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North American box art
Electroplankton (エレクトロプランクトン Erekutoropurankuton?) is an interactive music video game developed by indieszero and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo DS handheld video game console. It was first released in Japan in 2005, and was later released in North America and Europe in 2006. This game allows the player to interact with animated plankton and create music through one of ten different plankton themed interfaces. The first-run edition of Electroplankton in Japan came bundled with a set of blue colored ear bud headphones.
The game offers two game modes — Performance and Audience. The Performance mode allows the user to interact with the plankton through use of the stylus, touchscreen, and microphone. Audience mode simply allows the user to put down the system and enjoy a continuous musical show put on by all of the plankton, although the user can interact with the plankton just like in Performance mode. Audience mode is like a demo mode in some other games.
Nintendo president Satoru Iwata explained that the unusual reason why director Toshio Iwai's name appears directly on the game's packaging is because he alone had created it. The developers considered including a save function, but opted not to because they wanted for the players to enjoy the game both extemporarily and viscerally. They felt that if a save function were included then the game would be used more as a tool, where the player had to open several additional menus and windows or have to input file names to save. Another reason was that it would require large volume of flash ROM and would take a long time to save and read the data in order to save the voice files for Volvoice and Rec-Rec.
The title made its first public appearance at the 2005 Game Developer's Conference, and later, an appearance at the 2005 E3 show. On October 19, 2005, Nintendo revealed Electroplankton's release date in North America: January 9, 2006, with sales of the game limited to online retailers and the Nintendo World store in New York City, though some retailers may carry the game if they choose to. For example, Electronics Boutique carried the game when it was released in Canada. It was released in Europe on July 7, 2006.
A release was planned by Nintendo Australia in late 2006 but never eventuated due to, according to NoAus representatives, not enough space in the release schedule.
Release as DSiWare
On July 6, 2009, Nintendo announced that Electroplankton would be re-released in Japan, as part of the DSiWare service exclusive to the Nintendo DSi system. Each "instrument" is available to buy separately for 200 Nintendo Points each.
Tracy (renamed Trapy), Hanenbow, Nanocarp, and Beatnes were released on July 11, while Rec Rec and Lumiloop were released on July 22. Luminaria and Sun Animalcule were released August 5, and Marine Snow and Volvoice were released August 26, 2009.
In North America, all 10 Electroplankton were released in November 2009. Trapy, Hanenbow, Rec-Rec, Nanocarp, and Beatnes were released on November 9, while Luminaria (renamed Luminarrow), Sun-Animalcule, Lumiloop, Marine-Snow (renamed Marine-Crystals), and Volvoice (renamed Varvoice) were released November 23.
In the PAL region, the first two Electroplankton were released on January 15, 2010, which were Beatnes and Hanenbow. The next two were released on January 22, 2010, which were Nanocarp and Trapy. The next two released were Luminarrow and Sun-Animalcule on January 29, 2010. Rec Rec and Lumiloop were added on February 12, 2010 and the last two minigames Marine-Crystals and Varvoice, were released on February 26, 2010.
Kidzworld said that one of the most common complaints concerning Electroplankton is that the game offers no true way to save the audio created by the player. Absolutely no data is recorded onto the game cartridge at any time, which can be frustrating to a player who manages to compose a particularly elaborate or quality piece. Although this problem can be overcome by connecting an audio recording device, such as a cassette recorder or a personal computer, to the headphone jack of the Nintendo DS, this solution is not practical for the average player.
- Otocky, a game for the Famicom Disk System by Electroplankton designer Toshio Iwai, which is notable for developing the concept of the musical shoot 'em up in 1987.
- Sound Fantasy, an unreleased game for the Super NES/Super Famicom that was created by Electroplankton designer Toshio Iwai.
- SimTunes, a PC game, also designed by Iwai, that the unreleased Sound Fantasy was converted into.
- Tenori-on, a digital musical instrument created by Electroplankton designer Toshio Iwai. Tenori-on's interface is similar to some of the Electroplankton modes.
- Daigasso! Band Brothers, a music game developed by Nintendo for the Nintendo DS.
- Gantayat, Anoop (April 8, 2005). "Electroplankton Live". IGN. Retrieved November 28, 2015.
- Anoop Gantayat (July 6, 2009). "Electroplankton Set for DSiWare". IGN. Retrieved November 28, 2015.
- "Load Up on Excitebike Action, Musical Plankton and More". Nintendo of America. November 9, 2009. Retrieved November 9, 2009.
- "Download New BIT.TRIP Kicks, Speeding Karts, Magic Castles and More". Nintendo of America. November 23, 2009. Retrieved November 23, 2009.
- Christopher Grant. "Joystiq Review: Electroplankton (Nintendo DS)". Engadget. Retrieved November 28, 2015.
- Craig Harris (January 11, 2006). "Electroplankton". IGN. Retrieved November 28, 2015.
- "Electroplankton: Nintendo DS Video Game Review". Kidzworld. Retrieved 2009-04-09.
- "Electroplankton Stage in Super Smash Brothers Brawl".
- Official Site (US/English)
- Official Site (Japan/Japanese)
- Official Site (European/Language choice incl. English)
- Developer Homepage (Japanese)
- PDF Manual
- Electroplankton at MobyGames
- Electroplankton Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.) at GameFAQs
- Electroplankton videos at IGN (includes video of a Nintendo Keynote demonstration at the 2005 Game Developers Conference, premium membership required)
- Electroplankton Stage in Super Smash Brothers Brawl