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North American box art
|Release date(s)||Nintendo GameCube
Pikmin (Japanese: ピクミン Hepburn: Pikumin?) is a real-time strategy video game developed and published by Nintendo for the GameCube in 2001. It was created and produced by Shigeru Miyamoto, and is the first game in the Pikmin series. The player controls Captain Olimar, an astronaut who crash-lands on a mysterious planet. Olimar befriends creatures he calls "pikmin", and utilizes their abilities to collect the missing parts of his spaceship he lost during the crash. The player has 30 days to recover the pieces and repair the ship.
The game was both a critical and commercial success. The game has spawned two sequels, Pikmin 2 (2004) for the GameCube and Pikmin 3 (2013) for the Wii U. In 2009, Pikmin was re-released for the Wii as part of the New Play Control! series.
The main goal in Pikmin is to retrieve ship parts by using the three varieties of Pikmin available in different combinations. Olimar discovers multi-colored plant-animal hybrids that willingly follow his orders and help him recover ship parts. All three of the Pikmin colors that Captain Olimar discovers must be used in order to overcome various obstacles and complete the game. The Pikmin creatures come in three different varieties - red, yellow, and blue. Red Pikmin are the first type found in the game, and more powerful than the other two varieties and resistant to fire. Yellow Pikmin can be thrown higher than the other two and can carry explosives called "bomb rocks", while blue Pikmin are the only ones that can survive in water. They are utilized in various tasks, including carrying objects and enemies, breaking down walls, and defeating enemies. Objects that can be carried vary between ship parts, enemy corpses, and pellets. Only 100 Pikmin can be on the ground at a time.
Time in the game is divided into 30 days. With the exception of the first day, which lasts until the player finds the first ship part, all days in the game are about 13 minutes in length. By the end of each day, all Pikmin should be immediately rounded up, work halted, and Olimar must return with the Pikmin to the ship. The reason for this is that many of the creatures which inhabit the Pikmin's planet are nocturnal predators and eat all Pikmin that are left behind on the surface after the sun sets. If Olimar doesn't collect all 25 mandatory ship parts within this 30 day time limit, his ship's life support systems will fail and Olimar will die from oxygen poisoning. If he does find the parts, then he blasts off into space successfully and returns home.
Apart from the main gameplay, Pikmin also contains a Challenge Mode that is unlocked once Olimar gets all three types of Pikmin. Each of the five levels in the main game are available for play. The object of Challenge Mode is to grow the greatest number of Pikmin in one day as is possible.
In Pikmin, the main protagonist is Captain Olimar, a tiny, one-inch tall extraterrestrial from the planet Hocotate. The story starts when Olimar is taking an intergalactic vacation in outer space. However, during his flight, a comet hits his spaceship, the S.S. Dolphin (a reference to the GameCube's codename, "Project Dolphin"), which is then pulled into the gravity field of an uncharted planet. Parts of the spaceship fall off as it plummets to the ground and crashes.
When he regains consciousness, Olimar finds out that the planet's atmosphere contains high levels of oxygen—an element deadly to his people—and he can stay on the planet for only 30 days before his life support system stops functioning. Olimar must retrieve many of the spaceship parts so he can rebuild his spaceship and return to Hocotate. Although Olimar initially states in his journal entries that he needs all 30 parts, as the game moves on it is hinted at that some parts might not be actually necessary to lift off, and, indeed, one can win the game without the said parts.
To help Olimar are indigenous creatures called Pikmin, which are nearly extinct and unable to survive in the environment without his leadership when he arrives. As this element of symbiosis develops, Olimar discovers parts of his ship and travels across the Pikmin Planet, which is assumed to be Earth, albeit with fictional fauna and far after the extinction of humans. The game has three endings depending upon how many ship parts the player successfully gets to Olimar's ship. Two good endings occur should the player retrieve all 30 parts or 25 necessary parts, and a bad ending occurs should the player fail to find the necessary 25 parts.
The development team of Pikmin expressed their initial trouble finding the game's direction. Director Shigefumi Hino explains:
I still can clearly recall the first time that I saw multiple Pikmin working together to carry a big opponent. Until then, we had been struggling to find the direction that this game should have, but when these "carry" actions were completed, we were able to determine the future of Pikmin.
Upon being revealed at E3 2001, Pikmin garnered positive reception. IGN praised it for its uniqueness and its stunning graphics, with only a few negative points such as a poor camera. It was awarded the title of "Best Puzzle/Trivia/Parlor Game" from the Game Critics Awards, beating out ChuChu Rocket! for the Game Boy Advance. It was also runner-up for "Most Original Game", losing out to Majestic.
Since its release for the Nintendo GameCube, Pikmin has received positive reception. It holds an average score of 89/100 and 86.71% from Metacritic and GameRankings respectively. It was given the award for interactivity from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Pikmin has received significant praise for its graphics, in particular the design of the surrounding environment. Gaming Age editor Craig Majaski described Pikmin as both stunning and having a detailed environment. As of March 31, 2002, Pikmin has sold over one million copies.
The Wii re-release of Pikmin was not as well-received as the GameCube version, though it still had mostly positive reception; it holds an average score of 77/100 and 79.13% from Metacritic and Game Rankings respectively.
In its first week, Pikmin sold more than 101,000 copies. However, sales fell to only between 10,000 and 15,000 copies in the weeks following. Following the release of "Ai no Uta" by Strawberry Flower, an image song song related to Pikmin, its sales recovered slightly to about 22,000 copies in a week. The song appeared in the Japanese commercials for the game, but soon became an unexpected hit song, eventually eclipsing Pikmin's sales. In the weeks of December 24, 2001 and January 6, 2002, Pikmin sold approximately 53,000 copies and 102,000 copies respectively. To date, Pikmin has sold approximately 1.18 million copies worldwide; 680,000 in the United States and 507,011 in Japan. By January 3, 2010, the Wii version of Pikmin has sold 169,036 copies in Japan. Since its release, Pikmin has developed a vocal and devoted fanbase.
Sequels and re-releases
Pikmin 2 was released in 2004 and features the same basic idea with some new multiplayer modes, three new Pikmin colors (white, purple and Bulbmin), caves, more beasts and Bosses, and an unlimited amount of days allowed in single-player mode. When asked about Pikmin appearing on the Wii at E3 2008, Shigeru Miyamoto simply replied, "We're making Pikmin." There were originally suspicions that he may have been referring to the re-releases of the two games, but it was confirmed in an interview that he was talking about a completely new game. At his developer roundtable at E3 2011, Miyamoto revealed that development for the new Pikmin game called Pikmin 3 was moved over to the newly announced Wii U.
Both Pikmin and Pikmin 2 are part of the New Play Control! series, a selection of GameCube video game remakes with additional support for features of the Wii. It was released on December 25, 2008 in Japan, February 6, 2009 in Europe and March 9, 2009 in North America (original version only). New Play Control! Pikmin uses the Wii Remote, and requires the player to point and click on the screen to do various tasks instead of manually moving a cursor with a control stick. It was also announced that the game saves day-by-day records of the player's playthrough, allowing the player to restart from any recorded day of his or her choice. In an interview, director Shigefumi Hino stated that besides adding motion controls, they wanted to include the ability to go back to saves they have made in the past, allowing players to replay all 30 days one by one in order to improve.
Pikmin 3 was revealed at E3 2012 for the Wii U. It involves two new types of Pikmin, Rock Pikmin and Winged Pikmin, and three leaders instead of two. The game was released on July 13, 2013 in Japan, July 26, 2013 in Europe, July 27, 2013 in Australia, and August 4, 2013 in North America.
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PIKMIN, which provided a uniquely different game idea, gained popularity. SUPER SMASH BROS. MELEE and LUIGI'S MANSION were extremely popular and provided new gaming elements as well. Each of these titles sold more than one million units.
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