321: Pikmin

This is where you'll find threads specific to the games we're covering in Volume Six
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321: Pikmin

Post by JaySevenZero » December 31st, 2017, 4:30 pm

Here's where you can leave your thoughts regarding Pikmin for possible inclusion in the podcast when it's recorded.

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Re: 321: Pikmin

Post by fieldy » January 2nd, 2018, 9:53 pm

I got my first glimpse of Pikmin on a free orange VHS cassette given away on the front of what was then N64 magazine. I wasn’t really sure what to make of it, this was a new IP from Nintendo and in amongst the footage of Super Smash Bros Melee and Luigi’s mansion I quickly disregarded this Japanese curio.

A few months later as I was becoming a GameCube fanatic I managed to play Pikmin for the first time at a local CEX who had an import console and a copy of the game. The controls seemed slightly awkward and clunky but the games detailed environments and unique strategy elements had me very interested.

When Pikmin released not long after the European GC launch I took a chance and picked a copy up and to my surprise got very hooked. Not only did the environments look lush and detailed (I heard they mapped photos of Shigeru Miyamoto’s garden into the game!) but the gameplay kept me engrossed for many hours trying to judge how many of each colour of Pikmin to take out on daily adventures to tackle enemies or hunt for ship parts was very addictive. All this whilst desperately trying to avoid Pikmin losses (you never get over seeing there little ghosts float off into the afterlife!) A special mention must go to the soundtrack as well which kept me humming along for hours, I liked it so much so that I was to bought a copy on import and still listen to this day!

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Re: 321: Pikmin

Post by Jobobonobo » January 12th, 2018, 11:01 pm

Real time strategy was never my cup of tea. I find the sheer amount of multitasking super stressful and as such the genre was just too intimidating for me. Leave it to Nintendo then, to make such a niche genre more accessible to amateurs such as myself. Its combination of it being not only a new Nintendo IP but one created by Miyamoto alongside the cute story and beautiful natural setting piqued my curiosity. The inspiration Miyamoto got from observing the ants in his garden going about their business resonated with me greatly as the insect world is still a major source of fascination to me that I have had since childhood and playing with such miniature protagonists would give a fresh perspective that not many games explore.

The gameplay was just the introduction to real time strategy I needed. The pikmin are charming little creatures to control and the use of different coloured pikmin to navigate the environment and solve puzzles was pulled off in a very satisfying way. I could multitask here with no difficulties with one group breaking down a wall, another harvesting prey to make more pikmin and yet another gathering ship parts. The difficulty curve was satisfying with new challenges being introduced as you were getting used to the mechanics at a nice pace. The 30 day structure brought on that stressfulness that I usually associate with the genre but surprisingly I collected all the parts well within the time limit. Bosses were always fun to fight and like everyone else I was heartbroken seeing the little pikmin souls float away as they were crushed by some giant beast.

So seeing how I enjoyed Pikmin so much, have I now become more into real time strategy? Oddly, no. Aside from having steeper difficulty curves, I find the likes of Age of Empire, Command and Conquer and Starcraft also do not appeal to me from an aesthetic viewpoint. A large part of Pikmin's appeal was you controlling these cute tiny creatures surviving in the wilderness on a miniature scale. So I am a big fan of the series but I am still not into the RTS as a genre. Again that just seems to be Nintendo's way; taking nearly any genre and making it appeal more universal. So regardless if you are into RTS or not I would recommend Pikmin to anyone who wants to try something a little bit different. It is still to this day, one of Nintendo's more unusual franchises and is a great example of how unique the results are when Nintendo tries something a little outside its comfort zone.

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Re: 321: Pikmin

Post by Craig » February 5th, 2018, 11:55 am

Pikmin for me is a wonderfully charming and vibrant game that makes me "ooo" and "ahh" in wonder at it`'s playful spirit , but also turns me into an anxious nervous wreck. I've no problem with the time limit. On the contrary, it's a nice way to frame things, gives me the little kick I need to not dilly dally, and with a developer like Nintendo I was never in doubt that they gave me the time I needed.

The problem is the Pikmin. The heartwarming, naive, loyal Pikmin. There is so much character pushed into their designs with how they move and sound, you kind of start believing they are living things helping you. And you let them down. You always let them down.

I hate to see my Pikmin die. It sounds silly, but I get a knot in my stomach when I see that little Pikmin ghost and I know it's my fault. I don't care when Kratos falls to the hands of Zeus, or Mario plummets from another cliff to a grisly end because I am that character.

But with Pikmin, it's not me that's dying. It's these little guys who have placed their trust in me. Who work selflessly to help me get home. And it's my job to keep them safe. And I let them down.

The worst part is their death cry. It is not a scream of anguish, nor a yelp of pain, but their final breath is a gasp of mild disappointment.

I'm sorry guys.

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