Events of Y2K
This year saw
more action than a Bruce Li film. We saw new games. We
saw fierce competition. We saw new, old, and the future.
And we saw losses. Here, in as cronological an order as
possible, is this years events.
The Nintendo 64 suffered poor success in the Japanese
market from the start, and has never fully recovered.
They spent most of the N64's lifetime relying on the
success of Pokemon and the Game Boy Color. But 2000 was
definetly the year for the N64. First, Nintendo dominated
the market with the release of Kirby 64, outselling even
the new PS2. Nintendo later topped the charts with Mario
Tennis, the multiplayer smash, and later Zelda: Majora's
Mask. And Nintendo would not end the year quietly, with
both Game Boy Color and the N64 managing to dominate the
Japanese charts in December.
As early as
1999, Nintendo began dropping hints about the future of
their consoles and the games to come with them. In early
Y2K, E3 brought us the first media from the Game Boy
Advance, the future of handheld gaming. Nintendo's 8-bit
wonder, the Game Boy, has seen over a decade of gaming
and has become one of the most successful consoles in
history (quite the feat, all things considered). But
technology is going beyond the Game Boy, and it is time
to move on. Fear not. Game Boy Advance's future is
brighter than ever, and may have as many as a hundred
launch titles at it's arsenel!
Not until Space World did we see the long-awaited
unveiling of Nintendo's future consoles. We saw the first
ever media of the Gamecube, Nintendo's 128-bit system
coming to us in 2K1, and it was nothing short of
spectacular. Some old favorites made their long-awaited
appearances, and can only leave us to wonder what their
futures will hold.
Nintendo's mascot spent 2000 branching into unknown
territory. Though his newest big adventure, Paper Mario,
was still in the works and was forced back to a 2001
release, we did see him in a unique take on a classic
sport. Like Mario Golf before it, Mario Tennis featured
the plumber and his pals in friendly competition. But
this game featured something that Mario Golf didn't -
fast action. Unlike the slow-paced Golf, this game kept
players on their toes. It also featured the return of
Daisy, a character long missing from the scene, and
Waluigi, Wario's brother, owing to an extreme dislike for
the younger sibling of Mario. Speaking of Mario's
brother, Luigi was also featured in Gamecube's software
preview under the title Luigi's Mansion. We also glimpsed
more of the plumber in the Gamecube preview movie, and
the entire crew in Mario Kart Advance, a launch title for
GBA. 2001 will hold more in the futures of all these
This year saw Link in a new epic tale. The Legend of
Zelda: Majora's Mask, continued the adventures of the
elven hero. While pursuing a mysterious thief, Link found
himself trapped in a mirror universe where all was not
well. Not one to turn down a quest, Link took it upon
himself to save this strange world from their falling
moon. Though it seemed as though his quest would be
limited to three days to save the world, he was able to
utilize his Ocarina to travel back in time and keep time
from running out. But that was not all. We later saw Link
featured in Nintendo's Gamecube software preview. All
that could be said was wow!
It has been a long time since we last saw Samus, galactic
bounty hunter of lore. Last known to be on Zebes in
pursuit of the last Metroid, Samus Aran narrowly escaped
the destruction of the planet. Her current status and
whereabouts are unknown. That is, until recently...
Nintendo featured the bounty hunter in their Gamecube
software trailor. Immediately denying the existance of
any Metroid game, Nintendo tried to keep things quiet.
However, Retro Studios, the creators of the Samus
trailor, did not. Retro first hinted at their involvement
with Metroid when they posted Metroid material on their
site. Nintendo immediately ordered it removed, but Retro
missed one crucial page. It seems as though Samus will be
returning, and soon.
The year's biggest event for the pink puff was the
release of Kirby 64: the Crystal Shards. The newest
chapter in the Kirby story, the game begins by sending
the rotund hero on a quest to help a lone fairy. Little
did he know that Dark Matter had returned to Popstar,
taking control of his best friends, Waddle-Dee and
Adeline, as well as one of his greatest rivals, King
Dedede. After rescuing his companions, the five set out
to retake the entire solar system from Dark Matter,
ultimately confronting the creature itself. This game
added a rare side-scrolling title to the N64 library. But
unlike both Yoshi's Story and Paper Mario, both of which
utilize the 2-D look, Kirby 64 showed itself fully
rendered. But what took place after it's release was
unprecedented. For nearly a month, Kirby dominated the
Japanese sales charts, outselling every PS2 game combined
as well as the consol itself.
Pokemon is still as strong as ever in Japan, who saw the
release of Pokemon Crystal, the latest edition to the
Japanese library. Though that version isn't leaving Japan
anytime soon, the west saw a decent amount of Pokemon all
the same. Early into the year, the long-awaited Pokemon
Stadium hit the shelves, and for some time dominated the
sales charts. But an even more anticipated game was on
it's way. And in September, Pokemon Gold and Silver made
it's debut. It featured 100 monsters new outside of
Japan, as well as improvements over the previous titles.
But the Pokemon gang was not done yet. Pokemon Puzzle
League came to the N64. Though the game was pretty much
Tetris Attack meets the Pokemon liscense, it has been a
while since we saw a TA game, and another addition was
welcome. Finally, in November, Nintendo released another
long-awaited title, Hey You, Pikachu! Backed by the VR
Headset, the game put you in charge of Pikachu, who would
take direct vocal commands through the accessory.
One of the years biggest surprises (and dissapointments)
came from the cancellation of Earthbound 64. The second
title of the series (third in Japan) was finally
cancelled because the programmers did not have the time
and resources needed in order to debug and release the
game. Fans were furious and very upset. A chance still
remains that another Earthbound title will be released on
the Gamecube, but for now, the series is at a standstill.
This year, DK saw a classic title released on a classic
system. The Game Boy Color edition of DKC pushed the
system as far as it would go. A perfect port of the
revolutionary SNES game, DKC's staying power proved
itself in this title. DK was also featured in the
upcoming GBA game, Mario Kart Advance.
2000 saw a hiatus of the green dinosaur. Nintendo,
however, would not let him go unnoticed, producing a GBA
version of Yoshi's Story to demonstrate the upcoming
system's power. Whether or not the game will appear on
GBA hasn't been confirmed, but Nintendo is known for
keeping things quiet...
With the exception of Star Fox, Captain Falcon and the
menegerie of F-Zero racers remained the most quiet of all
Nintendo's franchises. But fans would not be left in the
dark. A new F-Zero title is in the works for the Game Boy
Advance, with the big N sticking the first screenshot of
the game in Nintendo Power.