We look back at some of the Nintendo moments that made us smile, laugh, cry and cower in fear.
Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan!
Developed by: iNiS
Published by: Nintendo
Emotions it inspires: Sadness, romance, hope
How the game inspires emotion : Storyline, characters, music
Osu! Tatake! Ouendan! (Which translates to “Go! Fight! Cheer Squad!”) was a game that took many DS gamers by surprise in 2005. Strictly a Japanese import, Ouendan is a rhythm game developed by iNiS, creators of the cult classic Gitaroo Man. The object is to tap the beats to the rhythm of the song. You play as a cheerleading squad called the Ouendan. Their mission in life is to go around and help people by motivating them through the power of cheer. All you need to do is scream their name and they will arrive instantly. The better you do, the happier the outcome will be.
If you think this concept sounds silly, it is. Ouendan has some of the wackiest storylines ever seen in a rhythm game, including one where you must cheer a couple of policemen as they fight off a robot alien invasion, all set to the melody of Orange Range’s “Shanghai Honey.” It’s this kind of irreverence along with the addicting gameplay that made Ouendan one of the most popular import titles for the DS.
But as wacky as the whole game was, there was one scene that was completely different from them all. It abandons all of the Japanese wackiness to tell a very serious story. This stage would become one of the most poignant scenes in all of Nintendo gaming.
In this stage, a young man dies in a motor bike accident and his soul goes to heaven. At the pearly gates he struggles with the angels. When the head angel asks him what the matter is, he tells them that he wants to go back to Earth and say good-bye to his lover. The head angel agrees to the petition, but sets a time limit. Thus, he calls the Ouendan to help him overcome his state and try to tell his girlfriend that he loves her one final time.
The song featured in this stage is called “Over the Distance” by Yaida Hitomi. The song itself is a beautiful anthem for true love overcoming any obstacle, with the music video for it featuring beautiful shots of oceans and mountains. Combined this with the storyline and the inspired images it makes for one of the saddest and romantic scenes in a Nintendo game ever.
The ghost tries to contact his girlfriend through supernatural mediums. He turns the lights of his bikes on in order to form a heart. When the girl is having tea, he knocks over the tea cups and makes a spill in the form of a heart. The final attempt has him writing to her on her laptop. When the song ends, he finally reaches her and tells her “I love you”.
Even if the story is reminiscent of the movie “Ghost” it’s a very beautiful story, one that stood out the most in a game where a scenario with a businessman growing to thrice his normal size, in order to defeat a mutant mouse, is closer to the status quo.
The idea of the sad story would then be presented two more times. In Elite Beat Agents, the western title built on Ouendan, the story goes that a little girl sees her father for the last time one Christmas eve. A year after his death, they decide to live life as if he was still alive, remembering what a wonderful man he was. On Christmas Eve, the spirit of the father finally arrives home and brings the present she wanted all along: the love of her father. The song that tells the story is “You’re the inspiration” by Chicago.
A sequel to Ouendan, called strangely enough Moero! Nekketsu Rhythm Damashii: Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan 2 ("Burn! Hot-Blooded Rhythm Spirit: Hey! Fight! Cheer Squad 2"), was released in 2007 and it once again featured an emotional storyline. In this one, two female skaters (Mana and Rina, sisters) argue over a competition. Moments later, one of them dies in an accident. Now, the surviving skater must continue with the competition despite having lost a relative. In her honor, she wears the skates her sister used in her performances. The song in this story is “Believe” by Ai. As the stage progresses we see the skater land all of the tricks while remembering all of the things she did with her sister.
All three scenes are very memorable and are highlights in their respective games. But the “Over the Distance” scene was the first of its kind and remains the best with its use of powerful melodies and moving storyline that symbolized Nintendo greatness.