in an attempt to navigate to the end. The game was playable on devices like the Game Boy Advance SP, but the controls were backwards due to the cartridge slot being on the opposite side of the system.
April 13th, 1992 saw the release of my favorite game in the Zelda franchise; The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. This was the third game in the franchise and returned to the top down perspective of the original after the slight departure of that view in Zelda II. This game set up a number of gameplay ideas that have been present in the series ever since. Things like the introduction of the Pegasus Boots and the hook shot first saw action in A Link to the Past. It also set up the idea of there being an alternate, parallel universe. The Light World and the Dark World were polar opposites of each other. Things that were thriving in the Light were run down and falling apart in the dark. Link was able to travel freely between the worlds using a magic mirror, but early on he takes the form of a pink rabbit while in the Dark World. Dungeons with multiple levels were also first established during this game. Previously they had all been mostly single levels with multiple rooms. Probable the biggest introduction in the Zelda lore was established during the events of this game. This was the first time that Link ever held the Master Sword, after pulling it from a pillar in the forest. After this, nearly every game has featured Link going on a quest to retrieve the Master Sword. The game was originally going to be released on the NES as Zelda III, but development was postponed for nearly a year to allow the game to see life on the Super Nintendo. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is one of the most popular games in the long running franchise. Many consider it to be the best yet. It has sold millions of copies world wide and seen re-releases on numerous platforms.
April 13th, 2009 was Virtual Console Day in North America. That date saw the release of Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure, originally for the Sega Genesis.
April 13th, 2009 was also the release date for Party Fun Pirate on WiiWare. This downloadable title is based off of the children’s game Pop Up Pirate by Tomy. There were two modes in the game. The first was a near perfect virtual port of the game where players would take turns poking swords through a pirate in a barrel. One of the many holes in the barrel would send the pirate flying off into the ocean, if you picked this one you would lose. The other mode was similar to Minesweeper on PC. This mode of the game had you attempting to fill every hole in the barrel with a sword without triggering the pirate’s escape. Placing a sword in a hole would show how many safe slots there were around it.
Virtual Console Day game again on April 14th, 2008. That date saw the release of Fantasy Zone for the Sega Master System and Mega Turrican for the Sega Genesis.
Our last big game release of the week was that of Okami for Wii on April 15th, 2008. This was a port of the original Playstation title by the folks at Clover Studios. This game takes many elements of Japanese folklore to tell the story of Amaterasu, the Shinto sun goddess who takes the form of a white wolf, as she saves the world from darkness. The game featured a very unique cel-shaded look and rice paper effect. The main element to the gameplay was that of the Celestial Brush which was used to perform a number of actions, including combat and restoring elements of the world. The game was originally released on the Playstation 2, but fans of the series called for a port of the game on Wii using the Wii Remote as the brush. The title of the game is actually a pun. The word okami means wolf, but the characters used in the logo mean great deity. Ready at Dawn worked on the Wii port of the game and many of the assets that they were given were incomplete, meaning some parts of the game had to be completed from scratch by the company. One of the more humerous and memorable being that of the game’s box art for Wii. The original release of the game on Wii included a noticeable watermark from the online publication IGN. This was removed and people who requested one could receive a new copy of the cover. Okami was very well received critically, but did not fare as well at retail. Despite that there has been a sequel announced for the game that will be released on the Nintendo DS known as Okamiden.
The last item on our North American list is another Virtual Console Day. April 16th, 2007 saw the release of Punch-Out! for the NES, Virtua Fighter 2 on the Sega Genesis and Bonk’s Revenge for the Turbo-Grafix 16.
So there you go. We’re light on releases, but the ones we do have were pretty good titles. All three of them, if you haven’t played them, deserve a shot. They’re all really good games. As always if we’ve forgotten anything, or you know of something coming up you’d like to see added to the feature leave us a comment and let us know, tell us in the forums or send me an email and let me know. Before we go, though, here are the list of games that came out in other territories around the world.
1992: Super Nintendo Entertainment System (Europe), Super Mario World (SNES, Europe)
2008: Mario Kart Wii (Wii, Europe)
1998: Cruisin’ USA (N64, Europe)
1990: Crystalis (FAM, Japan)
2006: Odama (GCN, Japan)
2007: Hotel Dusk, Pokemon Ranger (DS, Europe)
1999: Pokemon Pinball (GBC, Japan)
2001: Animal Forest (N64, Japan)
1988: RC Pro AM (NES, Europe)
1998: Aerofighters Assault (N64, Europe)
2004: Kirby and the Amazing Mirror (GBA, Japan)
1997: Star Fox 64 (N64, Japan)