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North American box art
Director(s)Toshio Iwai
Producer(s)Shigeru Miyamoto
Toru Osawa
Designer(s)Toshio Iwai
Artist(s)Nanako Kinoshita
Kazuma Norisada
Composer(s)Koichi Kyuma
Yuichi Ozaki
Platform(s)Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi
  • JP: April 7, 2005
  • NA: January 9, 2006
  • EU: July 7, 2006
Genre(s)Music game

Electroplankton (Japanese: エレクトロプランクトン, Hepburn: 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 edition of Electroplankton in Japan is bundled with a set of blue colored ear bud headphones.


The game offers two game modes: Performance and Audience. Performance mode allows the user to interact with the plankton through use of the stylus, touchscreen, and microphone. Audience mode is like a demo mode, which simply allows the user to put down the system and enjoy a continuous musical show by all of the plankton, although the user can interact with the plankton just like in Performance mode. The game does not save data of any kind, which prevents players from saving any elaborate or quality pieces. 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.


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.[1] 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 believed that if a save function had been included, then the game would have been used more as a tool, where the player must open several additional menus and windows or must input file names to save. Another reason was that it would require a 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.[2]


The game 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 of January 9, 2006, with sales of the game limited to online retailers and the Nintendo World store in New York City, though some other retailers may choose to carry the game. 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 occurred due to, according to Nintendo Australia representatives, not enough space in the release schedule.[citation needed]

Release as DSiWare[edit]

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.[3] Each instrument is available to buy separately for 200 Nintendo Points each.[4]

Tracy (renamed Trapy), Hanenbow, Nanocarp, and Beatnes were released on July 11, and Rec Rec and Lumiloop were released on July 22.[3] Luminaria and Sun Animalcule were released August 5, and Marine Snow and Volvoice were released August 26, 2009.

In North America, all 10 Electroplankton characters were released in November 2009. Trapy, Hanenbow, Rec-Rec, Nanocarp, and Beatnes were released on November 9,[4] and Luminaria (renamed Luminarrow), Sun-Animalcule, Lumiloop, Marine-Snow (renamed Marine-Crystals), and Volvoice (renamed Varvoice) were released November 23.[5]

In the PAL region, the first two Electroplankton characters 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.


Joystiq gave it 8.0 out of 10.[6] Nintendo Power gave it 8.5 out of 10.[7] IGN gave it 7.0 out of 10.[8] Official Nintendo Magazine gave it 78%.[citation needed]

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.[9]


Electroplankton is represented in Super Smash Bros. Brawl with its own stage called Hanenbow that is based on the Hanenbow feature.[10] This stage also returned in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.[11] Several stickers and Spirits based on the game were in these two games.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gantayat, Anoop (April 8, 2005). "Electroplankton Live". IGN. Retrieved November 28, 2015.
  2. ^ "C3 Exclusive Interview | Toshio Iwai on Nintendo, Wii...& Musical Fish! Page 1 - Cubed3".
  3. ^ a b Anoop Gantayat (July 6, 2009). "Electroplankton Set for DSiWare". IGN. Retrieved November 28, 2015.
  4. ^ a b "Load Up on Excitebike Action, Musical Plankton and More". Nintendo of America. November 9, 2009. Retrieved November 9, 2009.
  5. ^ "Download New BIT.TRIP Kicks, Speeding Karts, Magic Castles and More". Nintendo of America. November 23, 2009. Archived from the original on November 26, 2009. Retrieved November 23, 2009.
  6. ^ Christopher Grant. "Joystiq Review: Electroplankton (Nintendo DS)". Engadget. Archived from the original on March 1, 2012. Retrieved November 28, 2015.
  7. ^ Grimm, Steven (February 2006). "Electroplankton". Nintendo Power. No. 200. p. 99.
  8. ^ Craig Harris (January 11, 2006). "Electroplankton". IGN. Retrieved November 28, 2015.
  9. ^ "Electroplankton: Nintendo DS Video Game Review". Kidzworld. Retrieved April 9, 2009.
  10. ^ "Electroplankton Stage in Super Smash Bros. Brawl".
  11. ^ "Stages page on the official Super Smash Bros. Ultimate website".

External links[edit]