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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 Future of Nintendo:
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 characters.

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.

Donkey Kong:
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

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.

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