This Week in Nintendo History: March 6th to March 12th
Howdy Howdy everyone. It’s Monday morning. I’m guessing you want to find out what’s going on this week with past game releases and events? Then you’re in luck. I’ve got a lot of information for you to go over. We’ve got Pokemon, Game & Watch, fighting, Mega Man and much, much more. What do you say we jump right into things?
Pokemon fans love to fight. They love using those adorable pocket monsters to beat up on other adorable pocket monsters. March 6th, 2000 saw the release of Pokemon Stadium for the Nintendo 64. This game, developed by Nintendo EAD and HAL Laboratory brought a number of popular pokemon into a fighting arena to duke it out with each other. The game was originally intended to be released on the Nintendo 64DD, but since the device ended up being a dismal failure it was transferred to the traditional N64 cartridge.
Pokemon Stadium didn’t have a traditional storyline that pokemon fans had come to expect. Instead you fought in a series of tournaments in a stadium culminating in a fight with a Gym Leader. There were a number of different cups that required different pokemon to be used. In these cups you needed to compete in a series of eight three-on-three fights. The game was also released with a transfer pak that would allow you to plug in copies of any of the Game Boy versions of the game to access additional features. Pokemon Stadium received very mixed reviews among critics.
Pokemon Trozei! hit store shelves for the Nintendo DS on March 6th, 2006. It featured game play similar to both Tetris and Yoshi’s Cookie and had a pokemon theme. Blocks fell from the top screen, but could only be moved and matched on the bottom screen. There were a number of different modes to play among the games various stages. Research mode was an area where you could learn how to play the game. Storage Mode was a fairly traditional style of play where you were trying to link up pokemon by matching the blocks. Phobos Mode is a boss fight style of play where you played the game against members of the Phobos Battalion. Endless mode allowed you to play as long as you could. Pokemon Trozei was very well received both critically and commercially.
Donkey Kong II was released in Game & Watch form on March 7th, 1983. This was developed by Nintendo R&D1 and was released as part of the Multi-screen series. There were two LCD screens that game play took place on. Donkey Kong Jr would have to touch a key on the bottom screen that moved to the top. Then he had to climb to the top screen and touch the key again before one of the four keyholes would unlock. Doing this four times would free Donkey Kong from his cage. When this happens you can then do it all over again, at a faster pace.
Have you ever wanted to take licensed cars from GM, Dodge, Mitsubishi and Lotus onto a track and fight with them? Well, the release of Racing Gears Advance for the GBA on March 8th, 2005 gave you that opportunity. Game play took place on tracks using an overhead view and there were twelve real-life cars from the previously mentioned companies. You would earn cash in each race that you could use to upgrade your car and buy weapons to generally cause havoc on the track. The game was very well received, staying among the Gamespot Top 5 GBA games for most of that year. It also did well enough at retail to earn a sequel, Racing Gears DS.
March 8th, 2010 was Download Day in North America. On that date Final Fantasy II, originally for the NES was released. The WiiWare service saw the release of Dracula: Undead Awakening and Max & The Magic Marker.
One of Konami’s most well loved franchises is Metal Gear Solid. This stealth action series debuted on the PS1 in September of 1998. Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes was a remake of the first game in the series and was released for the Nintendo GameCube on March 9th, 2004. Being a remake it featured many improvements over the original, including new cut scenes and graphical improvements. They also used some of the elements of game play from the sequel that didn’t appear on the Playstation version of the game. This game was first announced by Nintendo in 2003 with Silicon Knights handling the development. The voice of Solid Snake, David Hayter, convinced Konami to allow the original voice cast to reprise their roles and record new dialogue for the game. The game was very well received among critics who called it a faithful retelling of the original.
One of the most popular franchises released by Nintendo lately is the Smash Bros. franchise. This series is a crossover fighting series that stars a number of popular, and sometimes forgotten, Nintendo characters. Super Smash Bros. Brawl was released for the Nintendo Wii on March 9th, 2008. This game was announced at E3 2005 and was headed up by Masahiro Sakurai. Prior to the release of the game Sakurai and the development team released little updates through the Smash Bros. Dojo. They would show character art, release parts of the soundtrack and get people excited about the release of the game. The roster was increased to 35 characters and for the first time included two characters that were not created by Nintendo, Sonic and Solid Snake. The fighting engine was upgraded over the previous release and the characters were all given unique moves to set them apart from each other. The Wii release of the game added a very power, unique move for each character called a Final Smash. These moves were only able to be performed after attacking a flowing orb called the Smash Ball.
In addition to the traditional four player fighting Super Smash Bros. Brawl also included an extensive story mode that could be played by one or two players. Every character from the game was included and was intended to get people to use character that they may not normally use. Brawl also included the ability to fight with other players online for the first time in the series. Unfortunately the online portion of the game was hampered by lag issues and the use of Nintendo’s Friend Code system. Players were allowed to create their own fighting stages, take screenshots and upload these to the Vault to be shared with other players. As of August 1st, 2009 the ability to upload new assets was stopped. Super Smash Bros. Brawl was very well received with many people still spending hours fighting.
March 9th, 2009 was Download Day in North America. On that date Alex Kidd: the Lost Stars originally for the Sega Genesis was released. The WiiWare service saw the release of Gradius ReBirth.
The character Zelda, from the popular Nintendo franchise The Legend of Zelda, was named after the wife of author F. Scott Fitzgerald. March 10th, 1948 was the date that this woman was killed while being attended to at Highland Hospital in Asheville, NC. A fire broke out in the kitchen and traveled up the dumbwaiter shaft spreading to every floor in the building. She, along with eight other women were trapped and lost their lives in the fire.
March 10th is Mar10 Day around the world.
Mega Man & Bass was released for the Game Boy Advance on March 10th, 2003. This game was a spin-off of the original Mega Man franchise and starred both Mega Man and his rival Bass. Despite being rivals the two team up to put a stop to a new criminal named King who it trying to create an unstoppable army of robots. Like other games in the franchise you must defeat eight robot masters, take their powers and move on to the next enemy. It is eventually revealed that Dr. Wily is behind this new criminal and your adventure ultimately ends with a fight against the evil mad-scientist. The two robot heroes control very differently from each other. Mega Man plays very similarly to his previous appearances, but Bass has the ability to fire in seven different directions, although he must remain stationary while firing. He also has the ability to double jump and dash straight forward on the ground. Mega Man & Bass held to the traditions of the franchise and was considered one of the best action platformers ever to be released on the system.
March 10th, 2008 was Download Day in North America. On that date Puyo Puyo 2, originally for the Sega Genesis, and DoReMi Fantasy: Milon’s DokiDokie Adventure, originally for the SNES were released.
In 2006 former members of Capcom’s Clover Studios formed a new studio called Seeds, Inc that would eventually be renamed to Platinum Games Inc. In 2008 they announced a four game deal with Sega, who would publish those games. One of those games, MadWorld, was released for the Nintendo Wii on March 10th, 2009. The game is a 3D brawler that stars a character named Jack who is participating in a show called DeathWatch. This show has Jack being challenged to defeat a boss within a certain amount of time while creating massive amounts of carnage in a variety of ways. In order to fight the boss players had to be very creative with the way that they dispatched enemies. The more violent the death, the more points you scored. The game was most notable for its stylized black and white comic book appearance where the only other colors were yellow bits of text an the enormous amounts of red blood. Commentary for DeathWatch was provided by Greg Proops and John DiMaggio. The game was meant to show that M rated games could sell well on the Wii, but it would end up doing fairly poorly at retail and no sequel for the Wii has been announced though Jack will make an appearance in another Platinum developed game, Anarchy Reigns for the Xbox 360 and PS3.
Yoshi’s Story was released for the Nintendo 64 on March 12th, 1998 and was meant as a direct sequel to Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island. The game was developed by the team that created Yoshi’s Island and was one of the first EAD developed titles that was not supervised by Shigeru Miyamoto. The game had a traditional single player campaign that took place across a number of different levels and there were eight Yoshi’s to choose from at the beginning of each level. Each stage in the game had a number of collectibles to be obtained. These included three hearts, and a number of fruits, one of which was lucky to each of the different Yoshi’s. In order to finish each level you needed to collect 30 fruits before the end of the level would open up. Visually the game resembled many of the objects you would expect to see in a craft box. Yoshi’s Story also included support for the Nintendo 64 Rumble Pak. The game received very mixed reviews with many people citing the simplicity of the game play and the ability to skip large amounts of levels to complete the game.
March 12th, 2007 was Virtual Console Day in North America. On that date Tecmo Bowl for the NES, Sonic Spinball for the Sega Genesis and Double Dungeons for the TurboGrafx-16 were released.
So there you have it. It ended up being a pretty packed week with a lot of information to digest. I hope you enjoyed this little history lesson and you’ll come back next week. If you know of anything that we missed or that you know is coming up soon leave us a comment and let us know. We’ll do our best to include it in a future edition of the article.
Before we leave we have to talk about the games that hit store shelves in territories outside of North America.
2008 – Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (Wii, Japan)
2007 – Yoshi’s Island DS (Japan)
1996 – Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars (Sfam, Japan)
1999 – Mario Party (N64, Europe)
2007 – Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin (GBA, Europe)
2005 – Meteos (DS, Japan)
1995 – Chrono Trigger (Sfam, Japan)
2005 – DS launches in Europe
1987 – 3D World Runner (Fam, Japan)
2002 – 007: Agent Under Fire (GCN, Japan)
2004: Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles (GCN, Europe)