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This Week in Nintendo History: March 13th to March 16th

March 13, 2011 1 comment

Howdy Howdy everyone and welcome to another edition of This Week in Nintendo History for the week of March 13th to March 19th. This week we’re going to see the release of a number of Pokemon titles, the knighthood one of our our favorite developers and more. Without wasting any more time let’s find out what’s happened during the upcoming week in history.

Pokemon Dash was a launch title for the Nintendo DS in both Japan and Europe, but for North America the game launched on March 13th, 2005. This pokemon themed racing game had you controlling Pikachu using the stylus on the touch screen. Different terrain types were featured in the game and would affect Pikachu in different ways, but powerups could be obtained which would let you run through those different types of terrain with no penalty. There were five main cups to be completed in the single player GP mode, but there were harder versions of those cups that could be unlocked. Pokemon Dash featured six player multi-cart play and could also connect to the GameBoy Advance versions of Pokemon Ruby, Sapphire, FireRed, LeafGreen and Emerald. This would allow you to race on tracks shaped like the pokemon that were on your different teams. The rated poorly overall with many people citing the ability only to play as Pikachu as one of the main problems of the game, the short length and the laziest use of the touch screen up to that point.

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This Week in Nintendo History: March 6th to March 12th

March 7, 2011 1 comment

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.

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This Week in Nintendo History: February 20th to February 26th

February 21, 2011 Leave a comment

We’re back, yet again, to take a look at the events that make up Nintendo’s history.  This week we’ll see the release of a new Sonic game, a couple of different Game & Watch titles and some downloadable offerings.

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This Week in Nintendo History: February 13th to February 19th

February 14, 2011 1 comment

You’re here because you want to know what’s happened in Nintendo’s history.  Well, you’ve come to the right place.  This week we’ll tak about kings, WiiWare games, spies and a lot of Virtual console games.  Your week isn’t complete until we’ve had a bit of a history lesson.  So without further ado.  Let’s find out what’s happened this week in Nintendo history.

Age of Empires has been a popular real time strategy franchise.  On February 14th, 2006 Age of Empires: The Age of Kings hit the Nintendo DS in North America.  You could play through the single player campaign as one of five races; the Britons, Franks, Mongols, Saracens and Japanese.  Each army has five types of unit; infantry, cavalry, range, siege, hero, some of which are unique to each race.  The hero units are the most powerful of these units.  Battles took place on a grid with the stylus controlling most of the commands given in the game.  Play generally began in the dark ages, but you were able to advance civilization through a number of ages by meeting certain requirements.  Fans of multiplayer action were able to take the competition to your friends in wireless play using multiple DS cartridges and systems.  The Age of Kings was received positively overall with a few issues that could hamper your experience such as the game freezing, or save data becoming corrupted.

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This Week in Nintendo History: February 6th to February 12th

February 7, 2011 1 comment

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.

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This Week in Nintendo History: January 9th to January 15th

January 10, 2011 1 comment

We’re back again for another look at some of the events that make up the history of Nintendo.  Monday is always a fun time for me.  These articles are usually a lot of fun to research.  This week we see one of the most popular games ever released on the GameCube making its debut, a Zelda game released, and much more.  We’re going to hop right into it.

Price drops are a big part of the gaming industry.  Games come down in price on a regular basis, but it’s usually a big deal when the consoles see official price drops.  January 9th, 1992 was the date that Nintendo dropped the price of both the Super Nintendo and the Game Boy in North America.  The SNES dropped in price from $199 to $179 while the Game Boy dropped from $89 to $79.

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This Week in Nintendo History: December 12th to December 18th

December 13, 2010 Leave a comment

Well, we’re back on a Monday, and just like the news for the last week there’s not much going on in the world of history.  We’ve only got three things to talk about and the biggest one is a Kirby release for the Game Boy. 

The super tough pink puff returned on December 12th, 1994 in Kirby’s Dream Land 2.  In this sequel to Kirby’s Dreamland and Kirby’s Adventure has Kirby taking on an evil being known as Dark Matter.  He’s possessed King Dedede and stolen the rainbows that connect the islands of Dreamland together and it’s up to Kirby to get them back.  This time he has three animal friends who will help him during his adventure.  Kirby’s Dreamland 2 has all the same features of the previous titles such as the ability to inhale enemies, but this time it’s compatible with the Super GameBoy giving the game a bit of a graphical upgrade if you have that device.  Kirby’s Dreamland 2 was very successful, selling over a million units worldwide.

The crew from Final Fantasy IV is back, this time in Final Fantasy IV Advance, which hit stores on December 12th, 2005.  This was a remake of the original Super Nintendo title, but featured graphical enhancements and some improvements to the game’s localization.  This new release featured two new dungeons that were not seen in the previous version as well as changes to the spell names to remove the number from the spells and giving them new names.

Our last release of the week was one of the more unique titles from the early Wii library.  Elebits was released by Konami on December 12th, 2006.  This game was what many called a first person shooter for kids.  In the game you, as a child named Kai, must find all the creatures known as Elebits hiding in various locations around your house.  In order to do this you used the Wii Remote as a Capture Gun that can moves objects in your house and collect the creatures by pointing at them.  Many of the levels were simply completed by trashing your house and finding all the creatures, but some gave you special conditions like not breaking more than a certain number of objects or keeping the noise level down below a certain point.  Many people compared the game to Katamari or Pikmin and it received fairly positive reviews.  There was a sequel to the game released on the DS.

That’s it for this week.  Not a lot happening, but it’s getting close to the holidays.  What games are you going to be playing over the Christmas break?  I’m hoping to get into Epic Mickey.  Before we leave for this week we have to take a look at the games that released outside of North America, and there are a lot of Donkey Kong games.  If you know of anything that we forgot, or that you would like to see included in a future edition of the article please let us know and we’ll make sure to get it in there as well.

December 12th

1983 – Donkey Kong Jr. Math (FAM, Japan)
2003 – Donkey Konga (GCN, Japan)
           Donkey Kong Country (GBA, Japan)

December 13th

1989 – Mega Man (NES, Europe)
2007 – Wii Zapper released (Australia)

December 14th

1991 – Yoshi (FAM, Japan)
1995 – Donkey Kong Country 2:  Diddy’s Kong Quest (SNES, Europe)
2000 – Pokemon Crystal (GBA, Japan)
2001 – Panasonic Q released (Japan)
2006 – Pokemon Battle Revolution (Wii, Japan)

December 15th

1987 – Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! (NES, Europe)

December 16th

1992 – Kirby’s Dream Land 2 (GB, Europe)
2004 – Donkey Kong Jungle Beat (GCN, Japan)

December 17th

1987 – Mega Man (FAM, Japan)
2009 – Nintendo Presents: Crossword Collection (DS, Australia)

December 18th

1987 – Final Fantasy (FAM, Japan)
1998 – Mario Party (N64, Japan)
            The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64, Australia)
2003 – Astro Boy: Omega Factor (GBA, Japan)
2009 – Nintendo Presents: Crossword Collection (DS, Europe)

This Week in Nintendo History: December 5th to December 11th

December 6, 2010 1 comment

We’re here on a Monday to talk about the events that make up the history of one of gaming’s biggest companies.  Everything from game releases to birthdays, company openings and more.  This week includes a big birthday wish to Nintendo’s president, and quite a few games.  We’re going to hop right in and not waste any time.

Pinball was part of the Game & Watch Multi-screen series and was released to the public on December 5th, 1983.  There were two sets of flippers, one on each screen.

Super Mario Strikers brought a crazy soccer style game to the denizens of the Mushroom Kingdom on December 5th, 2005 for the Nintendo GameCube.  The game was a high paced variation of soccer that allowed for full contact, power ups and multiple points per goal.  The teams were comprised of five players per side.  One character was the captain and a main character from the Mario franchise.  That character was joined by three secondary characters like Birdo or Toad and a Kritter from Donkey Kong Country as the goalie.  Each of the game’s various play surfaces, which could be anything from a typical soccer pitch to other themed pitches, was surrounded by an electric fence.  You could knock other players into that fence temporarily taking them out of the game.  The team captain was able to perform a “Super Strike”, which if successful would net their team two goals, rather than the traditional single goal.  Gameplay consisted of multiple tournaments across all the games environments with teams getting progressively harder as you performed better.  Next Level Games was in charge of the development of the game and brought some of the elements of one of their previous titles, NHL Hitz Pro, which gave the game an over the top feel.  The game was praised by critics for its multiplayer gameplay, but the single player was described by a few as boring and repetitive.

Alongside the release of Super Mario Strikers, the Game Boy Advance received its own sports title, Mario Tennis: Power Tour.  This game, a sequel to the Game Boy Color’s Mario Tennis was developed by Camelot and featured gameplay similar to that previous game.  You could create spin on your shots as well as use Offensive and Defensive Power Shots which greatly increase the speed of your shot.  The game follows the player as they wake up in a mysterious place to be told that they’ve enrolled in the Royal Tennis Academy.  They’re paired up with another player and compete to become the school’s best double tennis team.  Then they meet other characters from the Mario universe and compete in tournaments to become the greatest single tennis player in the world.  The game received a lot of praise for its leveling up system allowing players to perform better as they move further in the tournaments.

December 5th, 2005 saw the release Animal Crossing: Wild World for the Nintendo DS.  Gameplay in this portable Animal Crossing was similar to the GameCube predecessor, but took advantage of many of the DS’ unique abilities, such as the touch screen and multiple displays.  In the game you maintained a small town, helping residents with tasks and collecting bells, the game’s currency.  Because the DS has built in Wi-Fi abilities you were able to visit other player’s towns, send them messages and leave them gifts.  It made for a truly interactive experience.  Animal Crossing: Wild World was almost universally praised and many consider it to be the best release in the franchise to date.

December 5th, 2006 was the day that Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin hit store shelves.  This was the second game in the series released on the DS and the first to feature co-operative multiplayer play.  Portrait of Ruin is set in 1944 Europe during World War II, and is a continuation of the story from Castlevania: Bloodlines.  The game saw you, as Jonathan Morris or Charlotte Aulin taking down the vampire Brauner.  Each character had unique powers that could be combined with devastating effects.  Anyone that pre-ordered the game received a 20th Anniversary Pre-order bundle which included a sleeve with a plastic seal of the Castlevania logo, a CD soundtrack and a timeline poster.  The game was praised overall, with very few exceptions.

The current President of Nintendo, Satoru Iwata, was born on December 6th, 1959 in Sapporo, Japan.  He is only the 4th man to hold the President’s office for Nintendo and he also serves as the companies CEO.  Interestingly he is the first man to hold the office that wasn’t related to the Yamauchi family through either birth or marriage.  He was a huge reason behind Nintendo’s success following the launch of the GameCube where they saw a 41% increase in sales for the 2002 fiscal year and the man behind Nintendo’s Wii and DS systems.  Before becoming the President of Nintendo Mr. Iwata worked for HAL Laboratories in the early 80’s, at one time serving as that companies President. While there he was partly responsible for the Balloon Fight, Earthbound and Kirby series’.

December 6th, 2004 was when Mario Party 6 was released.  In the game, two characters known as Brighton and Twila were arguing over who was more popular.  Mario decides that the best way to solve the problem is to hold a contest.   They decide to collect stars and the winner will be the one with the most stars.  This means that Mario and the cast of more than 10 characters will hold a mini-game fest, yet again in order to obtain stars.  This game was different in that it featured a day/night cycle that would rotate every three turns causing different things to happen to the rules of the game or the situation on the game board itself.  Mario Party 6 featured over 80 original mini-games and was the first game to come packaged with the GameCube microphone.

Kirby temporarily received a touch screen makeover in 2005 with Kirby Canvas Curse.  Series developer HAL Laboratories went back to Kirby’s roots for Kirby’s Squeak Squad, which was released on December 6th, 2006.  This game featured traditional Kirby game play using the DS face buttons.  In the game Kirby has just settled down to eat a nice piece of strawberry shortcake when it suddenly vanishes.  Kirby suspects King Dedede, but after the first level he discovers it is actually the work of the Squeak Squad, a group of thieving mice and Kirby hunts them down to retrieve his stolen cake.  It was received fairly well by critics, but was criticized for its unoriginal game play elements and unnecessary use of the touch screen.

December 7th, 2009 was the date of release for The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks for the Nintendo DS.  This was the follow up to the previous DS entry, The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass and takes place 100 years after the events of that game.  Link is on his way to becoming a certified train engineer, but members of the royal circle believe it to be a waste because the Spirit Tracks that criss cross the world are disappearing.  Zelda believes something is causing this and asks Link for help.  During the early investigation Link and Zelda are ambushed by Cole who reveals himself to be a demon.  He uses dark magic to remove Zelda’s spirit from her body.  Link and Zelda begin the quest to return the Spirit Tracks and return Zelda’s spirit to her body.  The gameplay follows that of Phantom Hourglass, using the touch screen almost exclusively to move, attack and explore the world.  Spirit Tracks was universally praised, with many people enjoying the fact that the game wasn’t just the usual save the princess story that they’d seen so many times before.  Gameplay was improved over its predecessor. 

Beyond Good & Evil hit North American shores on December 11th, 2003.  This game follows martial arts expert and investigative journalist Jade as she attempts to uncover a worldwide conspiracy.  In her quest to uncover the truth she had help from the boar-like human Pey’j and a spy known as Double H.  The game was an action adventure game mixed with a bit of stealth.  Jade could take on enemies in a direct assault or attempt to get around them by using stealth.  The main “weapon” that Jade is armed with was her trusty camera which she used to collect evidence to uncover the conspiracy.   The game was well received by fans and critics, enough so that a sequel was announced in 2007 with gameplay footage being shown during the Ubidays event in 2008.  The game has been the subject of on again, off again rumors, but is still scheduled for release at some point in the future.

That’s it for us this week.  We’ll be back again next week with more history to discover.  If you know of anything we’ve missed, or anything coming up that you’d like to see featured let us know and we’ll do our best to include it.  Before we leave we’ve got to check out the events that happened elsewhere in the world.

December 5th 

1994 – Kirby’s Dream Land 2 (GB, Japan)
2008 – Fire Emblem Shadow Dragon (DS, Europe)

December 6th

1999 – Donkey Kong 64 (N64, Europe)
2007 – Metroid Prime Hunters (DS, South Korea)
           Mario Party DS (DS, Australia)
           No More Heroes (Wii, Japan)

December 7th

2006 – Wii Released (Australia)
2007 – Pokemon Battle Revolution (Wii, Europe)
            Wii Zapper & Link’s Crossbow Training (Wii, Europe)

December 8th

2005 – Mario Kart DS (DS, Japan)
2006 – Wii Released (Europe)

December 9th

2004 – Yoshi Topsy Turvy (GBA, Japan)
2005 – Battlalion Wars (GCN, Europe)

December 10th

1992 – Mario Paint (SNES, Europe)
            Yoshi (NES, Europe)
1999 – Donkey Kong 64 (N64, Japan)
2009 – The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks (DS, Australia)

December 11th

1998 – The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64, Europe)
1999 – Mario Artist: Paint Studio (N64, Japan)
2009 – the Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks (DS, Europe)

This Week in Nintendo History: November 28th to December 4th

November 29, 2010 Leave a comment

November is ending.  The Thanksgiving turkey has been carved, and many of us probably have our Christmas trees up in anticipation of the upcoming holiday.  Meanwhile Nintendo and their third parties have been releasing games.  We’re going to talk about all the ones that have been released during this week in Nintendo’s past.  So loosen up those belts and let both the turkey and history have some room to settle.

Tetris was created by Russian Alexy Pajitnov in the 80’s and has become one of the most famous puzzle games of all time.  If there’s been a device that can play games, there’s a good chance that Tetris has probably appeared on it.  One of the more unique versions of the game actually had little to do with the popular puzzle game.  Tetris Attack was released for the Super Nintendo on November 28th, 1996.  This game was a port of a Japanese game called Panel de Pon, and was part of the Puzzle League series.  Tetris Attack had players combining colored blocks in groups of three or more to remove them from the screen, and this could be done horizontally or vertically.  Combos would be made if falling blocks caused more groups to be removed from play.  The game ended when the blocks reached the top of the screen, the player cleared a required number of blocks, or removed all of the blocks above a set line.  To make the game fit better onto a Nintendo platform all of the environments and characters in the game were based on designs from the Yoshi’s Island series.  Because the game actually had very little to do with the Tetris franchise, the head of Tetris Company, Henk Rogers, has actually regretted letting Nintendo use the name on the game.  It was very well received critically and commercially and has been remade numerous times since its original release.

Mario & Luigi have done it all in the 25+ years that they’ve been around.  One of my series of games starring the plumbing duo is the Mario & Luigi RPG series.  November 28th, 2005 saw the release of my favorite game in the franchise, Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time.  This was the second release in the franchise and the first for them on the dual screened Nintendo DS.  Princess Peach has been kidnapped by an alien race known as the Shroobs.  Professor E. Gadd has created a time machine powered by a device called the Cobalt Star.  It was presented to Peach, who enters it, but fails to return.  It’s discovered that she was kidnapped during her trip to the past and the brothers enter the time machine to find her.  While on their search they run into the baby versions of themselves and team up to locate Princess Peach and defeat the Shroobs who have invaded the Mushroom Kingdom of the past.  The game uses a two dimensional, isometric view for the majority of the gameplay.  At different points the duos can be split up with older Mario & Luigi occupying the bottom screen, while the babies take the action to the top screen.  Each character has a specific button that all of their actions are mapped to.  The battle system is the traditional turn based battle system of the franchise.  The biggest difference this time, though, is that the Bro attacks, normally only performed by two characters can be performed by all four.  The game proved to be hugely popular and was continued with a sequel, known as Bowser’s Inside Story, released in 2009.

The fourth installment of the Mario Party franchise, Mario Party 4, hit store shelves on November 29th, 2002.  This was the first game in the series to launch for Nintendo’s GameCube.  It featured eight playable characters to choose from and six game boards to play on.  The game followed the traditional Mario Party game play style where each character takes turns rolling a numbered die to determine how far they move each turn.  After every character has moved a mini-game is played and can be altered depending on the type of spaces the characters landed on.  Each of the mini-games could be played in a free play mode, as long as they’d been unlocked previously during play.  This game was received with mixed reviews among critics.  Many praised the different mini-games, but criticized the game for lack of originality.

The last episode of the Super Mario Bros. Super Show would air on December 1st, 1989.  The show starred WWF superstar Cpt. Lou Albano as Mario and Danny Wells as Luigi.  It would feature guest appearances from many celebrities like Magic Johnson, Cyndi Lauper and Sgt. Slaughter, also from the WWF.  This concluded the show’s entire run of 65 episodes.

Star Tropics was one of the few NES games that was developed specifically for a western audience and never intended to be released in Japan.  The game hit North American shores on December 1st, 1990.  This Zelda style RPG saw main character Mike Jones traveling to a tropical island to visit his uncle, Dr. J.  When he arrives on C-Island he discovers his uncle is missing and he sets out to find him.  Unlike many similar RPGs Star Tropics follows a very linear storyline and there is very little open exploration of the top down 2D world.  Mike is initially armed only with a Yo-Yo, but can later upgrade to use additional weapons.  One of the more unique features of the game was the inclusion of a letter in the games package that at one point, players would actually have to dip in water to reveal clues to further the story.  That has been changed in subsequent digital releases of the game to a digital letter that you can dip into a digital bucket.  It was a very immersive experience for the time.  RPG fans regard Star Tropics as one of the best games released on the NES.

Hit the slopes with 1080 Avalanche on the GameCube.  This snowboard racer was released by Nintendo on December 1st, 2003.  It was a sequel to 1080 Snowboarding on the Nintendo 64, but focused more on racing rather than tricks.  Each rider in the game had boards that were unique to them and you could unlock additional boards through gameplay.  The game was originally going to be called 1080: White Storm, but the name was changed before release.

December 2nd, 2001 was a day of huge releases for Nintendo.  Their first release that day was Super Smash Bros. Melee.  This follow-up to 1999’s Super Smash Bros. introduced us to 26 characters, which was 14 more than the original game.  Some of the newcomers were Bowser, Falco, Ganondorf, Marth, Mr. Game & Watch, and Peach.  The game featured a single player experience called Adventure Mode where you traveled through levels in a platform style game.  Many of the areas in that mode had characters fighting through familiar areas against familiar enemies.  It also was the cause in the rise of popularity of franchises like Fire Emblem, which hadn’t been released outside of Japan prior to the game’s release.  Super Smash Bros. Melee features a wide variety of music from many of Nintendo’s most popular franchises and people like it so much that a soundtrack featuring over 60 minutes of music was released in January of 2003.

The other big release on that day was Pikmin.  This game famously came about because of Mario creator, Shigeru Miyamoto’s love of gardening.  Pikmin is a 3D strategy game where you control the character known as Olimar.  He is followed around by the titular Pikmin who have different abilities based on their color.  Olimar’s ship has crashed and he needs to use these new friends to help him recover parts to his damaged ship so he can leave the planet.  The biggest part of the game revolves around a time mechanic.  Olimar has 30 days to recover 25 pieces of his ship, with each day lasting about 15 minutes in real time.  IF he’s successful the ship is repaired and he blasts off into space.  If not, then he dies from oxygen poisoning.  This mechanic was widely criticized and because of that it was removed for the sequel.  Pikmin was re-released in March of 2009 for the Wii under the New Play Control banner.  The controls for the game were reworked to allow you to use the Wii Remote’s pointer to control much of the action on the screen.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past & Four Swords was released for the GameBoy Advance on December 2nd, 2002.  This was a re-release of the popular SNES adventure game, with the inclusion of the new multi-player Zelda game Four Swords.  Once a profile was created for a player it was available in both games.  A Link to the Past was virtually unchanged from the SNES version of the game, with the exception of being able to see more area on the screen at one time.  The new Four Swords multi-player game allowed up to four people to play a Zelda game at the same time. Each player controlled a version of Link, distinguished by the color of their tunic.  There are four basic maps to choose from for gameplay.  While most gameplay elements are identical to A Link to the Past there are some sections that require co-operation among the players in order to complete. 

Kirby temporarily received a touch screen makeover in 2005 with Kirby Canvas Curse.  Series developer HAL Laboratories went back to Kirby’s roots for Kirby’s Squeak Squad, which was released on December 4th, 2006.  This game featured traditional Kirby game play using the DS face buttons.  In the game Kirby has just settled down to eat a nice piece of strawberry shortcake when it suddenly vanishes.  Kirby suspects King Dedede, but after the first level he discovers it is actually the work of the Squeak Squad, a group of thieving mice and Kirby hunts them down to retrieve his stolen cake.  It was received fairly well by critics, but was criticized for its unoriginal game play elements and unnecessary use of the touch screen. 

That’s all we’ve got for this week.  As always if there’s anything that you know of that we’ve missed, or you know of coming up in the future let us know and we’ll do our best to include it in a future edition of the article.  Before we leave, though, we need to acknowledge all of the releases that happened outside of the United States.

November 28th

1996 – Donkey Kong Land 2 (Europe)
2003 – F-Zero GP Legend (GBA, Japan)
2008 – Animal Crossing: Let’s Go to the City (Wii, Europe)

November 29th

2007 – Super Mario Galaxy (Wii, Australia)

November 30th

1984 – ExciteBike (Fam, Japan)
1992 – Kirby’s Adventure (Fam, Japan)

December 1st

1995 – Virtual Boy Wario Land (VB, Japan)
2005 – Metroid Prime Pinball (DS, Australia)
            Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door (GCN, South Korea)
           Donkey Kong Country 3 (GBA, Japan)
2006 – Yoshi’s Island DS (DS, Europe)

December 2nd

2004 – Nintendo DS launches in Japan
           Metroid Prime 2: Echoes (GCN, Australia)

2006 – Wii launches in Japan, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Wii, Japan)

December 3rd

2009 – New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Wii, Japan)

This Week in Nintendo History: November 21st to November 27th

November 22, 2010 1 comment

It’s Monday, once again, and that means it’s time to take a peek at all the events that make up the history of the company we call Nintendo.  This week isn’t nearly as action packed as last week was, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less important.  After the three new systems we saw a week ago we’ve got one more to talk about and we’ll get to that first.

On November 21st, 2004 Nintendo launched a new handheld system that was supposed to live along side the Game Boy.  The Nintendo DS did so well that it eventually replaced the Game Boy altogether.  The new system included some conventions that hadn’t been seen in a portable system with the inclusion of a two screens to display game information.  In addition to that the bottom screen was touch sensitive, which would lead to some very unique ways to play games.  The DS was announced on January 20th, 2004 with DS being used as the system’s codename.  That codename was eventually changed to Nitro in March, but when it was unveiled to the world at E3 2004 it had been changed back to DS.

The system was roughly equivalent in power to the Nintendo 64 and featured a button layout identical to the Super Nintendo.  It would use a cart that was similar to previous handheld systems, but significantly smaller in size.  It also featured backwards compatibility with the GBA through the second game slot on the front of the system.  Later iterations of the system would remove that functionality.  There have been hundreds of games released for the system.  Since it’s launch it’s sold more than 135 million units.

Alongside the release of the DS was that of Super Mario 64 DS.  This remake of the N64 launch title would launch the DS as well.  It took Mario out of the role of main protagonist and entered Yoshi in his place.  By accessing different hats located throughout the levels players could transform into Mario, Luigi, or Wario to help in the quest to rescue Princess Peach from Bowser.  There were new mini-games and multiplayer modes for up to four players to enjoy.  The game overhauled the visual style to show the new processing power of the system and used the touchscreen for some functions.  One of the biggest complaints that people had with the game was the lack of analog stick that was featured on the N64 and not present on the DS.  Despite the complaints the game fared very well both critically and at retail.

The man who started it all, Fusajiro Yamauchi, was born on November 22nd, 1860.  During the year 1889 he started the company, then known as Nintendo Koppai, making hanafuda playing cards from the bark of mulberry trees.  Initially he sold the cards in two locations, but because of their success he eventually had to hire more people and the company grew from there.  He would run Nintendo, as President, from the beginning in 1889 until he retired in 1929.  His son-in-law Sekiryo Kaneda took over the company, took on the Yamauchi surname, and ran the company until 1949.

Racing fans got a bit of a different look at kart racing on November 24th, 2007 with the release of Diddy Kong Racing DS, for the Nintendo DS.  This was an enhanced remake of the original Diddy Kong Racing for the Nintendo 64.  You had the option of racing not only in go karts, but also airplanes and hovercraft.  These different vehicles had differing strengths and weaknesses allowing you to choose different racing styles depending on the track.  There were 12 racers to choose from, some exclusive to the DS, while others from the N64 version of the game were not present.  All of the tracks returned, with some receiving minor changes from the previous version.  Unlike the Mario Kart franchise, there was an actual storyline that you were playing through linking all of the races together.  An evil wizard, named Wizpig has tried to take over the island and the only way to defeat him is through a series of races.

The Nintendo Nsider forums were opened on November 24th, 2003.  These were message boards where Nintendo fans could log on and get support help and generally talk about everything going on in the world of Nintendo.  The forums remained open until September of 2007 when the forums were closed for good.

November 24th, 2008 saw the release of Cooking Mama: World Kitchen for the Nintendo Wii. This was the fourth release in the popular mini-game franchise, and the second to be released on the Wii.  The game has players cooking a large variety of recipes by performing a series of actions in mini-games.  These different actions would then combine together to form the final dish, which you would be rated on.  While the series started, and is most popular, on the DS, the Wii version has you performing more realistic actions for things like slicing and chopping food.  This game featured two player co-operative modes, in addition to the traditional single player experience and was better received than the previous iteration on Wii.  Since the release of this game there have been no other games featuring the popular Mama character in the kitchen, but in 2010 there was a new game released on the Wii where she took on the role of a babysitter.

Donkey Kong Country Returns may be hitting Wii this month, but we wouldn’t be getting that game without the release of Donkey Kong Country for the Super Nintendo on November 25th, 1994.  This game, developed by Rare, had Donkey Kong and Diddy running through 40 levels of side scrolling action.  It featured pre-rendered graphics, giving the Super Nintendo a pseudo 3D effect.  There were letters scattered throughout all of the levels that would give Donkey Kong new life if they were all collected.  Bananas also gave him additional lives if enough were collected.  As long as both DK and Diddy are on the screen at the same time the player could switch between them at will and if one died, the other could continue on in the level.  It’s been one of the most popular games ever developed by RARE and set the stage for many games featuring the primate.  The distinctive look of Donkey Kong was created for this game and remains today.  As part of Nintendo’s marketing for the game subscribers to Nintendo Power were sent a 15 minutes long VHS tape that showed a tour of Nintendo’s offices and also parts of the game during development.  It was re-released for the Game Boy Color in 2000 and for the GBA in 2003.  The Super Nintendo release of the game was made available for download on Nintendo’s Virtual Console service in 2007.

The fifth game to star Nintendo’s pink puff of power, Kirby, hit store shelves on November 27th, 1997 for the Super Nintendo.  Kirby’s Dream Land 3 was the last first party game released for the SNES in North America, and was never released in Europe or Australia.  The game followed similar styles of previous Kirby games where all of Kirby’s abilities remain in tact.  In Kirby’s Dream Land 3 Kirby can summon a helper character named Gooey who has abilities similar to him.  This character can be controlled by a second player for co-op gameplay and can be inhaled be Kirby to recover the two health points he lost to summon him.  It was criticized because it was released so close to Kirby Super Star and didn’t use that game’s visual style, but Kirby fans liked the gameplay.

That’s all we have for you this week.  We’ll be back again next week with another edition of the video feature for you to enjoy.  Let us know what you think of the article.  If there’s anything coming up that you want to see added, or know of anything that we missed, let us know and we’ll make sure it gets included in a future edition of the article.  Before we go, though, we have to take a look at the games that made it to retail on foreign shores.

November 21st

1987 – Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! (NES, Japan)
1990 – Super Famicom released (Japan)
1991 – The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SFam, Japan)
1999 – Pokemon Gold, Pokemon Silver (GB, Japan)
2000 – Sin & Punishment: Successor of the Earth (N64, Japan)
2001 – Super Smash Bros. Melee (GCN, Japan)
2002 – Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire (GBA, Japan)
2003 – Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga (GBA, Japan & Europe)
2009 – Nintendo DSi XL releases

November 22nd

1984 – Clu Clu Land (Fam, Japan)
2002 – Metroid Fusion (GBA, Europe)
2007- Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games (Wii, Japan & Australia)

November 23rd

1998 – Game Boy Color released (Europe)
2005 – Animal Crossing Wild World (NDS, Japan)

November 24th

1994 – Donkey Kong Country (SNES, Europe)
2007 – Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games (Wii, Europe)

November 25th

2005 – Kirby Canvas Curse, Mario Kart DS (NDS, Europe)

November 26th

1988 – Zelda II: The Adventure of Link (NES, Europe)
1994 – Donkey Kong Country (SFam, Japan)
2004 – Metroid Prime 2: Echoes (GCN, Europe)

November 27th

1987 – The Legend of Zelda (NES, Europe)

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