This Week in Nintendo History: April 25th to May 1st
Howdy Howdy everybody. We’re back again on a Monday morning to talk about game releases that have made Nintendo the company it is. This last week of April brings about a few high profile releases including the original Nintendo brawl, more kart racing and even another Pokemon release. It’s a pretty busy week so let’s get right to it.
The DS has been home to a number of RPG’s of all different flavors. April 25th, 2006 saw the release of another in a long line of good RPG titles with the release of LostMagic. This game was developed by Taito, best known for games like Bubble Bobble, Legend of Kage and many other classic arcade titles. LostMagic used a real-time battle system and was best known for its magic system and using enemies that you captured as allies in battle. The magic system was most unique in that to cast spells you drew different runes on the touch screen for each spell you knew. More powerful spells could be cast by combining multiple runes together. There was also an online multiplayer component to the game where two players could battle it out. LostMagic received mixed reviews with many complaining about the use of time limits for battles.
Pac-Pix was released on April 26th, 2005 and used the Nintendo DS touch screen in a variety of different ways. Players would draw the titular character, Namco mascot Pac-man, and navigate him through different levels created barriers and eating ghosts along the way. One of the more interesting aspects of the game that the speed of Pac-man was controlled by how big the player drew him on the screen. The many obstacles that you would encounter would have to be removed by drawing appropriate items that would remove them from play allowing you to continue.
Game & Watch has been surprising relevant in this article with new titles being releases seemingly every week and this week is no exception. Lion was released on April 27th, 1982 and had you, as Mr. Game & Watch trying to keep a lion in its cage by moving back and forth on the screen. It was notable for being the first game in the Game & Watch Gold line to be released.
Probably the biggest release of the week happened on April 27th, 1999 when Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo 64 was released. This game was the first release in Nintendo’s hugely successful fighting game franchise. Unlike traditional fighting games where you were trying to deplete an opponent’s health bar, in Super Smash Bros. you were trying to knock opponents off the edges of the screen by increasing the percentage of damage they would take with every attack. The original game featured 12 playable characters ranging from Mario and Luigi to Link and even Fox McCloud. Series creator Masahiro Sakurai wanted to create a fighting game for four players and knowing that many games in the genre didn’t sell well he wanted to come up with a way to make it unique. To do that, he, without permission, included four famous Nintendo mascots in a game and presented the idea to HAL Laboratories President Satoru Iwata, who surprisingly approved the idea. Obviously the game was successful, releasing worldwide and selling nearly 5 million copies. It has gone on to spawn two sequels and millions of loyal franchise fans around the world.
One of Nintendo’s other more popular franchises is that of Mario Kart and it saw its latest release on April 27th, 2008 with the release of Mario Kart Wii. This is the sixth installment in the popular racing franchise and the first time on a home console you would be able to race against people around the world. It also showcased the Wii’s motion capabilities with the included Wii Wheel that gave players the feeling that they were actually driving the Karts. There were a number of firsts in the franchise that began with this game. First was the ability to race with vehicles other than karts. Nintendo included motorcycles for the first time and each character now had up to eight different vehicles that they could choose from to race in. Motorcycles differed from Karts in that they were not able to build as much boost around corners, but as a trade-off were able to perform wheelies on straight sections of the track to gain a small boost in speed. Also you were able to race as a character not from the Mario universe with the inclusion of Nintendo’s Miis in the game. Mario Kart Wii featured 32 tracks, 16 new and 16 classic, in addition to 24 playable characters from around the Mario universe. Online play was a first for the console games with this release and it featured a robust online offering with online grand prix, battle mode and even the ability to trade ghost times in time trials. Since its release Mario Kart Wii has sold more than 21 million copies world wide and has become the most popular game in the franchises history.
Our first Virtual Console day happened on April 27th, 2009 and on that day Nobunaga’s Ambition, originally for the Super Nintendo, was released. Also released on WiiWare that day was Cocoto Platform Jumper, which was a re-release of a GameCube platformer.
April 28th, 2008 was Virtual Console Day in North America and on that day Double Dragon for the Nintendo Entertainment System was released.
All-Star Baseball ’99 was developed by Acclaim and released on the N64 on April 30th, 1998. This game was the first in the franchise that ran from 1998 to 2005 with its final release being All-Star Baseball 2005. This game featured Frank Thomas on the cover and had John Sterling and Michael Kay as the in game announcers.
Excitebike 64 hit store shelves on April 30th, 2000 for the Nintendo 64 and was developed by Left Field Productions. This was the first time that the Excitebike franchise would be featured in 3D. It also left the side scrolling arcade feel for a more traditional 3D motocross style game. In the game you played as one of six riders, taking them through 20 different tracks in the game’s season mode. You could also perform tricks across the jumps in the game to give each race a bit more excitement. Despite being considerably different from the franchises roots it received a very positive critical reception and sold fairly well for Nintendo. It was succeeded years later on the Wii by ExciteTruck.
April 30th, 2007 was Virtual Console Day in North America and on that day Castlevania for the NES, The Legend of the Mystical Ninja for the SNES and Shockman for the Turbo-Grafix 16 were released.
May 1st, 2005 would see the release of Pokemon Emerald for the Game Boy Advance. This was the update to the previous games in the series, Pokemon Ruby and Pokemon Sapphire that combined elements of those two games and introduced some new features. The plot was changed to feature the antagonists from both the previous games, but the most significant addition is the Battle Frontier, an expanded version of the Battle Tower in Ruby and Sapphire. Pokemon Emerald was very well received selling more than six million copies world wide. This would make it the third best selling game released on the GBA to date.
Our last release occurred on May 1st, 2007 with the release of Heatseeker on Wii. This aerial combat game featured 30 different aircraft with over 40 different weapons to choose from. The games most unique feature was known as the impact cam, which would allow you to follow the path of a fired missile until it impacted an enemy plane. You could also view this impact from multiple angles.
So there you have it. The games that were released This Week in Nintendo’s History. I hope you’ve enjoyed the article and you found out about a game you might not have played before. As always if you know of anything we missed, or know of anything coming up you’d like to see featured in the article please let us know. You can leave us a comment below or you can email me at email@example.com. Until next week; we’re history, but before we go here are the releases that made it to store shelves in other countries.
2008 – Wii Fit (Wii, Europe)
2003 – GiFTPiA (GCN, Japan)
1991 – SimCity (SFC, Japan)
2002 – Mega Man Zero (GBA, Japan)
2007: Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree (Wii, Japan)
Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings (DS, Japan)
2008: Wii released in Korea
1990 – Castlevania II (NES, Europe)
1992 – Kirby’s Dream Land (GB, Japan)
1995 – Illusion of Gaia (SNES, Europe)
2000 – The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask (N64, Japan)
2006 – LostMagic (DS, Europe)
1989 – Super Mario Bros. 2 (NES, Europe)
2006 – Pokemon Trozei! (DS, Europe)
1997 – Wave Race 64 (N64, Europe)
2004 – Pikmin 2 (GCN, Japan)