Pikmin (series)

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Basic Information
Nintendo, Nintendo EAD
Real-time Strategy
GameCube, Wii and Wii U

Pikmin (ピクミン Pikumin?) is a million-selling video game series developed by Nintendo, originally released exclusively for their GameCube console, both games were announced to be part of the New Play Control! series on the Wii. The series features two video games; Pikmin and Pikmin 2. The games feature the titular character Pikmin, commanded by the playable characters of Captain Olimar and, in the second game, Louie and The President. A third installment, Pikmin 3, was released for the Wii U.

Gameplay[edit | edit source]

The games feature small, multi-colored creatures known as Pikmin. Pikmin are tiny, humanoid, brightly-colored, and semi-intelligent creatures. A stalk protrudes from their head, topped by a symbol of rank: a leaf, bud, or a flower. The hero of the games, Captain Olimar, with his partner in the second game, Louie, commands the Pikmin in battle against the larger creatures of the planet. The advantage of Pikmin comes in numbers, as a single Pikmin can easily be defeated by a larger foe. At night, Pikmin retreat into Onions for safety; if they are left out at night, they are devoured by nocturnal predators. Onions are round, bulbous, onion-like spaceships in which the Pikmin live and travel. Each Onion is color coded to the type of Pikmin that inhabits it. The Onions play a vital role in the Pikmin's reproduction. Pikmin grow, like plants, from seeds planted in the ground. Seeds are most often planted by the Onion, which converts defeated enemies or objects known as pellets into Pikmin. These seeds grow into sprouts after about two seconds of being in the ground, but slowly mature over time from leaf to bud to flower. A sprout can then be plucked by Olimar or Louie to produce an adult Pikmin; the state in which the sprout is picked determines the state of the Pikmin (a flower sprout will become a flower Pikmin when plucked from the ground). In other cases, Pikmin are found planted in the ground naturally, and Pikmin seeds can sometimes be found in the place where a flower Pikmin has died.

The adventures of the games take place on a planet that is not named, although it is heavily implied to be Earth. The atmosphere contains oxygen, which is said to be poisonous to Olimar's species. Garbage and other human waste is strewn throughout the areas in the games, and in Pikmin 2 many of these objects are brand name products, such as Duracell batteries and old 7-Up bottlecaps. Pikmin 2 all but confirms this, offering a view from space in the opening cutscene which clearly displays Africa, and finding pieces of an Earth globe. The landscapes are said to be inspired by gardens belonging to the developer of the games, Shigeru Miyamoto.

Captain Olimar and Louie are both from the fictional planet Hocotate, which is named after the address of Nintendo’s Japan headquarters. They also both work for a company called The Hocotate Freight Company, which, in the second game, is in a state of bankruptcy; in Pikmin 2, Olimar and Louie are forced to return to the planet to collect objects to sell and restore their employer's financial well-being. Characters in the Pikmin series are on a small scale; for example, Captain Olimar is approximately 20mm in height, 40mm if you include his bubble-helmet and its antenna. The Pikmin themselves are even smaller, approximately 15mm in height, 30mm including the stem and leaf/bud/flower.

Characters[edit | edit source]

The main character of the series is Captain Olimar (オリマー Orimā?), 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 cut scene 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. The name "Olimar" is a partial anagram of Mario (マリオ?) in both the English and Japanese language. Likewise, "Louie" is derived from "Luigi". In some translated versions of Pikmin, the name is translated into the equivalent of "Luigi" in that language - for example, in the Spanish translation of Pikmin 2, he is called "Luís".

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 1 only), and are immune to electricity (Pikmin 2 only); and blue Pikmin, which have gills and can walk in water (or get splashed with water-based attacks) without drowning. In the second game, three 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.

At the end of Pikmin 1, 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.

Plot[edit | edit source]

The first Pikmin starts with Olimar on a vacation, exploring the dark regions of space in his ship, the S.S. Dolphin. The Dolphin is struck by a large meteor and plummets toward an unknown planet. As it crashes, it burns up and pieces of the ship break off and scatter all over the planet. The next day, Olimar wakes up and sees that his ship is completely destroyed. He also discovers that the planet contains unsafe levels of oxygen, which is toxic to him. His life support will only last 30 days and he must find the 30 parts that have fallen off his ship, something he cannot do on his own. Upon searching the crash site, Olimar discovers a large onion-like object that places one seed in the ground. Olimar pulls it out and discovers a red plant-like creature that he can command, which he dubs a Pikmin. When the Pikmin carry some nectar-based objects into the Onion, it sprouts more seeds which also turn into Pikmin. Olimar uses this group of Pikmin to recover the engine of his ship. With his ship being able to take off (though not leave the planet's orbit) he begins exploring more parts of the planet for the pieces of his ship. While collecting the parts for his ship, Olimar also discovers the yellow and blue Pikmin and learns more about this planet and his new friends. At the end of the game, Olimar uses everything he has learned about the pikmin to travel to the far end of a small, isolated sand pit that serves as the game's final level. He then uses the yellow pikmin's ability to wield bomb-rocks to defeat the game's final boss, a large variant of Bulborb, a common creature on the planet of the pikmin, which Olimar calls the Emperor Bulblax, which then vomits Olimar's most prized possession, a piggy bank full of money called the Secret Safe, and then retreats beneath the sand. After finding all the parts for his ship, Olimar takes off for his home planet, Hocotate, and the pikmin are seen fighting for themselves for the first time. (If Olimar fails to find enough parts for the ship to escape the planet, a "bad" ending is played in which his ship fails to leave the planet and his life support system fails, although he is resurrected as a Pikmin.)

When Olimar returns, he discovers that his employer, Hocotate Freight, is in debt. The company sells his ship, the only remaining company asset. Olimar drops the treasure (a bottle cap) he brought home from the Pikmin planet in shock, causing an older, beat-up ship to detect this treasure and determine that it is worth a large amount of money. The president of Hocotate Freight is astounded and demands that Olimar to return to the strange planet and collect more treasures to save the company. The young employee Louie is also sent to assist Olimar. After returning to the planet and discovering the remaining Pikmin species, the two eventually raise the 10,000 pokos required to cover the debt. However, Louie is left behind on the subsequent departure for Hocotate, so the President joins Olimar to return and search for him (while collecting more treasure at the same time). Louie is discovered at the bottom of the game's final cave and rescued from a large arachnid-like beast which Olimar names the Titan Dweevil (A Dweevil is the family to which many arachnid-like creature in this game belong to). After Louie is rescued, he is stored with the rest of the treasure because the president has taken his seat on The Ship. Once all the treasures are collected, Olimar and the President leave the planet of the pikmin, while all the pikmin on the surface of the planet hold hands and glow, and the onions follow The Ship to the top of the planet's atmosphere. The words "The End" are then displayed over the planet's surface as visible from space.

Other appearances[edit | edit source]

  • In the game Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour, if a golf ball lands in a patch of flowers, Pikmin will pop out and scatter in all directions.[1]
  • The Wii game WarioWare: Smooth Moves features a microgame entitled Pikmin 2, which has the player taking control of an Empress Bulblax, a boss from Pikmin 2, and using it to crush Pikmin.[2] Also, in WarioWare D.I.Y. there is a premade game entitled Pikmin. In the game there is a circle that moves over land and water. If the player throws the Pikmin when the circle is on land, he or she wins. If he or she throws the Pikmin when the circle is over water, the Pikmin will drown and the player loses.
  • In Super Mario Galaxy, the ship from Pikmin 2 is floating in the Space Junk galaxy.
  • Olimar is a playable character in the Wii title, Super Smash Bros. Brawl. 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 have up to six with him at once. The Pikmin, as in the original series, are fragile and can be defeated easily, but each of the five colors have special unique properties. Olimar’s Final Smash is called End of Day, in which he leaves the arena via his spaceship as night falls. The players left behind are attacked by feeding Bulborbs, and can be further damaged when Olimar’s ship returns and explodes on impact. The game also features a playable stage called Distant Planet, based on the setting of the Pikmin series.[3]
  • In the game Animal Crossing: City Folk, the downloadable content includes a hat that looks like a Red Pikmin and an item meant to look like the Dolphin.

Pikmin 3[edit | edit source]

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."[4] 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."[5]

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.[6][7] However, details concerning gameplay and development were left unmentioned.[8] 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.[9]

The announcement in October 2008 of a re-release of the first two Pikmin games on the Wii with updated motion controls,[10] 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.[11] The game was not shown at E3 2009 or 2010, but Miyamoto confirmed in June 2010 that the game was indeed still in development.[12][13]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Camelot Software Planning. Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour. (Nintendo). Nintendo GameCube. (July 28, 2003)
  2. Intelligent Systems. WarioWare: Smooth Moves. (Nintendo). Wii. (January 15, 2007)
  3. Sakurai, Masahiro (January 9, 2008). Pikmin & Olimar. Nintendo. Retrieved on January 9, 2008
  4. Casamassina, Matt (July 12, 2007). E3 2007: Miyamoto: We Haven't Seen the Last of Pikmin. IGN. Retrieved on June 3, 2009
  5. Bakalar, Jeff (April 18, 2008). Up close with Shigeru Miyamoto and 'Wii Fit'. CNET.com. Retrieved on June 3, 2009
  6. Orland, Kyle (July 16, 2008). Liveblog from Nintendo's 2008 E3 Developer Roundtable. Joystiq. Retrieved on June 3, 2009
  7. Sinclair, Brendan (July 16, 2008). E3 2008: Miyamoto conducts Wii Music, confirms Pikmin. Gamespot. Retrieved on June 3, 2009
  8. Bozon, Mark (July 16, 2008). E3 2008: Miyamoto Confirms Pikmin. IGN. Retrieved on June 3, 2009
  9. Conselmo, Chad (September 9, 2008). New Zelda game 'something special?' Pikmin 3 'going well?' Miyamoto thinks so. Destructoid. Retrieved on June 3, 2009
  10. Jackson, Mike (October 2, 2008). Pikmin comes to Wii. Computer and Video Games. Retrieved on June 3, 2009
  11. Casamassina, Matt (October 2, 2008). Interview: Cammie Dunaway. IGN. Retrieved on June 3, 2009
  12. Scullion, Chris (June 3, 2009). E3: Miyamoto Discusses Pikmin 3. Official Nintendo Magazine. Nintendo. Retrieved on June 3, 2009
  13. Harris, Craig (June 17, 2010). "E3 2010: Shigeru Miyamoto Likes Donkey Kong Country After All". IGN. http://wii.ign.com/articles/110/1100039p3.html. Retrieved June 18, 2010. 

External links[edit | edit source]

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