Back in February of 1995, Nintendo advertised a project called "Jack & the Beanstalk" to the public. The project's purpose was, of course, to create a whole new kind of game for Nintendo's (yet-to-be-known back then) 64-bit console. Several non-industry people were selected for the project by a four-man board of these well-known men: Shigesato Itoi (creator of Mother), Satoshi Iwata (HAL), Kouichi Nakamura (Chun Soft), and Shigeru Miyamoto.
Since then, the project has been under wraps, and nothing was seen or heard. But nearly three years later, this past February, we found out what the project's all about.
The Jack & the Beanstalk project is comprised of 10+ people. The team is led by Youichi Yamamoto. Believe it or not, before he joined the project, he worked for a construction designing firm. By taking part in the advertisement, he was able land this dream job.
The project has an office on the second floor of the Nintendo Kanda Building in Kanda, Tokyo. The project is a game being developed for the 64DD under the supervision of HAL Labs.
The game they are developing is called Pokemon Snap. This game was first shown at the last Nintendo Space World show. The game's premise is quite simple, as it takes place in a field that's just like a safari ride in a theme park. While you move through the field automatically, your job is to take pictures of the Pokemons. But it's not as easy as it sounds.
Most of you are unfamiliar with Pokemon, right? Of course you know about Pokemon for Game Boy. But this game is a whole new kind of game featuring Pokemons. Let me explain. Pokemons are creatures currently captivating many children and even some adults. There are total of 151 Pokemons. Just like real-life animals, every Pokemon has its own habits and behaviors. Some Pokemons won't be out while it's bright. Some Pokemons are quite cautious. Some Pokemons are fond of hiding in shrubs. So you have to use something to allure the Pokemons in order to take a nice picture.
But don't misunderstand. This game isn't meant to be beat, finished, or completed. You just feel immersed in the Pokemon world. Pokemons are living, playful creatures, and may even be fighting in the game. Iwata says he even wants kids who couldn't play Pokemon for Game Boy to play this game.
The team is taking the time to painstakingly create life-like, lively, and cute Pokemons. And from what I can tell, those efforts have paid off so far.
In this game, you can use your controller just like a real camera. To take a shot, press Z and choose the correct angle with the analog Control Stick. Then push the R button. When asked about using the R button instead of A or B, Yamamoto replies: "If you take a shot, the R button should be used with your right hand's index finger. Kids will later realize that it's supposed to like that when they use a real camera. So I won't change it if even 'Master' Miyamoto asks me to change it."
As stated above, Pokemon Snap is a 64DD game because the peripheral has capabilities for saving lots of pictures. You can trade your pictures with others, too. There are also plans to release additional worlds to explore.
Pokemon Snap is currently going to be released at the end of the year. To boast the 64DD's penetration, it will probably be released simultaneously with the 64DD's launch. But only time will tell.
And that is the truth about the Jack & the Beanstalk project.