Get over here!
A game in which your voice guides Pikachu…and he understands you?!
Sounds great in concept, don’t you think?
Hear me out, it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be!
In 1998, Japan released a “digital pet”/”life simulator” game called Pikachū Genki Dechū, a pun on “Pikachu genki desu” (which translates to “Pikachu is fine”), that included a microphone, and allowed players to talk to and give Pikachu instructions. Apparently, this game was good enough there to be released over here…two years later.
On November 6, 2000, Hey You, Pikachu! was released in North America (I checked the date of the tape I got this from – I apparently taped it the night before the game’s release), and received mixed-to-average reviews.
To see the commercial about it (and the dog who feels neglected as a result), click play below!
The game’s plot involved testing out a Voice Recognition Unit (VRU) for Professor Oak to talk to any Pokemon. Of course, no other Pokemon are available except for Pikachu. The player earns his trust, where he eventually will come to live in the player’s house, because Pikachu in various toy forms probably already didn’t live there 3000 times. Pikachu has three activity days – Pikachu’s Daring Days, Discovery Days, and Play Days – with different objectives. Successful completion earns Pika Points that can be used at Abra’s shop to unlock new items.
Eventually, once you reach 365 days of taming a Wild Pikachu, he must be released back to the wild. The player must go the woods where Pikachu was found and say “goodbye” several times, upon which Pikachu realizes he cannot live with the player anymore, and…leaves. OMG, this just sounds sad!
Oh, and after the game credits, Pikachu comes back to the front yard, where you (the player) is reminiscing about the year you spent taming a Wild Pikachu. The game then continues like you never released him in to the wild.
Seriously, that’s how it ends…and starts over again! I guess if you love something and set it free, it was meant to be if it comes back. So Pikachu coming back…was meant to be?
I can’t imagine someone getting through the entire 365 days. Does this mean you have to play this every day for a year? How long do the days last in Hey You, Pikachu anyway?
The game had several spiritual sequels – Pokemon Channel on GameCube, and PokePark Wii: Pikachu’s Adventure (which in itself had a direct sequel, Wonders Beyond). The game used voice capabilities that were criticized, as the Voice Recognition Unit really only worked well with higher-pitched voices, like that of a child.
Yes, because I’m sure there were 30-year-old men with deep voices who would have loved playing this game.
Don’t judge them!
The concept seemed a bit ahead of its time, as this was the kind of technology that would become commonplace once the Nintendo DS and 3DS came around, as those had the microphone built in.
In the United States, this was the only game to use the Voice Recognition Unit. In Japan, there was one other game that utilized voice controls…
Yes, let’s put a train in the very capable hands of young children!
Oh, and the commercial also promoted the limited edition Pokemon Nintendo 64. This is quite cute, actually!
And there you have it, a video game slightly ahead of its time. We’ll touch on the whole “futuristic” theme tomorrow in a very related Flashback Friday article, sticking to the whole “Nintendo” theme.
There will be no Pikachu or Pokemon in that future.
Have a great Throwback Thursday!