Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Exhaustive Research: Why Being Obsessive-Compulsive is No Good

This will be, yet again, another entry in which I wish I had a means of doing an entry cut. Again, if anyone can inform me on this process using Blogger, by all means, don't hesitate to comment.

Anyway, this isn't pertinent to my other post (meaning, I don't have anything special to show at all).

Before I begin, let me give you the synopsis. I'm looking to play through and finish a vast majority of Nintendo first or second-party developed titles. It's quite a grandiose task, but I think I can manage... over the course of a few years. I've realized that there are a slew of Nintendo published titles that I've never even touched, but have always wanted to. So, I set forth on this mission about two weeks ago, beginning with the excellent Mother (EarthBound Zero) on the NES. The title's a fairly typical RPG in terms of battle mechanics and other general RPG archetypes, but the story and characters are definitely atypical. I'm done with that, and going through EarthBound (Mother 2) currently, but I'm not enjoying it as much. Firstly, the music isn't quite as evocative, and, secondly, the characters and NPCs don't seem as quirky, for want of a better term/description.

So, what exactly am I looking at in terms of titles? How many, which series', Japanese-only releases, etc.? There are a staggering 82 titles that I would like to play -- and, I omitted a fair bit. However, many of the titles/series listed I have no intentions to play for a long time, if at all. There's no chance I'll ever get around to playing all of these, but I'd like to tackle a good chunk of them.

Of course, there will be inhibitions in my mission. The most prevalent of which being that a damn good amount of these games never even saw an English release. What's more, is that most of them haven't had completed fan translations. Tomato Adventure, for example, looks to be one of the most interesting RPGs on the Game Boy Advance, yet, it wasn't brought to America, and there is no fan translation. There are FAQs available, and I intend to fully use them (especially for NES games, as most of those are directionless), but it's not going to be the same.

Before I proceed to the full list, let me just explain the formatting I used.

Each system is listed, with the title of specific games below it. Next to the title of the game is the development team/studio behind it. Some titles have the asterisk (*) next to them. This is used to denote titles that have questionable translations (if at all), or titles that I may or may not play at all (likely, won't).

Onto the list:


Famicom Wars (Intelligent Systems)
StarTropics (Already played it, will replay to refresh my memory) (Nintendo R&D3)
Zoda’s Revenge: StarTropics II (Nintendo R&D3)
Air Fortress (HAL Labs)*
Joy Mecha Fight (HAL Labs)*

Sega Genesis -

Pulseman (Game Freak)


F-Zero (Nintendo EAD)
Super Metroid (Team Deer Force [Defunct])
EarthBound [Mother 2] (HAL Labs, APE, Inc.)
Marvelous: Another Treasure Island (Nintendo EAD)
Famicom Tantei Club Part II: Ushiro ni Tatsu Shoujo (Nintendo EAD)
Sutte Hakkun (Nintendo EAD)

N64 -

Custom Robo (Noise)*
Custom Robo V2 (Noise)*
Legend of Zelda: Major’s Mask (Nintendo EAD)
GoldenEye 007 (Rareware)*
Perfect Dark (Rareware)*
Sin & Punishment: Successor of the Earth (Treasure)
F-Zero X (Nintendo EAD)

GameCube -

Pikmin (Nintendo EAD)
Doshin the Giant (Nintendo EAD/Param)*
Star Fox Adventures (Rareware)*
GiFTPIA (skip ltd.)*
Mario Kart: Double Dash!! (Nintendo EAD)
F-Zero GX (Amusement Vision)
Custom Robo Battle Revolution (Noise)
Pikmin 2 (Nintendo EAD)
WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Party Game$ (Nintendo SP&D1, Intelligent Systems)
Battalion Wars (Kuju)*
Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door (Intelligent Systems)

Game Boy -

Game Boy Wars (Intelligent Systems)
Metroid II: Return of Samus (Nintendo SP&D1)
Wave Race (Nintendo EAD)*
Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 (Nintendo R&D1)*
Mole Mania (Nintendo EAD?)*
Wario Land II (Nintendo R&D1)*
Card Hero (Nintendo SP&D1)*
Kirby Tilt ‘n’ Tumble (Nintendo R&D2)
Wario Land 3 (Nintendo R&D1)*
Game Boy Wars TURBO (Hudson Soft)*
Game Boy Wars 2 (Hudson Soft)*

Game Boy Advance -

Advance Wars (Intelligent Systems)
F-Zero: Maximum Velocity (NDCUBE)
Custom Robo GX (Noise)*
Golden Sun (Camelot)*
Wario Land 4 (Nintendo R&D1)*
Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising (Intelligent Systems)
Golden Sun: The Lost Age (Camelot)*
Tomato Adventure (AlphaDream)
Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga (AlphaDream)
Mother 1+2 (HAL Labs, APE, Inc.)*
Sennen Kazoku (Nintendo R&D1)*
Rhythm Tengoku (Nintendo SP&D1)
Sword of Mana (Brownie Brown)*
F-Zero Climax (Suzak)
F-Zero GP Legend (Suzak)
Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap (Flagship)
WarioWare: Twisted! (Nintendo SP&D1, Intelligent Systems)
Drill Dozer (Game Freak)
Mother 3 (HAL Labs, Brownie Brown, APE, Inc.)
Magical Vacation (Brownie Brown)*
Sakura Momoko no Ukiuki Carnival (Nintendo EAD)*

Nintendo DS -

Daigasso! Band Brothers (Nintendo EAD?)
WarioWare: Touched! (Nintendo SP&D1, Intelligent Systems)
Kirby: Canvas Curse (HAL Labs)
Advance Wars: Dual Strike (Intelligent Systems)
Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time (AlphaDream)
Freshly-Picked Tingle’s Rosy Rupeeland (Vanpool, Nintendo SP&D3)
Magical Starsign (Brownie Brown)
Custom Robo Arena (Noise)*
Chibi-Robo: Park Patrol (skip ltd.)
Heroes of Mana (Brownie Brown)*
Advance Wars: Days of Ruin (Intelligent Systems)

Let me provide a breakdown on the development studios/teams I have listed:

Intelligent Systems - Nintendo first-party, broke away from Nintendo Research & Development 1 (Gunpei Yokoi's division) to form a studio in Tokyo.

Nintendo Research & Development (Nintendo R&D) - Internal Nintendo first-party, merged into Nintendo EAD with the internal restructuring in 2005 under Satoru Iwata (current president of Nintendo Co. Ltd [NCL]).

Nintendo Software Planning and Development (Nintendo SP&D) - Internal division of Nintendo, some of the remnants of Nintendo R&D can be found here. Team 3 oversees all outsourced projects.

HAL Laboratory, Inc.(HAL Labs) - Nintendo second-party, responsible for Kirby and Super Smash Bros. series.

APE, Inc. - Joint company between HAL Labs and Nintendo. Still exists as Creatures, INC., headed by veteran Nintendo composer Hirokazu Tanaka. Handles some Pokemon merchandising.

Game Freak - Nintendo second-party, responsible for main Pokemon series on handhelds.

Nintendo Entertainment Analysis and Development (Nintendo EAD) - Internal Nintendo first-party, most prominent division in Nintendo. Responsible for Super Mario, Legend of Zelda, Animal Crossing, Mario Kart, and many more. Headed by Shigeru Miyamoto.

Team Deer Force - Now defunct, was a "dream team" composed of Nintendo R&D1 and Intelligent Systems members. Headed by Yoshio Sakamoto (today, manager of Nintendo SP&D1) and Gunpei Yokoi (deceased). Most notable title being Super Metroid.

Brownie Brown - External Nintendo first-party, has done some work for Square Enix with the Mana series. Created the original IP Magical Vacation and Magical Starsign. Did some work on Mother 3.

Noise - Nintendo second-party, responsible for the Custom Robo series.

Rareware - Former Nintendo second-party, now a wholly owned Microsoft Game Studios first party. Most notable titles include Donkey Kong Country, GoldeneEye 007, Perfect Dark and Banjo Kazooie.

Treasure - Third party, developed a few Nintendo 64 exclusive titles that Nintendo published.

Param - Defunct Nintendo second-party.

skip ltd. - Nintendo second-party, responsible for Chibi-Robo! series. Arguably, their most significant title, GiFTPIA, never made it to the states.

Amusement Vision - Internal Sega development team, third party, responsible for the critically lauded F-Zero GX.

Kuju - A particular development team in Kuju that's been responsible for the Battalion Wars series.

Hudson Soft. - Longtime third party, have developed a few titles for Nintendo.

NDCUBE - Nintendo second-party, responsible for two crappy GameCube games and one F-Zero GBA title.

Camelot - Former Nintendo second-party, now aligned with Capcom. Mainly an RPG house, have an affinity with golf titles, though. Former Sega second-party, as well, before Nintendo snatched them up.

AlphaDream - Nintendo second-party, best known for their work with the Mario & Luigi series.

Suzak - Third party, has been licensed some Nintendo properties before.

Flagship - Former semi-Nintendo second-party. Was a joint funded studio by Capcom, Sega and Nintendo. Best known for their work with the Legend of Zelda handheld series. Was dissolved by Capcom in June 2007.

Vanpool - Third party, has been licensed the Tingle IP (intellectual property).

That's everything, I believe.

Things I observed about these studios/divisions:

- Nintendo has an affinity for buying out start-up studios.

- Nintendo has an even bigger affinity for former Squaresoft (now, Square Enix) veterans. Case in point: skip ltd., Brownie Brown, AlphaDream and Monolith Soft. It's a stretch, but Nintendo has a fair majority of the key people that worked on Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. Also, notably, the Xenogears team.

- Nintendo has had, basically, the same teams working on the same series' for decades.

Things I observed from the titles I need to play:

- Each successive generation, my backlog increased.

- I was the most experimental with the software I'd play during the NES days. Likely, due to renting a large number of games.

- I like quirky games, and was more attracted to them as a kid than I am now. Still, a big proponent of quirky titles, though.

- A single Sega Genesis title made the list, lol.

- Never really touched the F-Zero series, I own F-Zero GX, and think it's awesome. I've hardly played it, though.

- Many, many, many Japanese-only releases. Some stuff I probably didn't even realize existed until the advent of the Internet.

- I started playing the Advance Wars series with the first title, but it didn't stick with me. Now, I have, like, 3 or so titles to go through.

- I omitted a ton of Kirby titles. I think the series has, quite frankly, gone downhill since the SNES. Kirby's Canvas Curse looks neat, though.

- Not too many third party developed stuff.

- I haven't played a single Brownie Brown or AlphaDream game.

- I dropped out of the WarioWare series after the first, now I have 3 to play. WarioWare: Smooth Moves on Wii was great (but, dismally short).

- I've hardly touched any of Intelligent Systems' series'. I'm looking forward to diving into their games.

- The largest quantity of titles I missed out on comes from the Game Boy Advance; a platform I largely ignored, sans a few select titles.

- The reason for the above is because I was too busy playing MMORPGs instead of actual games.

- The Mother (EarthBound) series prompted this decision. Top priority, at the moment, is to complete those before moving forward.

- My goal is (to the best of my ability) play these games chronologically (from when they were released).

- I need to learn Japanese if I ever want to play some of these games properly.

- I know way too much about Nintendo first and second party studios/divisions.

The real reason why I intend to do all of this, is to play through a particular series. Fire Emblem has always intrigued me, but, when it finally made it to the States, I had no interest in it. Well, I do, now. I want to go through each Fire Emblem title if possible. Half of these didn't even make it to America, and don't have full translations available. The first SNES Fire Emblem was also a remake of the two NES Fire Emblem's, too. The upcoming Fire Emblem DS is a remake/port of the first Fire Emblem.

The full list, below:


Fire Emblem: Ankoku Ryu to Hikari no Tsurugi (Intelligent Systems)*

Fire Emblem Gaiden (Intelligent Systems)*


Fire Emblem: Monsho no Nazo (Intelligent Systems)*

Fire Emblem: Seisen no Keifu (Intelligent Systems)*

Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 (Intelligent Systems)

Game Boy Advance -

Fire Emblem: Fuin no Tsurugi (Intelligent Systems)*

Fire Emblem: Rekka no Ken [Fire Emblem GBA in US] (Intelligent Systems)

Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones (Intelligent Systems)

GameCube -

Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance (Intelligent Systems)

Wii -

Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn (Intelligent Systems)

Nintendo DS -

Fire Emblem DS (tentative title) (Intelligent Systems)

Observations on Fire Emblem:

- Kickass character designs.

And, that's it. I hope someone actually reads through this entire thing. And, dammit, I need an entry cut like nobody's business.

I'll likely continue this post in a series posting updates over time. Of course, I don't play games at a very quick pace (unless they're new titles). With the plethora of games coming out this Holiday, too, I probably won't get around to most of this for a while.

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