Monday, 1 July 2019

Video Game Character of the Month - July 2019 - Nana and Popo - Ice Climbers

Video Game Character of the Month
July 2019
Nana and Popo
Ice Climbers
Looking at the ever-increasing Smash Bros. roster, I’m reminded just how many great characters we have in the world of video games. Complex characterisation, detailed designs, fully formed faces (I didn’t mean to start this alliteration, but we’ll keep going), contrasting colours (OK, we’ll stop now)... But there’s one character which I feel doesn’t get nearly enough recognition, even for just hanging in there. Well, actually, there are two characters. That right, the Ice Climbers are the newest recipients of the Video Game Character of the Month Award:
And now for some more information on the Ice Climbers:

The two Ice Climbers are called Nana and Popo - pink and blue respectively 
They both carry Mallets to break ice with and to destroy their enemies
Their mission is to retrieve the stolen vegetables from a condor and to destroy their enemies 
Enemies they want to destroy include Topi’s (either a blue seal in the Japanese Famicon release or a Yeti in the Western versions), Nitpickers and a White Bear who wears speedos and sunglasses 
There’s also a rare fourth enemy - a purple bee. 
Of course, the slow deterioration of their popularity due to the increasing complexity of other games and Nintendo’s insistent in not revisiting their world is the greatest threat... 
The Ice Climbers sometimes compete against each other 
Sometimes the condor they are trying to reach turns into a giant butterfly 
They are so powerful, the 3DS couldn’t cope with them in Smash Bros. and they had to be restrained into trophy form
Or, according to Palutena's Guidance, they were banned for illegal teaming
They are left-handed in Melee and Brawl but ambidextrous in Ultimate
Nana is the oldest female character, in terms of game release dates, in Super Smash Bros. beating out Peach by 7 months
Nana and Popo have seen themselves redesigned over the years, possibly to help to distinguish between the two, possibly to confuse them enough so they don’t take over the world 
They can help each other reach platforms with rope 
They can create ice out of thin air 
And spin around without the slightest bit of nausea 
In the Super Smash Bros. series the Ice Climbers became so powerful so as to be unaffected by Ice Terrain, even though they are affected by such terrain in their own series
All so that they can completely destroy their enemies 

Origin of Ice Climbers:
Ice Climbers was directed by Kenji Miki, who also created NES Open Tournament Golf and was the first game programmed by Kazuaki Morita, of Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda and Star Fox 64 fame. He created it as a warm-up exercise before Super Mario Bros. Ice Climbers was released as a launch title for the Nintendo Entertainment System in North America. 

Evolution of Ice Climbers:
Ice Climbers has been ported to many different systems over the years, with technical limitations and differences requiring certain graphics to be changed. 
The Ice Climbers were introduced to Super Smash Bros. Melee when it was released in 2001, ushering in a new generation of fans of Nana and Popo. They are now connected by an invisible force, with the player controlling one of the pair (Popo unless you swap costume), and the other mimicking their every move until they get knocked off-screen and all you can hear are screams. 
In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, the Ice Climbers dimensions have been changed slightly, with Popo’s legs and torso increasing in size and Nana’s overall dimensions decreasing. This is to allow better differentiation between the two character models. 
In terms of the future? Maybe a mobile game, maybe world domination, maybe Ragnarok. We’ll have to see. 

Ice Climber: released (Japan) on January 30, 1985/(North America) on October 18, 1985/(Europe) on September 1, 1985 on the NES/(Japan) in October 1985 on the PC-8801/(Japan) in November 1985 on the Sharp X1/(World Wide) in 2004 on the Game Boy Advance (Classic NES Series)/(World Wide) in 2007 on the Wii Virtual Console/(World Wide) in 2011 on the 3DS Virtual Console/(World Wide) in 2013 on the Wii U Virtual Console/(World Wide) in 2018 on the Nintendo Switch
Vs. Ice Climber: released (Japan/North America) in 1985 on Arcade VS. UniSystem/(Japan) on November 18, 1988 on the Famicom
Ice Climber-e: released (North America) in 2002 in Animal Crossing on the GameCube via the e-Reader and Game Boy Advance/(Japan) in 2002 via data transfer from Dobutsu no Mori+
Animal Crossing/Dobutsi no Mori + (Japan): released (Japan) on December 14, 2001/(North America) on September 15, 2002/(Australia) on October 17, 2003/(Europe) on September 24, 2004 on GameCube/(Japan) on June 27, 2003 on e+/(China) on January 1, 2006
Super Smash Bros.: released (Japan) on January 21, 1999/ (North America) on April 26,  1999/ (Europe) on November 19, 1999 on Nintendo 64/ (Japan) on January 20, 2009/ (PAL) on June 12, 2009/ (North America) on December 21, 2009 on Virtual Console
Super Smash Bros. Melee: released (Japan) on November 21, 2001/ (North America) on December 3, 2001/ (Europe) on May 24, 2002/ (Australia) on May 31, 2002 on Nintendo GameCube
Super Smash Bros. Brawl: released (Japan) on January 31, 2008/ (North America) on March 9, 2008/ (Australia) on June 26, 2008/ (Europe) on June 27, 2008 on Wii
Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS:  released (Japan) on September 13, 2014/ (North America/Europe) on October 3, 2014/ (Australia) on October 4, 2014 
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U: released (North America) on November 21, 2014/(Europe) on November 28, 2014/(Australia) on November 29, 2014/(Japan) on December 6, 2014
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: released (World Wide) on December 7, 2018 on Nintendo Switch
Super Mario Maker: released (Japan) on September 10, 2015/(Europe/North America) on September 11, 2015/(Australia) on September 12, 2015 on Wii U
Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS: released (Japan) on December 1, 2016/(Europe/North America) on December 2, 2016/(Australia) on December 3, 2016 on the Nintendo 3DS

Ice Climber Themes and Imagery Appear in:
WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgames/WarioWare, Inc.: Minigame Mania (PAL): released: (Japan) on March 21, 2003/(Europe) on May 23, 2003/(North America) on May 26, 2003/(Australia) on June 6, 2003 on Nintendo Game Boy Advance/(World Wide) in December 2011 on Nintendo 3DS Ambassadors Program/(Japan) on April 3, 2014/(North America/Europe) on April 10, 2014
WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Party Games: released (Japan) on October 17, 2003/(North America) on April 5, 2004/(Europe) on September 3, 2004 on Nintendo GameCube
WarioWare: Twisted!: released (Japan) on October 14, 2004/(Australia) on May 19, 2005/(North America) on May 23, 2005 on Game Boy Advance
WarioWare: Touched!: released (Japan) on December 2, 2004, (North America) on February 14, 2005/(Australia) on February 24, 2005/(Europe) on March 11, 2005 on the Nintendo DS/(World Wide) on Wii U Virtual Console in 2015/(World Wide) on Nintendo 3DS in 2016
WarioWare: Smooth Moves: released (Japan) on December 2, 2006/(Europe) on January 12, 2007/(North America) on January 15, 2007/(Australia) on January 25, 2007 on the Wii
WarioWare: Snapped!: released (Japan) on December 24, 2008/(Australia) on April 2, 2009/(Europe) on April 3, 2009/(North America) on April 5, 2009/(North America) on April 5, 2009/(China) on March 11, 2010 on Nintendo DSiWare 
WarioWare D.I.Y.: released (Japan) on April 29, 2009/(North America) on March 28, 2010/(Europe) on April 30, 2010/(Australia) on May 20, 2010 on Nintendo DS
Game & Wario: released (Japan) on March 28, 2013/(North America) on June 23, 2013/(Europe) on June 28, 2013/(Australia) on June 29, 2013 on Wii U
WarioWare Gold: released (Europe) on July 27, 2018/(Australia) on July 28, 2018/(Japan) on August 2, 2018/(North America) on August 3, 2018 on Nintendo 3DS
Kirby: Nightmare in Dreamland: released in (World Wide) in 2002 on the Game Boy Advance
Kirby Air Ride: released (Japan) on July 11, 2003/(North America) on October 13, 2003/(Europe) on February 27, 2004/(Australia) on March 30, 2004 on GameCube
Daigasso! Band Brothers: released (Japan) on December 2, 2004 on Nintendo DS

That's all for now on Nana and Popo, the Ice Climbers, but, as always, if we've made a mistake or missed something out then please don't hesitate to comment! And, of course, if you have a suggestion for the next winner of the prestigious Video Game Character of the Month Award then please comment as well!

Thanks for reading, Satamer.
Goodbye for now, Harry


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