Ah Pikmin, what a game! Wasn’t it the first game released for Gamecube? Well it was the first one that I wanted for mine. I finally got it as a very early Christmas 2003 present from a friend and I played it furiously. The basic premise of the game is that you, Captain Olimar, crash land on a planet eerily similar to Earth. You happily stumble upon helpful little creatures that remind you of Pikpik Brand Carrots, a favorite snack of yours when you are on your home terrain. Thus you name the little darlings Pikmin and before long you have turned their natural propensity to follow you into an invaluable source of free labor.
It took some time to get used to controlling the adorable lil’ guys, because they aren’t amazingly bright, not to mention the trauma when one died. I have what I call a “No Pikmin Left Behind” policy in the game, which means I won’t let any stay on the planet past dark, which is when Olimar and the Pikmin pods blast off into the atmosphere for a safe night’s slumber. When one or more Pikmin is left on the planet there’s a horrible cut scene of one of the bad guys eating your little Pikmin as it runs for the launching ships. I shudder to even think about it!
The way you see the overall “message” of the game really depends on what kind of person you are. You can be a pessimist and say you’re disrupting the ecology of a planet by teaching a prey species to kill, not to mention the fact that you’re exploiting them to get back home. They address the exploitation in what little story line there is, but not the ecology aspect. If you’re an optimist, which I am, you see the game as necessity leading you to teach and entire race of once oppressed beings empowerment. At the end of a “perfect” game all the colors of Pikmin hold hands as you blast off, wave goodbye, and then run off to kick the bum of a creature you usually see trying to eat them. If you’re a big apathetic jerk you’re probably all, “Duh it’s just a game, I’m a jerk and don’t see any message at all!” Happily no one cares what you think, you big apathetic jerk.
Once you’ve successfully escaped planet Pikmin for the first time you’ll have unlocked challenge mode, which is extremely fun. In it you get to see how many Pikmin you can grow in one day in any one of six different areas of the game. I absolutely love this part of the game, even though it has the potential to be much more frustrating than story mode since the enemies are so condensed.
I don’t have any major gender issues with this game like I normally do. You don’t get to choose if Captain Olimar is a man or a woman, he’s obviously a heterosexual male who often thinks of his family at home in his journal entries. There is something good in that though, Olimar thinks of his family lovingly, and gives equal consideration to his son and daughter. As far as gender factors into the game there are two males and two females and neither seems to be valued more than the other. Olimar’s family is never named, but we can assume, if we like, that his wife is a nuclear physicist and both this children are stars of the debate team if we so please. I know I do.
My High Scores
Story Mode …
Pikmin Live: 921
Pikmin Lost: 406
Challenge Mode …
Impact Sight: 163
Forest of Hope: 232
Forest Navel: 190
Distant Spring: 251
Final Trial: 175