Everyone loves an established video game franchise. After all, some of gaming’s best loved characters have been going on adventure after adventure for years, prompting players to line up to reserve the next installment of Super Mario, Link, Samus Aran, or Sonic the Hedgehog. Over the years, however, some games just haven’t struck gold; they’ve been overshadowed by more popular fare that shares the store shelf or are even passed over due to something as petty as unimpressive box art or an unusual premise. They deserve to be remembered and revived, but instead they are The Forgotten.
Doshin the Giant
Developed by Nintendo
Released for Nintendo 64DD (Japan, 1999) and GameCube (Japan and Europe, 2002)
Here's a forgotten title that is only forgotten in North America. Nintendo's Doshin the Giant follows the adventures of Doshin the Love Giant, a little yellow fellow who lives on the island of Barudo. The villagers of Barudo love Doshin, and in return he loves them. In fact, this love allows Doshin to grow to large sizes; the nicer he treats the villagers, the more they love him and the larger he becomes. The game is essentially a world-builder game, as the plot involves Doshin's efforts to build temples for the various villages on the island. Adding unique twists to the experience are the inclusion of the passing of time (one full day/night cycle lasts thirty real minutes, after which Doshin's size resets back to normal) and the ability to transform gentle Doshin into Janshin the Hate Giant, an evil manifestation who grows larger from absorbing hatred from the villagers, hatred that is needed for certain tasks.
Doshin is a unique title and, unfortunately, has not been released in North America in any form. The original Japanese version for the Nintendo 64DD came bundled with the add-on and was to have been released worldwide had the 64DD been available outside of Japan. It was decided to enhance the game for the Nintendo GameCube for worldwide release in 2002 along with another Japan-only Nintendo 64 title, Animal Crossing (née Forest). However, since both Doshin and Animal Crossing were so unusual and unique, each game would be released on a "test market" basis. While Japan received both games, North America was treated to Animal Crossing while Europe ended up with Doshin the Giant. The plan was to see how well each game sold and then release the games in other regions if sales were positive, and while Animal Crossing performed well enough to reach other regions, North America missed out on Doshin.
Part of Doshin the Giant's mystique is related to the fact that Nintendo fans in North America have not had the opportunity to play it. It's another one of those titles that "got away", and as such it has a small following amongst people who have never actually played it. While a sequel or port for the Wii would be nice, I think it'd be better if players were able to get a taste of the original Doshin. From a marketing and financial point of view it is too late to release the GameCube version of the game in North America, but it's the perfect time to bring the Nintendo 64DD version of the game to the Wii's Virtual Console. If the game is warmly received then we can talk about a sequel.
Don't miss this exclusive video clip of the Nintendo 64DD version of Doshin the Giant in action courtesy of PTB reader Guy Perfect.