Nintendo's Year 2000 in Review
Review by: Hairball (hairball@sm128c.com)

Editorial Posted: December 30, 2000

When we think of the year 2000, we would think about that Y2K bug, that we feared when we approached the end of 1999, people thought that the world would end, power goes wacko, bombs flying everywhere. Well you guess what? Nothing happened. The year 2000 marked the beginning of a new millennium, new century, new beginning. And to celebrate it, cities across the world were showing off their amazing fireworks displays, to honour this historical event.

In the Year 2000, only 2 N64 Mario games saw the light of day. Mario Party 2 and Mario Tennis. We'll review the major Nintendo events of the year in this article and comment on what went on this year. On the Game Boy, not a single Mario game came out, unless you include Wario Land 3, which doesn't really rate as a Mario game.

Winter ("1st Quarter") 2000

Mario Party 2 came out in North America on January 24, 2000. It was the sequel to one of the 1999 hits, Mario Party. With improved game play, this game was great if you haven't played the original, but it isn't really a worthy purchase, if you already have the original, since the game is just more of the same.

Hardware wise, there was also a little stir in things. Early in January, Nintendo announced that transparent coloured N64's would be released in the year, hoping to revitalize the life of the near-dead N64. Also, in the middle of January, Nintendo announced that the Game Boy Advance will be released on November 1, 2000. This did not happen, this goes to show how much Nintendo games and systems are delayed.

In February, Nintendo officially announced the delay of Project: Dolphin (now known as GameCube) and the Game Boy Advance until 2001.

Spring ("2nd Quarter") 2000

In April, Mario Tennis (N64 version) was unveiled. Created by Camelot, the creators of the 1999 hit Mario Golf, came Mario Tennis. Mario Tennis is the only other Mario game released in the year 2000.

The game also had some surprising news, a new character was created, like Mario to Wario, came Waluigi, Luigi's new enemy. Like the Mario and Wario relationship, the relationship between Luigi and Waluigi was also a mystery. Are all 4 of them brothers? It all makes no sense, heck, after all, they are games, and games are meant for entertainment, not killing your brain thinking about relationships.

Mario Tennis will also have a Game Boy counterpart, similarly to Mario Golf. How the games integrate is yet to be known, but it's possible there will be RPG elements, like Mario Golf. The games will be linked using the Transfer Pak.

E3 2000 was at Los Angeles, and marked the first showing of Mario Tennis and Paper Mario overseas. Nintendo also announced the release dates of its upcoming Mario games. Mario Tennis was scheduled to be released on September 25, and Paper Mario was scheduled to be released on December 26. Neither of these release dates stood but ironically, Mario Tennis was released early by Nintendo. The game ended up in North American stores on August 28. Paper Mario on the other hand still hasn't been released here, as of right now.

Summer ("3rd Quarter") 2000

The summer of 2000 brought a lot of interesting news, rumours, and tidbits. A very unreliable source, Computer and Video Games was reporting that Project: Dolphin (the upcoming Nintendo system) was going to be called Star Cube. This created lots of weird news reports.

Mario Party 3 for N64, Mario Tennis for Game Boy Color, and Mario Kart Advance (tentative name) for Game Boy Advance were going to be shown at Space World, a Nintendo-only exhibition in Japan.

At Space World, Nintendo officially announced the name of Project: Dolphin, the system was called GameCube, not Star Cube. Though the name isn't very much different, we finally got to see the system itself, not a bunch of specs that make no sense. According to Nintendo, the GameCube is supposed to beat out the Sony Playstation 2, in every aspect.

At the show, we also got to see the demo games that were showing including the GameCube controller. The demos were just "test" games, and they might not be released into real games when the system launches. Some demos shown were Luigi's Mansion, Zelda, Metroid, and Super Mario 128. These games really give us a vivid impression of what the GameCube can do.

Also at the Space World show, the Game Boy Advance was also revealed, following the shadow of its big brother, GameCube. Some games were showed on the GBA, but nothing was as big as Mario Kart Advance. After many years, we're finally going to get a Mario Kart game on the Game Boy.

The GameCube won't use cartridges, like all previous Nintendo consoles. Instead it will use DVDs as its media. But there will be one major difference, the DVDs that the system will use will have a diameter of 8 cm, so they will be smaller than usual. But they can still hold 1.5 GB of data. That's the 190 times the size of Super Mario 64!

Something is different with the Game Boy Advance now. No longer will it be in a "vertical" setup, the system will be changing to a "horizontal" style, much like the Sega Game Gear, and the Neo Geo.

Release dates were also announced for the GameCube and Game Boy Advance. GameCube will be released in Japan in July 2001, with no specific date. There should be 5 titles at launch, and it's almost certain that one will be a Mario platform game. It will be released in North America in October 2001, and the system will be playable at E3 in May 2001.

The future is starting to look a lot brighter for Nintendo with its GameCube and Game Boy Advance coming out next year.

After being bombarded with all this GameCube and Game Boy Advance news, how can we not forget that Mario Tennis was going to be released on August 28. A Mario sports game is always special, and with the new characters, such as Waluigi and Daisy, it brings for even more fun. If you haven't played this game already, at least play it, it's one of the best N64 games to come out in a long time, great for multiplayer!

In September, Nintendo started running Mario Tennis tournaments on the Mario Tennis website at www.mariotennis.com. The way it works is by using the password system, to enter passwords, and then entering the resulting passwords.

Fall ("4th Quarter") 2000

With all that news in the summer, it's time to cool down a bit. Uhh...no pun intended. Really, to be honest, there isn't much news in this quarter. Except that Paper Mario has been delayed till February 5, 2001.

The only good thing is that we're getting closer to the GameCube and Game Boy Advance releases. The bad thing is that the Sony Playstation 2 has been released, and that isn't very good for Nintendo. But with limited supplies, it's been sold out everywhere, let's hope that Nintendo doesn't screw up like that when they release the GameCube.

Final Comments

Well, what a year. Although nothing absolutely stunning came out from Nintendo this year, we got our feast of news to keep us happy. For about a year and a half, we didn't know what the new Nintendo system was called, going to be, and if it'll ever come out. There was this big question mark on all of this.

Next year, we'll be in for a lot of fun. A brand new Nintendo console, and a new portable system. Wow, what else can you ask for? Except maybe the money to buy them...

-- Hairball (hairball@sm128c.com)