2004 was a great year for Nintendo. From start to finish, we had a non-stop surge of great moments. We had the DS, we had news of the new Legend of Zelda, and we even had a couple new Mario games. But what were the absolute best things about this year? No need to worry, because NintendoSpin has recorded them all. Without further adieu, I’d like to present the Top 10 Nintendo Moments of 2004:
10. Metal Gear Meets Miyamoto
Well, not really, but Cube fans did get ports of the fantastic Metal Gear Solid franchise. The bundle called Twin Snakes not only included the original, but also the gameplay from it’s sequel: Sons of Liberty. With new voice work, a gameplay face-lift, and a bargain-bin price tag, Twin Snakes is the stealth game we’ve been waiting on for a long time.
9. It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! No, it’s Pikmin 2!
That’s right, the highly underrated 2001 strategy game got a sequel this summer with Pikmin 2. With a great multiplayer mechanic, the stripping of a time limit, and yet another helping of great gameplay, Miyamoto does it again. This time, he claims, the idea came from gardening. Is there anything that won’t inspire this guy?
8. Soaring Again with Two Tales
Let’s face it; the GameCube has never been the “it-console” of Role Playing Games. However, thanks for the folks at Namco, we were able to experience two of the best RPGs to be released this generation: Tales of Symphonia and Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean. The former was an exciting romp through an incredibly stylized cel-shaded world with lush characters, a great story, and the best real-time combat engine ever to be released. Baten Kaitos was another highly anticipated title, taking us to a world in the sky with winged inhabitants, jaw-dropping visuals, and engrossing gameplay. These two games are great additions to any gamer’s library, and give off a nice feeling of nostalgia back to the days when Nintendo’s SNES was the RPG King.
7. How Samus Got Her Groove Back
Fans rejoice! The 2002 opus known as Metroid Prime received a second outing this holiday season with Prime 2: Echoes. Samus must now restore peace to a world split in half: one side light, the other dark. It is through her travels that she’ll even find a dark version of herself. There isn’t any Samus-on-Samus action, but you fanboys will be able to take great pleasure in blowing alien scum to pieces in two different dimensions. Screw Attack, indeed.
6. Mama Mia! It’s A’ Mario!
This guy’s always been pretty popular, but 2004 truly has been The Year of the Mario. With Mario Pinball, Mario Power Tennis, Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door, Mario vs. Donkey Kong, and Super Mario 64 DS, we couldn’t help but be smothered by the pudgy little plumber. And he sure is a charmer with those sexy blue overalls.
5. Kickin’ Your Ass! Takin’ Your Name! Who Am I? Reggie Fils-Aime!
Nintendo Pre-E3 Press Conference got a much needed injection of bravado this year when the new Vice President of Marketing gave the infamous “Kicking Ass, Taking Names” speech. This man was Reggie Fils-Aime. Touting Nintendo’s famous innovative tendencies and the raging success of the GBA SP, Nintendo fans’ chests were never as puffed outward. Yeah, that’s the pride.
4. Viva La Revolution!
Nintendo President Satoru Iwata announced that work on the next generation of hardware has already started for the company, and that this new console will surely spark “a gaming revolution.” As such, gamers have now tagged the new system Codename Revolution. While specs have yet to be released, we can all be sure that the Revolution will at least carry on what Nintendo has released for over a decade: great games.
3. The Trailer Seen ‘Round the World
At E3 2004, Nintendo was supposed to debut a sequel to the 2003 hit, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. The year before, fans had eaten up the great gameplay and cool cel-shaded, toon-like effects. Instead of this, though, a different type of Zelda was shown. Yes, kiddies, this one was drastically different. We saw a mature Link, one reminiscent of 1998′s Ocarina of Time; a game widely referred to as the greatest ever made. Someone’s got big shoes to fill, huh? No need to worry, though, as game-making genius Shigeru Miyamoto is involved, and as we all know, anything he touches turns to pure gaming gold. Look for this game in the spring of 2005.
2. An Old Dog Really Can Learn New Tricks!
Well, folks, the wait is over. Nintendo is finally going online. In an interview with Famitsu Magazine (a popular Japanese publication), Shigeru Miyamoto revealed that next generation Nintendo will be fully embracing online gaming. What does this mean for our favorite franchises? Will Mario be going MMO? Will Link team up with a Goron online to save Zelda? All will be revealed in due time…
1. Nintendo’s Touch-And-Stay
The Game Boy has been around for a while, and while it has steadily grown in popularity since its debut, not much has changed other than the addition of color in the late nineties and more power with the Game Boy Advance. Always thinking of something new, we got a new handheld this year, but it wasn’t the Game Boy we’ve all grown up with. Instead, it was an entirely new pillar of Nintendo muscle. Featuring two screens, touch-responsive technology, and improved visuals, I couldn’t be talking about anything other than the DS. Since its inception in late November, the handheld console has already sold in the millions, and will likely sell more as its lifespan goes on.
And that’s this year, folks. Truly a great one, we can only hope for more with 2005. I think we’ll be in good shape, though. With great games to look forward to like Resident Evil 4, Geist, Advance Wars GCN, Fire Emblem GCN, and the new Legend of Zelda, I’d say 2005 should be the best gaming year yet. Until then, though:
Cheers to 2004!