Nintendo Space World

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Nintendo Space World (Shoshinkai)
GenreVideo gaming
Location(s)Kyoto, Japan
Makuhari Messe, Chiba, Japan
InauguratedJuly 28, 1989; 30 years ago (1989-07-28) (as Shoshinkai)
Most recentAugust 24, 2001 (2001-08-24)

Nintendo Space World, formerly called Shoshinkai (Japanese: 初心会), was a video game trade show that was hosted by Nintendo from 1989 to 2001. It was typified by the company's unveiling of new consoles or handhelds. Unlike most other video game trade events, Nintendo World was not held annually or at any other set interval; Nintendo made a decision regarding whether to hold the show any time in the year. It always took place in Japan, either in Kyoto where Nintendo's headquarters are located, or at the Makuhari Messe convention center in Chiba. After the most recent Space World show in 2001, the company instead began to favor online publishing as well as industry-wide conferences such as E3.

Nintendo Power explains: "Q: What is Famicom Space World? A: Space World is a free show for the public that follows the one-day Shoshinkai. Gamers who wish to attend need only pick up an entry pass at any official Nintendo retail location in Japan."[1]:13

The systems that were unveiled at the show series include the Nintendo GameCube, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo 64, and 64DD.


Shoshinkai 1989[edit]

The first Shoshinkai show was held on July 28, 1989.[2] The Super Famicom was announced and Super Mario Bros. 3 was reportedly shown.

Shoshinkai 1990[edit]

The second Shoshinkai show was held on August 28–29, 1990.[3] The final version of the Super Famicom was unveiled to the public. Famicom, Super Famicom, and Game Boy games were on display in areas that Nintendo called "Symbolic Zones".

Shoshinkai 1991[edit]

The third Shoshinkai show was held on April 24 to May 6, 1991.[4] The Super Famicom had been on the market for a few months and much attention was given to its games including Final Fantasy IV and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.

Shoshinkai 1992[edit]

The fourth Shoshinkai show was held on August 26, 1992.[5] The Super FX chip was announced.

Shoshinkai 1993[edit]

The fifth Shoshinkai show was held on August 22, 1993.[6] On August 23, President of Nintendo, Hiroshi Yamauchi, announced Project Reality, a major strategic partnership with Silicon Graphics for the development of what would become the Nintendo 64.[7]

Shoshinkai 1994[edit]

The sixth Shoshinkai show was held on November 15–16, 1994.[8] Hiroshi Yamauchi introduced a new portable console called the Virtual Boy, along with its hardware specifications, launch games, and future games.[9][10][11] Project Reality's name was changed to "Ultra 64".

Shoshinkai 1995[edit]

The seventh Shoshinkai show was held on November 22–24, 1995.[12] Popular Mechanics described the scene where "hordes of Japanese schoolkids huddled in the cold outside an exhibition hall in a small town near Tokyo, the electricity of anticipation clearly rippling through their ranks."[13]

The show featured the public unveiling of the newly renamed Nintendo 64 console, with thirteen games.[14] This included two playable game prototypes (Super Mario 64 and Kirby Ball 64) and a videotape containing a total of three minutes of very early footage of eleven other Nintendo 64 games. Of all these presented titles, the development of Super Mario 64 was reportedly the most advanced, though only 50 percent complete.[13][15][16] Twelve playable demos had been prepared for the show, but Hiroshi Yamauchi pulled ten of them from the itinerary just days beforehand.[17] Zelda 64 was shown in the form of an abstract technical and thematic demonstration video, where Next Generation magazine said "Well, the fact is that the videotape sequences shown at Shoshinkai bear very little resemblance to what the final product will actually look like. Spectacular scenes of a surprisingly large Link clad in polished armor are most likely to end up in cut-scenes rather than representing the actual play."[18][19]

Nintendo made its first announcement of the 64DD peripheral, saying it would launch by the end of 1996,[20] though releasing virtually no technical specifications.[13]

Shoshinkai 1996[edit]

Shoshinkai 1996 logo

The eighth Shoshinkai show was held on November 22–24, 1996[21] and was located at the Makuhari Messe convention center in Chiba, Japan.[22] New software was shown for the Nintendo 64, Super NES, and Game Boy.[22] This show bore the first demonstration of the 64DD, which IGN reported was one of the biggest items of the show along with first-party titles,[23] while other gaming press said it was kept out of the spotlight and had no meaningful demonstration of its capabilities.[22][24] Nintendo itself stated that the company was deliberately downplaying the 64DD at the show in order to demonstrate the ongoing commitment to the cartridge format.[25] Nintendo's Director of Corporate Communications, Perrin Kaplan, made the company's first official launch window announcement for 64DD, scheduled for late 1997 in Japan.[26]

The 64DD system was shown in its own display booth with the hardware specifications having been finalized, according to Nintendo of America's Chairman Howard Lincoln. The system played an improvised conversion of the Super Mario 64 cartridge game onto a 64DD disk in order to demonstrate the storage device. The booth also demonstrated the process of rendering audience members' photographed faces onto 3D avatars and shapes—a feature which was ultimately incorporated and released in 2000 as Mario Artist: Talent Studio and the Capture Cassette for 64DD.[27][28] Another 64DD title in development was Creator, a music and animation game by Software Creations,[29] the same UK company that had made Sound Tool for the Nintendo Ultra 64 development kit. They touted the game's ability to be integrated into other games, allowing a player to replace any such game's textures and possibly create new levels and characters. There was no playable version of Creator available at this show, but the project was later absorbed into Mario Artist: Paint Studio (1999).[29][30][31]

Reportedly several developers attended the show to learn how to develop for 64DD, some having traveled from the US for the 64DD presentation and some having received 64DD development kits.[32] Included in the early roster of committed 64DD developers, Rare officially discounted any rumors of the peripheral's impending pre-release cancellation.[33] described the presentation of Zelda 64 as "very quick shots on videotape".[27] Yoshi's Island 64 debuted in a short video, and was eventually released as Yoshi's Story.[34] "The biggest surprise" of the show according to IGN and "most impressive [new peripheral]" according to Electronic Gaming Monthly was the Jolting Pak,[23][35] which would eventually launch as the Rumble Pak in a bundle with the upcoming Star Fox 64, but Next Generation claimed it "was seen as merely another whimsical Nintendo fancy destined to the bin marked Good Idea at the Time."[22]

Space World 1997[edit]

The ninth show was renamed to Space World, held on November 21–23, 1997.[36] Some media of the event was streamed live on Nintendo's website.[37] The event featured a very early prototype of Pokémon Gold and Silver,[38] featuring two starting Pokémon who don't appear in the final game, and an early Chikorita. The game would not be completed until 1999, by which point it would have largely changed. The ROM for this demo was anonymously dumped and released online on May 31, 2018.[39]

George Harrison, the Vice President of Nintendo of America, explained that the presentations made by many third party developers at this show were lackluster because of the unexpected difficulty of the industry's transition from 2D to 3D game development. He described the logistics involved in the launch of the already-delayed 64DD.[40]

[Nintendo can't guarantee that the 64DD will launch in the US in 1998], but what we can say is that it will launch when it is ready and when we have a compelling piece of software for it. But it's an accessory and we all know the history of selling add-ons in this marketplace, and to be successful we'd have to get a 60%-to-80% penetration of this 64DD into the installed base of N64 to be considered a success. We can't just have 10% or 20% of people buy it, otherwise it wouldn't make any sense to continue software support for it.

— George Harrison, VP of Nintendo of America, April 1997

Space World 1999[edit]

Having skipped 1998 because of a lack of 64DD launch games to show,[41] the tenth show was held on August 27–29, 1999.[42] IGN explained that the 64DD's notoriously repeated launch delays were so significant, and the company's software library was so dependent upon the 64DD's launch, that this would directly cause the skipping of the 1998 Space World. The event had been delayed from 1998 to early 1999 and then again to November 1999.[41]

Paper Mario, EarthBound 64, and many other games were announced and shown. IGN said that Gendai Dai-Senryaku: Ultimate War for 64DD was one of the best games of the show.[43]

Space World 2000[edit]

The eleventh show was held on August 24–26, 2000.[44]

Spaceworld delivered the unveiling of Gamecube, the playability of Game Boy Advance and more than a dozen new Nintendo 64 games, but it also signified the official demise of the Nintendo's 64DD add-on device. The hardware was not only completely absent from the event, but previously scheduled products like Ultimate War and Doubutsu Banchou both showed up in playable form – on cartridge for Nintendo 64. Nintendo did not speak about 64DD during its opening speech, nor did the hardware itself have any booth presence. In fact, the unofficial "No 64DD!" policy seemed to be enforced by Nintendo so brutally that had we even muttered the name of the hardware, we would have probably been tossed out of the show.

— IGN[45]

A compilation trailer of Nintendo licenses running on GameCube hardware was displayed. Some games revealed then were Super Smash Bros. Melee, Luigi's Mansion, Metroid Prime, Meowth's Party, Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, Kameo: Elements of Power, Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, Batman: Vengeance, and the technology demonstrations called Super Mario 128 and The Legend of Zelda 128.[46]

Space World 2001[edit]

The twelfth show was held on August 24–26, 2001[47] and was the last Space World consumer event, featuring the upcoming GameCube and recently released Game Boy Advance. A short clip of Super Mario Sunshine was shown in its early form.

Other events[edit]

From 2003 to 2006, Nintendo held the annual Nintendo Fusion Tour, featuring the announcement of the company's latest video games and a rock music venue.

Nintendo World 2006 showcased the Wii and Nintendo DS. Nintendo World 2011 was in Tokyo from January 8–10, 2011. At this exhibition, the company gave the specific details on the Japanese launch of the Nintendo 3DS.[48]

The company has held a number of gameplay competition events such as Nintendo World Championships, Nintendo PowerFest '94, and Nintendo Campus Challenge. Nintendo has consistently participated with Electronic Entertainment Expo for major releases and announcements.

See also[edit]


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