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Logo used for the first two games in the series
October 26, 2001
|Latest release||Pikmin 3
July 13, 2013
Pikmin (ピクミン Pikumin?) is a real-time strategy video game series designed by Shigeru Miyamoto and developed by Nintendo. The games focus on directing a horde of plant-like creatures called Pikmin, which are used to collect items, destroy obstacles, and fight giant monsters.
The series currently features three entries. Pikmin and Pikmin 2 were both released for the Nintendo GameCube and later ported to the Wii as New Play Control! titles and Pikmin 2 as a "Nintendo Selects" game. A third installment, Pikmin 3, was released for Wii U.
The Pikmin games all focus on exploring an unknown planet (which is heavily implied to be Earth),controlling a crowd of Pikmin creatures. Pikmin are intelligent multi-colored plant-animal hybrids that willingly follow the orders of their leader, Captain Olimar, a tiny alien from the planet Hocotate. Pikmin are directed to perform a number of tasks, such as fighting monsters and retrieving objects. Because individual Pikmin are small and weak against most predators, it is the responsibility of the player to direct the Pikmin away from hazards and launch attacks that quickly put enemies into submission. Game time is divided into single days, in which the player is encouraged to accomplish as much as possible before sunset.
Pikmin appear in a variety of colors, which signify the Pikmin's abilities and resistance to environmental hazards. The original game in the series features only three colors: Red, Yellow, and Blue. Reds can resist fire, Blues, which sport gills, can move underwater, and Yellows may be thrown higher than other Pikmin. In the original Pikmin game, Yellows had the unique ability to carry bomb rocks. In Pikmin 2, Yellow Pikmin are immune to electric-based hazards and introduces two new colors: White Pikmin, which are resistant to poisonous gases and capable of spotting objects buried underground; and Purple Pikmin, which are significantly stronger and heavier than all other types. Pikmin 3 introduced two more types, the gray Rock Pikmin, who can break glass and crystal objects, and the pink Winged Pikmin, who can fly above water and attack airborne enemies with ease. Also, Yellow Pikmin could carry bomb-rocks again, in addition to their electric immunity from Pikmin 2, but this time all types Pikmin are capable of carrying bomb rocks. The strength and swiftness of individual Pikmin is indicated by the stalk atop their heads, appearing as a leaf, bud, or flower, which develops when Pikmin are fed nectar or left planted in the ground for an amount of time.
Pikmin are stored in their respective motherships, called "Onions," for safety as they are vulnerable to nocturnal predators. The Onions play a vital role in Pikmin reproduction: When any food, such as prey or pellets, is delivered to an Onion, it propagates seeds, which grow and are then plucked from the ground as fully developed Pikmin. An Onion also serves as an incubator for all Pikmin of its color, housing potentially hundreds of Pikmin. The Onions travel alongside Olimar as he flies to different locations on the planet.
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Pikmin is the first game in the series, originally released in 2001. The game's plot focuses on Olimar's predicament of having crash-landed on an unknown planet and befriending the Pikmin. Olimar has to gather the missing pieces of his broken ship in order to escape, before his air supply completely runs out and he succumbs to the planet's deadly oxygen.
The player is required to collect as many of the ship fragments as possible within thirty game days, otherwise the player loses in a Game Over.
Pikmin 2 (2004)
Pikmin 2, originally released in 2004, takes place immediately following the events of the first game. When Olimar returns to his home planet Hocotate, he discovers that his employer, Hocotate Freight, has gone into severe debt. When the company's president discovers that the souvenir that Olimar has brought back with him is significantly valuable, he orders Olimar and Louie, another employee, to journey back to the Pikmin planet and gather treasure to pay off the debt.
The main objective of Pikmin 2 is to collect treasure, which consists primarily of human waste including bottle caps and gadgets. The player controls both Captain Olimar and Louie, alternating between the two characters in order to divide and accomplish more tasks during a single day. Unlike the original game, Pikmin 2 has no deadline, so the player can spend as many days as possible to collect all the treasure.
Pikmin 3 (2013)
Shigeru Miyamoto first hinted about the possibilities of a new Pikmin game in a July 2007 interview with IGN, saying "I certainly don't think we've seen the last of Pikmin. I definitely would like to do something with them, and I think the Wii interface in particular is very well suited to that franchise." A later CNET.com interview in April 2008 reported that "For now, Miyamoto looks ahead to other projects for the Wii, mentioning his desire to continue the Pikmin series."
A new Pikmin game was eventually confirmed at E3 2008 during Nintendo's developer roundtable, in which Miyamoto stated that his team were working on a new entry in the series. However, details concerning gameplay and development were left unmentioned. In an interview with Nintendo's Official Latin American Magazine, Shigeru Miyamoto confirmed that Pikmin 3 is going to be on the Wii. He also stated that the Wii's controls were "working well" with the game.
The announcement in October 2008 of a re-release of the first two Pikmin games on the Wii with updated motion controls, raised concerns about whether Pikmin 3 was in fact in development. However, in a subsequent interview with IGN, it was made clear that the re-releases of Pikmin and Pikmin 2 under the New Play Control! brand were separate from Pikmin 3. The game was not shown at E3 2009, 2010, or 2011, but Miyamoto confirmed in June 2010 that the game was indeed still in development.
At Miyamoto's roundtable discussion at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2011, Miyamoto stated that Pikmin 3 development was moved to Wii U, the Wii successor. He felt that the HD graphics for the next system and its special screen-based controller would work better for it.
On April 15, 2012, Miyamoto said in a Spanish interview that a new Pikmin game and a new New Super Mario Bros. HD will both be showcased for the Wii U at E3 2012. He also added the comment "Anyone who played the original Pikmin games will enjoy playing it.
On June 5, 2012, at Nintendo's E3 press conference, Pikmin 3 was officially announced. It was confirmed to include all of the previous Pikmin types, plus new types, the two confirmed types being the new Rock Pikmin and Winged Pikmin. It was set to launch within the Wii U's launch window.
On April 17, 2013 the release date was announced for August 4, 2013 in the United States.
Future of the series
On November 6th, 2014, Miyamoto said during a QA of his recently released Pikmin short films that “Continually launching campaigns after the release of software will lay the groundwork for the next iteration of 'Pikmin' in the future. And needless to say, we want it to be one of the motivations for potential consumers to purchase Wii U. We are making a variety of different efforts.”
On January 6th, 2015, Miyamoto gave further confirmation that the Pikmin franchise would be receiving more games in the future, stating “I still have a lot of ideas about what I want to do with Pikmin [Short Movies], but nothing’s decided yet in terms of anything else. But of course, we will continue to make Pikmin games.” 
The main protagonist of the series is Captain Olimar, an employee of Hocotate Freight Company, that flies a ship known as the S.S. Dolphin (a reference to the GameCube's development title). He has a wife, son, and daughter. Pikmin 2 introduces Louie, a co-worker of Olimar, who places the Hocotate Freight Company in debt after losing a shipment of gold pikpik carrots to a "ravenous space bunny" (although in an unlockable cutscene it is revealed that Louie himself ate the carrots). The names "Olimar" and "Louie" are based on Mario and Luigi, who were also developed by Shigeru Miyamoto. In some translated versions of Pikmin, "Louie" is translated into the equivalent of "Luigi" in that language - for example, in the Spanish translation of Pikmin 2, he is called "Luís".[original research?]
Another main character in Pikmin 2 is the President of Hocotate Freight, a large man that runs the company and keeps debt collectors away. The president is forced to sell the Dolphin, and it is replaced by an unnamed ship (called the "Hocotate Ship" in Super Smash Bros. Brawl) that is able to speak, name and value the treasure on the planet.
After becoming stranded on the "Distant Planet" in the first game, Olimar becomes acquainted with the species of plant-like beings that he names "Pikmin" because they resemble the "Pikpik" brand of carrots on his homeworld. They are small, brightly colored creatures who are each as tall as a dime. They follow any command: from attacking enemies and defending Olimar to retrieving large artifacts. Pikmin are generally very weak, unless they are used in teams, as the Pikmin are excellent at working together. Pikmin speak with strange, foreign squeak noises. Simple commands can, however, be communicated to them by the use of a whistle or any other device capable of producing high-pitched noises.
Pikmin come in several colors, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. In the original Pikmin, there are three types of Pikmin: red Pikmin, who are better in combat and can withstand extreme heat and fire; yellow Pikmin, who can be thrown higher, can use bomb-rocks (Pikmin only), and are immune to electricity (Pikmin 2 & 3); and blue Pikmin, which have gills and can walk in water (or get splashed with water-based attacks) without drowning. In the second game, two new species of Pikmin were introduced. The first species introduced are purple Pikmin, who move slower than normal Pikmin, but have ten times the strength and weight of other Pikmin, giving them the ability to pick up much heavier objects and attack and destroy obstacles and other enemies with fewer numbers. They also sometimes stun enemies when they land near or on them. The second are white Pikmin, who, when ingested by enemies, damage the enemy through being toxic. White Pikmin are themselves immune to poison, can locate buried treasure with their special eyes, and can run faster than other Pikmin. Also introduced is a kind of parasitic Pikmin/Bulborb hybrid called Bulbmin, Bulborbs that have been infected by parasitic Pikmin, that follow Olimar after their leader is killed. They are immune to all hazards save explosions, and will not leave the caves in which they are found with Olimar. The only way to "keep" them is if they are transformed into other Pikmin species with Candypop Buds. The third game also introduced two new species of Pikmin. The grey Pikmin (known as rock Pikmin) look like small sharp rocks and can smash through glass, crystals, ice, and the carapaces of large creatures. These Pikmin can also survive crushing attacks from boulders and enemies. Grey Pikmin also cause more initial damage when thrown at an enemy, however are unable to latch onto them. The second species introduced in this game are pink Pikmin (known as Winged Pikmin). These Pikmin are the tiniest species of Pikmin and float in the air. They can fly over hazards such as water and pits, and can carry items in the air.
At the end of Pikmin, many different Pikmin "Onions" fly into space, many of which are not the standard Red, Blue or Yellow of the Pikmin we see in the game. It is assumed that there are many different kinds of Pikmin spread out across the planet. Some of these colors eventually became official in the two sequels, though they don't have their own Onion ship (in Pikmin 2 the new colors sleep in the Hocotate Ship and in Pikmin 3 there is only one big rainbow Onion for all the colors).
Appearances in other media
Olimar is a playable character in the Wii title, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and its sequel, Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. He commands the Pikmin in battle, and is almost entirely dependent on them. Olimar is able to pluck new Pikmin from the ground at any time, and he can command up to six in Brawl, and three in the WiiU and 3DS versions. The Pikmin, as in the original series, are fragile and can be defeated easily, but regained immediately after. His final smash shows him getting into his space ship and flying off into the sky, while Red Bulborbs damage the other players on the ground. The space ship then plummets to the ground and causes an explosion, dealing damage and knockback to enemy players. Super Smash Bros. Brawl also features a playable stage called Distant Planet, based on the setting of the Pikmin series. Smash Bros. Wii U is planned to have a Pikmin stage as well. Alph also appears as an alternate costume for Olimar, but otherwise remains the same.
In the videogame Ruff Trigger: The Vanocore Conspiracy there are tiny creatures named "piglots", similar to the pikmin.
In the Nintendo 3DS built-in app AR Games, a red, yellow, and blue Pikmin appear on an AR card. When one transfers their downloadable content from DSi to 3DS, various types of Pikmin are seen "carrying" the data over. A similar animation occurs when one is transferring save data and other information from a Wii to an SD Card using the Wii U Transfer application, and a second animation, picking up where the first one leaves off, appears when completing the transfer from the SD Card to a Wii U.
Nintendo Land includes the series in a team attraction titled Pikmin Adventure, where players' Miis fight clockwork versions of familiar Pikmin foes. Pikmin Adventure utilises the Wii U Gamepad and Wii Remote. Olimar is controlled with the GamePad, and other players can play as Pikmin with the Wii Remote.
In November 2014, three short animated Pikmin films directed by Shigeru Miyamoto were released for the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS after being shown at the Tokyo International Film Festival. The shorts, "The Night Juicer", "Treasure in a Bottle", and "Occupational Hazards", features Captain Olimar as well as Red, Blue, Yellow, Purple, and White Pikmin. They are available for purchase on Nintendo eShop.
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