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May 2, 2014

Top 12 Heartwarming Nintendo Moments

After last week, I needed some happiness. And though Nintendo does a lot of comedy (I'd need a Top 100 to list the best moments of comedy in the Nintendo franchises), it's also very strong when it comes to emotions. Nintendo makes you feel good. Okay, you could say that for almost any video game series. But Nintendo always finds ways to insert heartwarming moments in its video games. If you're really sensitive, those moments could bring a tear of joy to your eye. Here are 12 of those moments.

Please, keep in mind: Those are MY Top 12 heartwarming moments. Most of those moments, I have seen them in their respective games or I know they were touching to a lot of people. As a result, if there is something missing on this list, a moment that you really liked and that you wished you had seen here, well... Not only I need to keep it to 12, but I also had to pick among the many moments I remembered or those that seemed to bring the most emotions to me or others. If you don't see your favorite moment here, tell it in the comments! I'll be very happy to read about it. Also, be warned: Many of those moments refer to the endings of the games, so read at your own risk if you don't want to get spoilers.

Let's get this happiness party started!

(Out-of-character note: I really, really need this. As I was writing this review, I was playing Pokémon HeartGold, as I was about 90 species away from completing the Pokédex. However, I found out that my save file had been corrupted and, therefore, erased. Nearly three hundred hours of fun were taken out of my lifetime along with some of my real-life friend Laura's favorite Pokémon that she traded to me, some exclusives she got who knows when. As a result, as I wrote this Top 12, I felt extremely saddened. Therefore, excuse me in advance if this article is not the funniest. Even though it had been planned for a while before this happened, it's still a very heartbreaking thing to see all your efforts amount to nothing because of a glitch. That was April 11th. Even at the time this article is posted, I might still be very bitter about it. Please don't mind it too much, but... Yeah, I need something to make me happier again and make me forget that I lost over two hundred fucking hours to a game that glitched on me. Wouldn't be so bad if I hadn't spent so long playing it, spent so long trying to get everything... and I had nigh everything I could catch in it, I was one - catchable - Pokémon away from succeeding! But... Damn. Look, please enjoy this list, I worked on it as much as I worked on my other Top 12s, so... to fully enjoy the moments listed here, please try to forget this lengthy paragraph and just be happy that Nintendo is really able to get emotions out of you with the stories in their games.)

12. Aran and 'Mon
You should see the amount of fanart for that friendship. My Gosh.
One of the more heartwarming aspects of the Pokémon series is how the Trainer bonds with his allies over time. We could give a dozen examples from the Pokémon series alone. But this one isn't from Pokémon; it's from Super Smash Bros. Brawl. To be precise, the scene when Samus Aran, in her Zero Suit form, enters a factory and sees a Pikachu being used as a live battery. She frees the poor thing and defends it from other threats. Samus and that Pikachu form a team for quite a bit, and it almost looks like they're a Trainer and her Pokémon. It does seem odd, since they're from different worlds, but as the Subspace Emissary storyline progresses, this friendship becomes very believable. It culminates in the perfect moment, when Pikachu also greatly helps Samus through the facility, and even against Ridley. This fighting game's Adventure Mode has given us many examples of inter-series friendships (Pokémon Trainer and Lucas, Meta Knight and Ike, Diddy and Fox are three examples). Those are all nice, but this one marked me more than the others.

11. Some Recognition, at Last!
Cranky being nice? That's a rare thing!
Have you played the early Donkey Kong Country titles? Oddly enough, DK is not even a playable character of the second and third installments of the series! Diddy is still in the second game, though, and he's joined by Dixie Kong. This game counts your progress with a percentage. It's also notable for having one of the nicest moments for ol' Cranky Kong. See, he never misses an opportunity to laugh at his son, or even his grandnephew from time to time. However, if you manage to not only beat the game, but get the maximum percentage in the game (102%, better than excellent!), Cranky will shortly go out of his crude ways for a moment. See, through the game he didn't believe Diddy had IT in him (IT being, well, the stuff of heroes I guess). By getting everything, Diddy proves the old chimp wrong, and thus Cranky admits that Diddy is more impressive than he thought. He also drops a little compliment about DK on the side! Now that's what you call growing a character beyond his two-dimensional characterization.

10. The Cake is a Lie No More
Nothing makes me happier than a happy pink puffball.
...How is he holding those ustensils?
What, a Portal reference? Yeah, but it's actually about Kirby. Due to happening in Dream Land, many moments from the Kirby series could have made the list. I love when the pink ball's team has some quality time between worlds in Kirby and the Crystal Shards, but it's not my favorite one. It's actually from Kirby Squeak Squad, in which Kirby battles a team of thieving mice. What throws him in this adventure? Them sealing his cake. However, the adventure escalates and it ends in an epic battle against a nightmarish monster. After victory, if you got 100% completion in the game, the robbing rodents decide to give him a piece of cake back. Aw, that's nice. Keep in mind that our puffball has been beating them up through the entire game to recover it, so those mice would have all the reasons to keep it. Well, that's a good ending, right? ...Wait, a Waddle Dee actually stole the cake???

9. Sadly But Then Happily Married
No, Kafei is not a kid. Just a small adult. There is nothing
deeply wrong going on here.
The Legend of Zelda series has a way to make you feel good, no matter what's going on in the game. There's many heartwarming moments in all the games, which made it very hard for me to keep it to only a few. One of the darker LoZ games is Majora's Mask, in which an impending doom is set to happen three days from now, with the freaking MOON falling down. Still, despite all this horrifying stuff going on, many residents still go on with their lives. Especially Kafei and Anju, who were about to be married. No matter how strong their bond is, they were gonna have at best three days together before the end of the world. Love despite the incoming death... Now that's special. What pushes it over the edge is, obviously, when young Link saves Termina and brings things back to normal. Yeah, sure, everything ends well, and we get to see many heartwarming moments in the ending, but this one still stands out. The world will not end, they can celebrate their wedding. Admit it, you probably wished them to live happily ever after, even if that phrase is cliché. (On the other hand, if you live in a place called Termina, you gotta expect something to go wrong at some point.)

8. Farewells From Pikmin Planet
To me, it's always difficult to talk about Pikmin, as I hardly ever played this series. However, just reading about this scene from the second Pikmin game made me smile. How can it not? Captain Olimar's ship is repaired, and he can leave the planet of the Pikmin (which is Earth after an apocalypse, if we can judge by the trash that Olimar picks up around; a Duracell, really?). Times were tough for this diminutive alien. The animals in this world were all gigantic, except the eponymous Pikmin, which were basically Olimar's only allies until the end. When our little space man leaves in is spaceship, the Dolphin, he takes a look back at this gigantic planet that was so dangerous. It's almost night, and all the Pikmin wish him goodbye... by glowing on the ground, thousands of them if not more, covering the land. This is beautiful to watch, ad it shows that Olimar really did something wonderful down there with his allies the plant-people.

7. Never Give Up, Trust Your Instincts
That's Fox! ...No, that's James. No, it looks
too much like Fox! But I tell you it's James...
Oh Gosh, I'm confused.
What the original Star Fox couldn't do on the original Super NES, the sequel, Star Fox 64, tried to accomplish on the next generation of consoles. This game's plot is much more complex than its predecessor, and it has one of the most tear-jerking scenes you could imagine for this series: Fox's father, James McCloud, gets killed by Andross. Near the end of the game, it gets a little weird, as somehow James helps Fox get out of a collapsing base. And even later, though there's still a lot of hints that James is dead (or reincarnated in a space spirit like in Star Wars), it seems like Fox can hear his encouragements from beyond the grave. “Never give up. Trust your instincts.” Now, Nintendo somewhat has a thing for father-child relationships, as we can see with Bowser and his son Bowser Jr., Bianca and her dad in the fifth gen of Pokémon, Cranky and Donkey Kong... But this one is probably the weirdest. But also, in a way, the most touching one. If only because James' admiration for his son led him to help Fox despite being, well... dead. Unless he's hiding, which has never been proven! You hear that, conspiracy theorists??

6. Happy Ending Party at the Ranch
Another Legend of Zelda heartwarming moment? Yeah, that series has a lot of those. Through every game, you get to interact with a lot of people, and many of them end up helping Link in a way or another. It's most prominent in Ocarina of Time, where everyone rejoices at the end of Ganondorf' reign of terror over Hyrule. Seven years of pain, gone forever, thanks to our Hero of Time. Everyone's at Lon Lon Ranch, and we see many scenes revealing that peace has returned, and it shall stay forev... er... well, until Ganondorf's next twisted plan, anyway. Talking about each of those moments would take way too long, but I'll just end by saying that the Legend of Zelda series does this sort of thing very well. In most games, you save the world, but you hardly ever get a glimpse of how much you've done for the world. And the Legend of Zelda series mastered that aspect. I took the ending to Ocarina of Time; I could have used any Zelda game since A Link to the Past, actually. That's quite the achievement for an entire franchise.

5. Wishing For Realities
Oh, don't worry, it'll happen soon, Luigi. Keep wishing.
More often than not, the Mario universe makes no sense. It changes too much between games, and the ony consistent elements are the main and secondary characters. For the first Mario RPG, Legend of the Seven Stars, there was a reason; it was partly made by Square-Enix, which also explains why we might never see Mallow again, nor Geno in Brawl. (Ouch, those words. They hurt my hopes.) Anyway, at one point, the cast is going through Star Hill, where they find fallen shooting stars that contain people's wishes. There's quite a few of those, but two are particularly interesting. One goes “I want to be a great plumber like my brother Mario”. I must mention that in this game, the only two times Luigi is referenced is during the end parade and here. Also, maybe he didn't get his chance to shine in this RPG, but Luigi did get more spotlight in later RPGs (the Mario & Luigi series, anyone?). His wish came true! The second wish found on Star Hill? “Please help Mallow find his way home”. Aw, that's adorable. But here's the surprise: It also comes true later in the game, when Mario's crew visits a realm on the clouds, and discovers that Mallow is the prince of a whole race of cloud-people! Two wishes came true, one within the game, one in real life. Sorta. Aw, so... so... cliché, yeah, but still... so heartwarming!

4. Finally Resting Peacefully
Major Pokémon X and Y spoilers here. So, for once, you beat the Elite 4 and a parade is made in your honor. Wow, now that's what I call some recognition! It was about time the hero got what he deserved, huh? However, an interesting event happens during the parade. You meet with AZ, the odd homeless man who's taller than every other human in the series, and he challenges you to a Pokémon battle. Compared to the Elite 4, he's not hard to battle, I'd even say he's AZ to defeat (Tomato throwers, do your thing; I know this was an awful pun). It's then revealed that this man was the King of the ancient civilization that was about to destroy the population of the Kalos region. The guy's more than 3,000 years old! Oh wait, it doesn't stop there. After you defeat him, he retrieves his long-lost friend, a Floette, and cries of happiness. He has retrieved faith in humanity, which was a very common theme in the sixth-gen Pokémon games. Even Lysandre, the real enemy, has lack of faith in mankind as his motivation for leading Team Flare! ...Although, to be fair, the other Team leaders do give those humanity haters some arguments... Looking at you, Ghetsis.

3. From Snarker To True Companion
In my enormous review of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, there was so much to say about the plot that I omitted this interesting element: The relationship between Midna and Link. Yeah, she meets him as a wolf and is a snarking little imp at the moment, I'd even dare say she was acting nasty at first. She helped Link, but it does seem like she didn't want to or as if she didn't believe in him (then again, what's a goat herder gonna do against a Twilight King?) However, at one point, Zant traps Link in wolf form again and badly injures Midna by exposing her to the light of Hyrule. She begs for Wolf-Link to bring her to Zelda, as the princess can heal her. Oh, by the way, this is the first time she calls Link by his name. After he saves her, she becomes much more likable towards him, ready to help at any moment, even her tone of voice seems to have changed. Their friendship grows through the adventure and by the end, they're like a true team, knowing exactly what's their role. Because they've been to Hell and back, it's like they've known each other forever. It's heartwarming to see such a good friendship, huh? ...But I'm not shipping them. Besides, I don't want to imagine a cheap reason why Midna would be able to travel back to Hyrule despite shattering the Mirror of Twilight... you know, the kind of thing fanfic authors do. (And also, she looks in her late twenties while he's 17.)

"This is the moment when I'll turn into a giant spider and
destroy the castle's force field. I know you're not gonna run away."

2. Farewell, Odd One in the Equation
What? Yet ANOTHER Pokémon heartwarming moment? Huh, guess there's a lot. Okay, but this one is quick. If you've played Pokémon Black or White, you know Ghetsis wanted to rule over the world by being the only one allowed to have Pokémon, and for this he used an idealist (manchild-ish?) teenage boy, N, who was unaware of it until he was defeated by the player. Turns out that before that fight, Legendary dragon Reshiram or Zekrom (depending on the version) had joined N's team, as it agreed with the boy on his vision of the world. ...Anyway, once Ghetsis is defeated, N has his entire life to re-think. His way of looking at the world has been negated by the player's victory, and to top it all off, his sole existence was part of a carefully elaborated plan by a madman seeking power. Thus, after Ghetsis is defeated, N tells some final world to the player character... and then leaves on the back of his dragon, never to be seen again. He hasn't forgotten his ideal view of the world, but he's accepted the divergence in points of view and remains a friend to all living things, still not quite a villain but not exactly a hero either.

Wow, there weren't much jokes in this one.

1. The Great X in the Skies
The Number 1 heartwarming moment, to me, is the ending of Super Smash Bros Brawl's Adventure Mode, AKA The Subspace Emissary. All 35 characters escaped the Great Maze in time. Tabuu's defeat has led to all the pieces of the Smash world being put back in place. All... But one. The Isle of the Ancients, home of the R.O.B. None of them came back, except one: The R.O.B. you can use in the game. As the many brawlers look at this great X in the skies where the Isle of the Ancients originally was, the ominous theme song starts playing, with lyrics translated from Latin to English. “I've heard legends of that person / How he plunged into enemy territory / How he saved his homeland.” “Now that person stands at my side / Now my friends are with me / Some of them were once heroes / Some, my mortal enemies.” “Now, that person / Stands at my side.”

...Do I really need to explain that? Heroes and villains, all together, looking at the only thing that has never been brought back from their adventure in Subspace, in silence.

"Ille iuxta me. Ille iuxta me. Socii sunt mihi, qui olim viri fortes
rivalesque erant. Saeve certando pugnandoque splendor crescit."

And this concludes the list. I hope you enjoyed it. Next week is... Next week is... Oh God! I had almost forgotten! It's my last Game Boy Advance cartridge! I'm almost done with GBA games! And I know exactly how to celebrate... With a multi-part review of that last game! Yes, I'm totally doing that! Regardless of the subject of the game... Wait... that's Yu-Gi-Oh! The Sacred Cards. Awesome, there's no better way to end the GBA era of Planned All Along than with a game that is so good and so bad all at once! Tune in next week if you're a Yu-Gi-Oh! fan! If you grew up reading the manga, watching the anime, playing the card game, or if you got addicted to the Abridged series, you're not gonna want to miss that!