Nintendo has a bit of a history in cartoon making, as anyone who ever had the pleasure of watching The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! will testify to. It seems as though the company is now contemplating venturing into the business once more, with a few animated shorts designed to be viewed using the 3DS.
The batch of cartoons will be based on one of Shigeru Miyamoto's creations, Pikmin, and the legendary game designer is personally overseeing the project.
In a recent interview with Polygon, Miyamoto revealed that the animated shorts would be out pretty soon - before the imminent release of Pikmin 3 on Wii U. He said the cartoons would possibly be distributed via Nintendo Video, the free downloadable app on the 3DS, but if they become popular Nintendo would consider selling them.
The idea has actually been in Miyamoto's head for a while. In fact, you may remember the short sketch at the start of last year's E3 presentation where Mr Miyamoto was having a few Pikmin problems in his dressing room before the show. This was made at the same time that the team was developing the animations.
Miyamoto came up with an idea for a Pikmin animated short by visiting a cinema and watching a small clip telling people to turn off their mobile phones. He thought Nintendo could do a Pikmin version of it, incorporating the use of 3D imaging. Deals were made and before long the video was showing in 60 Toho Cinema theatres across Japan.
Nintendo was gauging a reaction at this point, seeing what people would think of the animated short. It must have gone down well as now the videos are to be distributed to a much wider, global audience.
It seems Miyamoto has a personal attachment to the shorts, he did create the series after all, and he made it clear that Nintendo decided early on that this would be an in-house production:
I didn't want to license our characters out to someone else to create films. Instead, since I used to draw four-panel comics when I was younger, I thought it would be fun to bring a four-panel comic approach to creating video content, so we started work on these Pikmin videos.
Currently only one short has had its storyline revealed, and it's a little darker than you might imagine. It begins with what looks like Captain Olimar blending a red Pikmin into a juice and drinking it. Fortunately though, it's not a red Pikmin at all, it's a simple carrot.
When Olimar first discovered the Pikmin he named them based on the PikPik brand carrots in his home world, so he clearly loves carrots. I thought it would be fun to have a scenario where it seems like he is going to eat the Pikmin. So it's kind of dark, but he doesn't eat them.
Consoles are becoming more than just something to play video games on - they've evolved into fully fledged entertainment devices with capacities to play movies and music. The 3DS has Nintendo Video, of course, and it's a platform Nintendo is still very interested in utilising, with Miyamoto adding:
Nintendo 3DS is great for viewing 3D video content so we wanted to look at ways to expand that offering.
However, this isn't something that will take up much of his time; Miyamoto said it is just a side project and that he'll still be working on games at the same rate as before.
What are your thoughts on the prospect of some Nintendo themed cartoons? What would you like to see? Let us know in the comments below.