With Nintendo set to pull back the curtain on their next home console in a few short weeks, we’d thought it would be interesting to take a look back at some of their other console unveiling. While researching for this article, it was curious to note the different methods the Big N took to reveal their consoles. The N64 was perhaps the most intriguing as there was roughly a 3 year difference between announcement and reveal, which serves as the largest head-start. The Wii had a staggered reveal with Nintendo revealing the shell of the console, then the controller for the console and finally the games at 3 different events spread out over the course of a year.
Perhaps, the most practical of their reveals was the Nintendo GameCube. At SpaceWorld 2000, the world was introduced to the little purple wonder (Though at the time, it was teased to come in an assortment of colors) and its odd ball controller. Not only that but we were granted a demo reel to showcase the potential of the device. Check it out below:
As you can see, there were a ton of content on display. Though only in video form, I believe no actual software was playable until e3 the following year. Which is also opposite of the Wii’s reveal where a ton of demos were shown behind closed doors, but nothing ever came of that to the public.
How did Nintendo do on delivering on the promise of the demo reel? Well for one, the majority of those demos were eventually turned into games. I’m not sure Meowth’s Party was really turned into a game, but of course Pokemon had a presence on the GameCube.
Wave Race evolved from
to Wave Race: Blue Storm
Looking at the two videos (and trust me, no graphical expert), it would appear that the character models took a little hit, but the water movement and physics are much better in the final game. There also appears to be no virtual fishies living in the water, alas can’t win them all. I think they did a decent job of living up to the promise.
The Star Wars demo was probably in-game footage but went from:
To an eventual launch title in Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader
The potential was there, and it did become a graphical showcase for the Gamecube’s launch. Though, I feel like the emptiness of space helps out just a tad.
Finally, we come to Luigi’s Mansion, which turned out to be the showcase launch title for the Nintendo GameCube.
This is a game that looks like it lived up to its initial reveal pretty well. The biggest difference to note is the loss of expressiveness for Luigi. As you can see in the SpaceWorld footage, his reactions are a lot more cartoony and over-the-top, which I felt helped with the charm. But it was toned down a bit for the final version, who’s to say why!
Now if you watched the video above, you may wonder why I said finally at Luigi’s Mansion when there were other games in the demo reel. And that’s because between the SpaceWorld 2000 reveal and their eventual release, Zelda and Metroid underwent some minor cosmetic changes. Let’s check them out:
This is what the Legend of Zelda looked like when it was revealed in the summer of 2000.
This is what the game looked like 2 1/2 years later when it was released in the spring of 2003. It may be hard to spot the differences, but if you pay close attention to it, you’ll see it!
Another minor note on the Legend of Zelda tech demo, is that I feared that Zelda would not be featured during the Project Cafe reveal. But re-watching the Zelda Spaceworld demo, and double checking my dates. This demo also arrived before the release of Majora’s Mask on the Nintendo 64. (Zelda sure does love being the swan song for a console) Its a minor hope, but means there’s a chance Zelda can wow us all in HD in a few short weeks.
Next on the agenda, was a franchise that Nintendo had put on the shelf throughout most of the 90s and the entirety of the Nintendo 64 lifetime. The Metroid saga was renewed for the GameCube with this tech demo:
Can’t seem to find the original demo from SpaceWorld on its own, but check the first video for series’ heroine, Samus, running through a corridor. Then check out what the game was like 2 years later:
Not only did Samus undergone a slight change, but the game switched perspective. It wouldn’t be until August 2010 (almost 10 years after the reveal) that we got a 3rd person Metroid game. Which quality, we won’t discuss here!
There was one final demo/footage shown in the clip above, but due to some ensuing problems throughout the generation, Perfect Dark and its developer jumped ship to Microsoft, and Ms. Dark wouldn’t be seen again until the launch of the Xbox 360 in 2005.
You may have also noticed that Mario was missing (no pun) from the demo reel. While he was Nintendo’s marquee mascot, he didn’t really have a “Game play” demo as much as he had a tech demo.
Super Mario 128 was one of the playable items on display at SpaceWorld 2000, and was used to simply demonstrate the power of the GameCube.
Not much from the actual demo was re-used in Mario’s GameCube debut with Super Mario Sunshine. Other than perhaps the deforming landscape. The idea of a spherical world, and multiple Marios on screen though would make a return in the Super Mario Galaxy games.
There you go, a look back at the reveal of the GameCube in 2000. Sure, there were other aspects such as the reaction to the funky controller design (I don’t think Nintendo has ever revealed a controller without some questionable reactions) and a few more demos that were revealed AFTER the event such as Rebirth.
All in all, Nintendo did a solid job on delivering on the promises of the initial reveal. There were some bumps in the road, but it happens. Which franchises/companies will make the leap into the next gen for Nintendo? We only have to wait a few weeks to find out!