This Week in Nintendo History: February 6th to February 12th
Ah, it’s Monday morning once again. History is among us and we’re here to learn about all the things that have made up the history of Nintendo. This week we’ll get to see the release of some of the biggest releases in Nintendo history. We’ll have kart racing, partying, drilling and much, much more. You’re here to see the games that have come out, so let’s get to it.
Nintendo has been known for some quirky titles starring cute characters. The GBA was probably one of the biggest platforms to star some of these more unique characters. Drill Dozer hit store shelves on February 6th, 2006 and starred one of those cute characters, Jill. Her father is in charge of a gang known as the Red Dozers and was attacked by a rival gang called the Skulkers who stole an item from the him, known as the Red Diamond. Jill is tasked with retrieving the item back for the gang. Along the way she’ll pick up other colored diamonds. The game is a traditional side scrolling platformer. Jill takes control of a machine called a Dozer that has two large drills on its arms. The game featured a built in rumble pack to better get the feeling of actually using a drill. Many elements of the game’s plot set up the possibility for a sequel, but because of poor sales the sequel never happened.
Spitball Sparky was released on February 7th, 1984 and is one of only games games in the Game & Watch Super Color series which featured colored graphics on the screen as opposed to the traditional black and white the series was known for. Spitball Sparky is a Breakout Clone. In the game you, as Sparky, would shoot spitballs out of your mouth from the bottom of the screen in an attempt to break blocks located at the top of the screen. This was one of the games playable in Game & Watch Gallery 3.
In May 1998 Nintendo and Hudson entered a partnership to create games for the Nintendo 64. The first game in that new partnership would be released on February 8th, 1999 and would be known as Mario Party. This game was the first in the popular party game franchise featuring many characters from Nintendo. This game began many of the traditions that would continue throughout the franchise. Gameplay took place on a board with players rolling dice to determing how far they would move. After each player took their turn to move they would engage in one of the game’s 50 different mini-games. The objective of the game was to reach a randomly selected location on the board and purchase the star there. At the end of the game the player with the most stars was declared the winner. Since its release there have been seven direct sequels that have built on top of the foundation set in this game.
February 9th, 2010 was Virtual Console Day in North America. On that date Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom, originally for the Nintendo Entertainment System, was released.
LIT hit the WiiWare service on the same date. This game was a survival horror puzzle game starring a young man named Jake. His high school has been taken over by monsters that live in the shadows and his girlfriend is missing. You must traverse the many rooms of the school using the few light sources available to reach the exit. Step into the shadows and it’s instant death. Computer monitors, tv screens, desk lamps and broken windows would build paths of light for you to walk on as you made your way across the room.
February 9th 2004 marked the return of Square, now known as Square Enix, to Nintendo platforms. On that day Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles was released for the Nintendo GameCube. This was the first Final Fantasy title to be released on a Nintendo platform since Final Fantasy VI on the SNES. Square had created a second party company known as The Game Designers Studio to create Final Fantasy games for Nintendo and this was the first game released by them. While Final Fantasy is known for it’s role playing aspects this game was a more action oriented game and was thought to be more accessible to a wider audience of players. There were a number of aspects that made this game different from a traditional Final Fantasy game the first being how you navigate through the world. In the game you used an Overworld map where you lead a caravan through different settlements that you could then explore and purchase equipment. The other was the fact there was no transition to a battle screen, instead all combat was fought in real time much like an action game. You also had the ability to create your character. Also notable was that this was the first role playing game that would use connectivity between the GameCube and the Game Boy Advance with up to four people playing together using a Game Boy Advance as their personal screen.
February 9th, 2009 was Virtual Consoel Day in North America. On that date MERCS, originally for the NES was released.
February 10th, 1997 saw the release of Mario Kart 64 for the Nintendo 64. This was the sequel to the original Super Mario Kart on the SNES. This game was the first in the franchise to feature true 3D graphics and analog control through the use of the analog stick on the N64 controller. Mario Kart 64 featured eight playable characters, six of whom were playable in the previous game. New to the series was both Donkey Kong and Wario replacing DK Jr and Koopa Troopa respectively. The advent of 3D technology in home consoles allowed Mario Kart 64 to featured varied terrain and multiple elevations which wasn’t possible through Mode 7 on the SNES. This release in the series was best known for its multiplayer, especially Battle Mode, which is still considered by many fans to be the best of the series to date. Mario Kart 64 was first shown to the public in Japan on November 24, 1995.
February 10th, 2010 was download day in North America. There were four games released for the WiiWare service that day. Blaster Master Overdrive, Hubert the Teddy Bear: Winter Games, Bloons and Tomena Sanner.
Professor Layton and the Curious Village hit North American shores on February 10th, 2008. This was a puzzle game created by Level 5 and was released in Japan over a year before its North American debut. In the game you play as a Layton and his assistant Luke as they attempt to solve the mystery of the Golden Apple in addition to other puzzles during their travel. To do this you need to investigate different areas through the use of the touch screen and talk to villagers who will give you puzzles that you must solve. During the game you’ll find or be given hint coins that can be used if you find certain puzzles difficult to solve. Many of the puzzles can be found in a book that was a favorite of series producer Akihiro Hino and were adapted to be playable on the DS. The game has achieved overwhelmingly positive reviews, some of which cite the mash up of adventure and puzzle to be excellent. The game spawned a number of sequels and a soundtrack that was released in Japan.
February 11th, 2008 was Virtual Console Day in North America. On that date Harvest Moon, originally for the Super Nintendo, and Lords of Thunder, originally for the Turbo-Grafix 16, were released.
Super Mario Bros. 3, released on February 12th, 1990, was the fifth game to be released in the Super Mario series and the last to be featured on the Nintendo Entertainment System. Princess Peach has been kidnapped, yet again, and it’s up to Mario and Luigi to rescue her. This game is most notable for it being the first game in the series to use an Overworld map that gave players some control over the order the played the game in. There were some levels that did not need to be played at all in order to complete the game. Super Mario Bros. 3 was famously shown in the movie ‘The Wizard’ starring Fred Savage where the game was featured in the Nintendo World Video Game Championships, even showing off one of the games new secrets, the Warp Whistle which functioned much like the hidden Warp Pipes in the original Super Mario Bros. There are new power ups that debuted in this game and have become some of the most popular suits in Mario’s history. These were the Raccoon suit which temporarily gave Mario the ability to fly. The Tanooki suit was similar to the Raccoon suit, but featured a full body costume that gave Mario flight and the ability to turn into a statue. The Frog Suit allowed Mario to jump higher than normal and made swimming in underwater levels easier. Kuribu’s shoe allowed Mario to walk across Piranha plants and is one of the suits many people want to see return in the future. Super Mario Bros. 3 featured a multiplayer option where players could compete for the right to play the next level by facing off in the original Mario Bros. game where you were attempting to kill of creatures that entered the level through pipes. Super Mario Bros. 3 has sold millions of copies worldwide, been re-released numerous times on different platforms and is considered by many to be the best game to date in the Mario franchise.
Our last retail release of the week is one of the most interesting titles to ever be released. It has sold multiple millions of copies, not based on the game itself, but the fact that is comes bundled with a Wii Remote for $10 more than a normal retail game. Wii Play hit store shelves on February 12th, 2007 and features nine mini-games that can be played alone or with a friend. These games range from a shooting gallery to cow racing and a ping pong game. Most of the game are simple and very easy to pick up and play and show off different ways that the Wii Remote can be used. Because of this the game came bundled with a Wii Remote and it’s because of that fact that many people say it’s sold as many copies as it has.
February 12th, 2007 saw the release of three NES classics for the Virtual Console. On that date Ice Climber, Kid Icarus, and Kirby’s Adventure were all released and available for download.
There you have the games that make up the history of Nintendo for this upcoming week. There were some big names on the list. Which ones were your favorites? Are there any games that you know of coming up or that we missed this week? Let us know in the comments and we’ll get them added to the feature in the future. Before we leave this week we have to mention some of the game that were released outside of North America.
2004 – Sonic Heroes (GBA, Europe)
2008 – No More Heroes (Wii, Canada)
1988 – Dragon Quest III (Fam, Japan)
1990 – Dragon Quest IV (Fam, Japan)
2009 – Mario & Luigi RPG 3!!! (NDS, Japan)