I have been a Gamer since my childhood years. 

I started with a ZX Spectrum 48k Plus when I was about 13 years old. From there I graduated to, in order:

  • ZX Spectrum 128k
  • Commodore Amiga
  • Sega Megadrive (Genesis for all you guys across the pond!)]
  • Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES)
  • Sega Saturn
  • Sega Dreamcast
  • Nintendo 64
  • Nintendo Gamecube
  • Playstation
  • Playstation 2
  • XBox 360
  • Nintendo Wii
  • Xbox One
  • Nintendo Switch

Now you may have noticed that while my early years saw me chasing pretty much every console as it came out, my later list has some notable holes. No Playstation 3? Original XBox? And where’s the latest generation of consoles, Jon?

Well, as I got older and consoles got waaaaaaay more expensive, my buying habits have become driven by the need for particular games. And when it comes to those, I’m firmly in the camp of Nintendo providing the ones I REALLY need.

Every Mario game, especially MarioKarts, is an event for me. Every Zelda game is much needed (though to my shame I’ve not played Breath of the Wild yet!  Yeah, I know!)

And then, there’s Pikmin.

So…for those of you who don’t know, here’s what Pikmin is in a nutshell…

Classic Pikmin follows the adventures of Captain Olimar, who crashes his spaceship onto a planet that looks very much like Earth, in a ‘Honey I Shrunk The Kids‘ kind of way.

His ship is damaged, parts off it scattered all through the land. He can make orbit, but can’t fly away. He needs to find those parts and fix his ship so he can go home. But there are all manner of dangerous creatures and obstacles in his way!

Oh No! What is a teeny tiny space captain to do?

Fortunately, he finds help in the form of these cute little critters buried in the ground like little flowering sprouts. He plucks them out and lo and behold…PIKMIN!

There are all manner of different species of Pikmin and each has a skill or two.

RED Pikmin are good fighters and are fireproof

YELLOW are resistant to electricity.

BLUE can walk in the water without drowning. 

And so on. 

The levels are carefully constructed to provide obstacles where you’ll need to juggle your Pikmin types to pass them and retrieve the ship parts (which are too heavy for you to carry alone. Fortunately Pikmin are strong! Like ants!) 

Now here’s the rub… Brace yourself…  

Unless they run for their little Pikmin lives…

Your cute little allies WILL get eaten by the big bad creatures.


You see, Pikmin can be created by feeding things into their little homes. This generates more Pikmin seeds which you can pick to become more Pikmin. So, slowly over time, you start accumulating the little critters. At first, you think of them as your army. Platoons of Pikmin, all skilled in different things and ready to roll out to fight. 

But then at some point…you get attached to them. 

You start being very very careful how you deploy them into battle. Try to minimize the losses.

This is because the game has a time limit. Olimar and the Pikmin can only work during daylight hours. At night ALL the scary monsters come out and you have to leave. Blasting off safely into orbit, followed by the homes of your little Pikmin. The chimes of the clock warn you as night approaches, and this brings with it anxiety for two reasons.


The Pikmin maps can be kinda big, relatively speaking. It can take you maybe 30 or 40 seconds to walk from one side of the map to the other. That doesn’t sound like much, but when that chime for the last 60 seconds sounds and you realize you’ve left a whole squad of Pikmin on the other side of the map, you start to panic! 

Because if those little guys and gals don’t get back before lift-off, they’re goners. Scoffed by the big bad night monsters. 

Suddenly you’re in a race against time. Running. Gathering them up and then scampering with all speed back to the rocket. 

Then you see him. 

That one last Pikmin that didn’t quite fall in the range of your whistle. He’s not with the group and you have no time. 

You climb into your rocket, face pressed against the window, and watch as he runs towards you. It’s too late. You’re airborne and he’s about to be eaten. It’s truly traumatizing. 

You weep for your fallen brother.


You made it. But he didn’t. You feel bad enough as it is, and then the game puts up the cold hard stats on screen and slaps you in the face with your failure.

You started the day with 175 Pikmin. 

You ended it with 102.

The little graph shows a sharp decline, and you know it’s your fault. You were careless with your battle strategy. You accidentally dragged a bunch of yellow Pikmin into the water and they drowned! Why did you think that the water Pikmin would stand a chance against the electric monster? And how could you so carelessly have left that last Pikmin behind as he ran toward you, waving for you to stop?


You’ll never forget the look of betrayal on his little Pikmin face.

You vow that you’ll do better the next day. You won’t let your Band of Brothers down again.

NEVER again.

The reason I’m talking about Pikmin is because this coming weekend sees the release of Pikmin 4, and it’s a game I’ve been looking forward to. Wifey had already pre-ordered it and I can’t wait to get stuck into it. 

We’ve been brushing up our skills practicing on Pikmin 3 Deluxe lately, nailing the Platinum Award on all those time trial levels. 

Nintendo has a habit of pushing games out into the world which at a glance would seem to be childish. Or aimed at a younger audience certainly. But they’re not. The Zelda games are fiendishly clever adventures. The Mario games are the epitome of platformers (and don’t get me started on how clever PaperMario was!). The MarioKart games bring out the absolute worst in me, firing up a competitive spirit I didn’t know I had (Wifey sometimes didn’t talk to me for days following our epic MarioKart Wii championships!). 

And then there’s Pikmin.

It’s so cute, and yet it’s also so clever. It gets under your skin. Makes you care in a way I’ve never cared about teeny computer game characters before. 

There’s a lot about this game that kind of reminds me of Cannon Fodder on the old Amiga. Where you had a teeny squad of soldiers and you ran them into battle. When they died you saw their little gravestones in the graveyard. 

This is that x 1,000,000!

If you’re a gamer and have a switch, give it a whirl. Oh, and it’s best played in Co-op mode with a friend. 

If you’re looking for myself or my wife this weekend, you know where we’ll be. 

Love and Books (and VideoGames!)


Spread the word. Share this post!