Earlier this year, Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation author Blake J. Harris offered us a peek inside the official Nintendo Character Manual from 1993 where we learned such fascinating facts about classic Nintendo heroes and villains such as Yoshi's real name (T. Yoshisaur Munchakoopas) and mushroom retainer Toad's original hometown (he has family in the Fungus Federation). Now Blake has provided PTB with more pages from that guide. Thrill at official artwork, PANTONE guides, and brief biographies for characters such as Luigi, Wario, Samus Aran, Kirby, and more. Long-running questions about these characters are finally answered in this guide including Wario's relation to Mario and why Pauline returned to the Donkey Kong spotlight after an absence of nearly fifteen years. Did you know that Mario loves opera music? Some of this you may have seen before in previous excerpts (such as parts of Mario's bio), but I'm posting all that I have here in one place in the name of completeness. It's a fascinating look behind the curtain at licensing guidelines that the end-consumer typically never gets to see.
Nintendo of Japan cranks out of a lot of character artwork specific to its home region. Some of the more expressive, cultural images (such as Mario and Princess Peach in traditional kimonos) rarely make it out of the country to be used in advertising the Nintendo brands overseas. With the company preparing to launch the New 3DS in Japan, television commercials are already running to show off the new customizable faceplate options. As part of the campaign, Nintendo's artists have put together some images of the company's famous characters such as Mario, Pikachu, and Link sporting some very garish, loud costumes to show that you can personalize your New 3DS to be as obnoxiously clashing as you want. At least, I think that's the intent. Let's have a look at some of these images.
It seems like such a natural, common sense move for Nintendo to use its famous stable of characters to promote the struggling Wii U, but the company has only now started to use Mario, Luigi, Yoshi and others to show off what the console can do. New original artwork showing the characters using the Wii U's unique features has been uncovered by Kotaku and NeoGAF via Nintendo's Japanese website and for those of us who like new Nintendo art done in the old 2D style, these images are a total treasure. Check these out!
I had no idea Yoshi was so musical, although I'd imagine that only being able to say "Yoshi" would limit his karaoke skills. Mario is using the GamePad to choose the next song on the playlist while his dinosaur pal mangles some greatest overplayed hit, no doubt.
Every hero has his or her arch-nemesis to battle again and again in a series of ultimate showdowns. While the original Mega Man squared off against Dr. Wily oh so many times, his successor Mega Man X was destined to take down the former leader of the Maverick Hunters following an encounter with Dr. Wily's legacy project that forever changed the future of humanity and robots alike. Today's installment of Artwork on Parade follows the development of the villainous Sigma across his debut game and many sequels, but despite the fact that he returned for another face-off time and again in a variety of dangerous and deadly forms, in the end he was left shattered and damaged beyond repair or redemption. On the other hand, he has a knack for rocking the stylish capes and bulky shoulder pads, so he can't be totally evil. Not with that fashion sense.
With the new Metroid: Other M for the Nintendo Wii poised to tell another tale of the ongoing saga of Samus Aran, it seems like a good time to take a step back and have a look at one of the bounty hunter's most beloved adventures. Considering that Other M opens at the end of 1994's Super Metroid, it's only proper to have a fresh look at the promotional character artwork created for the Super NES title nearly two decades ago. From Samus herself to the titular Metroids to Space Pirates and Mother Brain's army of horrifying space monsters, planet Zebes saw a lot of action before being blown to kingdom come. Let's review a little of that madness before moving on to Samus's latest challenge.
Whenever screenshots of an anticipated game currently in development are released, fans excitedly rush to see what famous characters such as Mario are up to this time. We gawk over images of early game prototypes, but all too often we overlook how a game's logo can change during the development process. In this installment of Artwork On Parade we'll examine several early concept logos from the Nintendo archives and compare them to the eventual finished product. Sometimes a game's name may change, resulting in a slight tweak to some of the artwork. Other times entire names and properties are altered, resulting in more sweeping revisions. Then there's the little changes to fonts, colors, and all of the other aspects that make up a design. Let's have a look at the major, the minor, and the downright unrecognizable alterations of the logos you thought you knew.
When Mario Superstar Baseball was first revealed for the GameCube back in 2005, it went by the more mundane title of Mario Baseball and featured this logo inspired by a traditional baseball diamond and a font for the word "Baseball" that would be at home on an actual jersey.
By the time the game reached stores, however, it had picked up a "Superstar", dropped the diamond, and gained some color. This logo fits more into the family of Mario logos with the rainbow lettering, but losing the diamond and the jersey font turned the overall design into something painfully generic. Note the slight alteration to the font used for "Mario" as well.
It's been a long wait, but the North American localization of Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story has finally arrived courtesy of Nintendo, and with it comes a new collection of character artwork for us to study and adore. Mario and Luigi are back to deal with the latest threat to the Mushroom Kingdom, this time teaming up with traditional antagonist Bowser to drive Fawful, the Engrish-cackling sidekick villain from the original Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, out of the kingdom once and for all. The catch? Bowser has inadvertently shrunk and swallowed everyone's favorite plumbers, sending the brothers on an Innerspace / Fantastic Voyage riff as the leader of the Koopas and self-proclaimed king of awesome handles things out in the conventional overworld. Let's take a tour (with just minor story spoilers of around the first hour or so of the game) of some of the colorful cast of characters that populate Bowser's world (both inside and out) in this installment of Artwork On Parade.
I want you to take a moment and imagine Nintendo's famously beloved plumber, Mario, in your mind. Chances are that you're envisioning soft angles and gentle curves mixed with primary colors. A familiar red hat sporting the iconic M logo is probably in there somewhere along with a cheery smile, bright eyes, and a bushy 'stache. Mario has changed his style gradually over the years, but he mostly remains the same at heart. His general image never really changes. Well, except for that one time when it did. Let's step back a few years to 2005 when Mario and his Mushroom Kingdom associates decided to put down the baseball gloves, park the go-karts, and store the tennis rackets in order to kick around the ol' ball in an aggressive game of soccer ("football" to those of you outside of North America). Next Level Games somehow convinced Nintendo to present a new variation of Mario's world, trading the smiles and sunshine for harsh strokes and coloring outside of the lines. Super Mario Strikers for the Nintendo GameCube presents a much different take on Nintendo's most famous franchise cast and it's the subject of today's Artwork on Parade.
As a new 3D modern Bionic Commando adventure swings into stores this week in North America and Europe, it seems only appropriate to take a look back at the official artwork behind the original adventures of hero Nathan "Radd" Spencer and his amazing bionic arm. We all know the story by now: when the notorious Badds led by Generalissimo Killt put into action a plan to resurrect their slain leader and launch a fearsome airship weapon, the Federation's greatest soldier, Super Joe, is sent to destroy the threat. When he goes missing, it's up to Spencer to go behind enemy lines and finish Joe's mission. From Area 1 to the mighty Albatross airship and everywhere in between, there's a reason why Bionic Commando stands out as one of the most beloved video games of the late 1980s... but it's sure not because of the artwork. Let's take a walk back to the 1980s and do a little gawking.
Today's visit to the promotional artwork archive takes us to the original Star Fox for the Super NES. Released in 1993 to show off the power of the Super FX chip, the game's characters are mainly window dressing to justify the existence of the arwing fighter ships. Fittingly enough, the promotional artwork created for the game focuses on these characters instead of the arwing itself, as the game was released during the great character mascot invasion of the early to mid-1990s. Polygonal ships couldn't sell games or spark the imagination as effectively as quartet of animal/human hybrid heroes. Let's take a quick trip to the planet Corneria and revisit some vintage artwork from the original Star Fox adventure.