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ONM Remembered – #133

“A virtual pet you can actually adore”

from official Nintendo Magazine issue 64 (January 1998)

Nintendo sure have faffed about with voice recognition and microphone accessories for a long time, haven’t they? The Nintendo 64 had a microphone used only for Hey You, Pikachu!; there was that GameCube microphone that I think only saw use in Mario Party 6; there was the dumb as all get-out microphone built into the Nintendo DS… and then the Wii had that WiiSpeak thing where you could tell people on Animal Crossing what colour socks you were wearing. I’m surprised there’s been so many of them in their history. It’s nice that you’re trying, guys, but give it a rest already!

Judging from this Space World ’97 coverage, Pikachu Denki Gechu must have been in development for two or more years before its Christmas 1998 release in Japan. This looks way more like a tech demo than the final product, where I believe Pikachu has a dumb little house and goes fishing and does things electric rodents aren’t normally expected to do. Break those boundaries, Pikachu.
I say “I believe” because Hey You, Pikachu! never saw a European release. It was covered as an import in one magazine, but that’s as far as we got. Developing voice recognition is hard enough, but having to adjust it to recognise all manner of mixed and varied accents across the globe would be an absolute killer. My heart goes out to the developers. You try so hard, and I don’t know if anyone out there cares!

Wouldn’t Hey You, Pikachu! be more interesting if Pikachu was the one shouting the commands? Preferably in a thick Brummie accent. That’d just be delightfully unsettling.