This curious title launched on the 64DD back in 1999, before making the switch to the GameCube in 2003. Since then the series has disappeared into obscurity.
What happened to Doshin the Giant (巨人のドシン—Kyojin no Doshin)? We have a gander at the giant yellow one’s background (and dismal failure).
The History of Doshin the Giant
Right, so this is one of the more obscure Nintendo titles. Doshin has a strange history and marks something of an aborted series.
But back in the mid-1990s, the gaming behemoth teamed up with Japanese developer Param (founded in 1997) to complete the project.
Param liquidated in 2003. And the 64DD didn’t exactly set the world alight.
The magnetic disk drive peripheral launched in late 1999 only in Japan and was discontinued by February 2001.
But one of the great curiosities from the Nintendo 64 add on was Doshin the Giant, a God simulation game with a giant yellow monster dude.
Param was mainly responsible for the title, with Nintendo overseeing production. Param’s Kazutoshi Iida was oversaw most of the project.
It was one of the 64DD’s few killer launch games, a God game where you control the deity Doshin as he ambles about an island.
You can either help, or hinder, the lives of the islanders you come across. And as each day passes, Doshin grows bigger and bigger.
Doshin can use his divine skills to raise the ground around him, lower it, move trees around, and construct 16 monuments.
If you’re able to do that, you’re all sent for the game’s delightful ending. And er, yeah, that means spoilers be below (not that we’re expecting you to play this thing).
The concept is a fun idea and looks like entertaining from momentary glimpses of gameplay. And it’s typically surreal, in that lovely Japanese way.
It reminds us of the indie game Jettomero: Hero of the Universe (2017), where you bumble about apologising for your giant clumsiness.
But the game wasn’t well received (critically and commercial) and fell off the gaming map almost 20 years ago. What happened, Bruce?
Doshin The Giant’s 64DD Release
Doshin the Giant launched on 1st December, 1999, in Japan. And, yes, that’s the box art used for the game. Good, isn’t it?
Remember as well that 64DD games came on giant bloody great big grey cartridges. So gamers yanking the thing out of that grey box had more grey to deal with. Behold!
Considering this is such a vibrant title, we’re not quite sure what Param and Nintendo were thinking there.
Plus, the 64DD only ever got nine games (one of which was a minor expansion kit for F-Zero X). So, it’s no big surprise it slumped.
Like the Virtual Boy in 1995, it was all a great idea. And well done Nintendo for committing to innovation. But the 64DD wasn’t good enough for release.
It was reasonably well received when it launched, receiving decent reviews. However, some gaming critics felt the game was repetitive.
However, others (such as the legendary Famitsu magazine) handed over 32/40. Which is very good going and would suggest Doshin the Giant is the 64DD’s best game.
And it did well enough to warrant a sequel, which launched shortly after the first title.
That kind of suggests Param was already working on the sequel before knowing if the game was a hit or not.
Whether that’s the case, the next outing wasn’t the giant or godlike hit it was dreaming of. Sort of. Ish.
Doshin The Giant II’s 64DD Release
Yes! Nintendo then published an expansion kit in June 2000 called Kyojin no Doshin Kaihō Sensen Chibikko Chikko Daishūgō (Doshin the Giant: Tinkling Toddler Liberation Front! Assemble!).
The plot for this one is even more mental.
A toddler is whipped out of his bed into a world of dreams (BFG style by Roald Dahl) and there the kid finds Doshin imprisoned.
After that, you have to try and watch 17 mini-movies to free Doshin from his cage.
The second installment’s (essentially Doshin the Giant II) box art is at the top of this feature. The red one. But neither are representative of the game content, for some bizarre reason.
Anyway, this is Doshin the Giant II in action.
Critical feedback of the sequel wasn’t good. It seemed to signal the end of the series just as it was getting started.
Doshin I and II were criticised as rushed, with poor controls and a limited lifespan. Although critics such as IGN praised the Param’s absurd sense of humour.
However, within 12 months the 64DD was dead and buried (officially discontinued). But that wasn’t stopping Param. It still had another ace up its sleeve!
Doshin the Giant on the GameCube
The GameCube version of Doshin launched in 2002 (March in Japan, September for Europe) and had a major graphical overhaul. It also added many minor new gameplay features.
Full credit here to Param for sticking to its guns. Boy was it pinning everything on this surreal God simulation.
Nothing was going to stop it from taking it further across the world! As for the first time it went beyond Japanese shores.
Certainly, the GameCube version looks like a far more appetising gaming experience than the 64DD outings.
Another major positive development was someone did some proper box art for this release. Huzzah! Miracles do happen.
There we go! Doesn’t that make you want to buy the game?
Nintendo Life did a Doshin retrospective review of the GameCube release in 2020 and overall praised the title, saying it was well worth digging up for a go.
This version (free from the constraints of being 64DD only) was a big hit in Japan, topping the charts and eventually becoming the ninth best selling game of 2002.
Here in England, it reached number nine in the charts. Something of a surprise, given how bloody bizarre the thing is.
However, just eight months after the European launch Param went defunct. In may of 2003, to be precise.
In its brief existence, the developer made three games. All of them based on the Doshin concept.
And that’s it. Nothing else. Param clearly had some otherworldly desire to see this idea through and we must commend it for these crazed efforts.
Doshin the Giant’s Gigantic Soundtrack
Believe it or not, the GameCube soundtrack for Doshin is really quite entertaining. Sure, it’s as weird as hell, but what else would you expect?
Each track seems to mishmash various genres into a hybrid and curious entity, also chucking in distorted effects for good… effect.
You can stick the thing on for the full 40 minutes and just enjoy. Nice, eh?
Doshin the Giant’s Legacy
Back when the 64DD was getting magazine previews, appearing on GamesMaster, and all that jazz, we do recall seeing Doshin getting a fair few mentions.
The 64DD, despite its obvious flaws upon launch, was exciting.
And it did hint at some of the aspects that later came to define gaming in the 2000s. Sega’s Dreamcast did the same thing, too.
As for Doshin the Giant. Well, you can’t get it on anything except old consoles.
No remakes, no re-releases. Nintendo hasn’t touched the project since 2002 and its partner in crime, Param, is officially dead.
The game’s legacy? The best game on the 64DD. And also a classic example of Japanese, kawaii-infused surrealism.
We’d genuinely love to see it released on the Switch. But that doesn’t seem at all likely to happen. And so what’s left is to reminisce. As we just did.