Luigi's Mansion

Release Date: November 18, 2001

Nintendo's History at E3: 2001

GameCube. Smash Bros Melee. Game Boy Advance. Ten years ago was a big deal for the Big N.

The Big Games

Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader. Nintendo was so impressed by what developer Factor 5 had achieved with the graphics of its sequel to the N64 Rogue Squadron that the E3 pre-show press conference actually let the Star Wars title take center stage and become the first officially-announced GameCube game. It was the right choice, too, because Rogue Squadron II looked incredible.

Setting the clear visual standard to which all other games at the expo would be compared, Rogue Squadron II brought the epic space battles of that galaxy far, far away to life on-screen like we'd never seen before. It's hard to describe the graphics impact entirely, as the gaming industry has since moved on to embrace more powerful hardware, widescreen aspect ratios and HD resolutions in the decade since. But it's a testament to Factor 5's 2001 achievement that even with all those advancements now standard, Rogue Squadron II still looks sensational if you go back to play it today.

Super Smash Bros. Melee provided multiplayer fun on the show floor, offering up a much deeper and more polished version of the breakout hit original Smash Bros. (which was only two years old on the N64 at the time). Wave Race: Blue Storm checked in representation for the racing genre, and also helped sell the GameCube's graphical potential with its beautiful waves featuring realistic water physics. Pikmin came out of nowhere and surprised us all with the treat of a unique, new, Miyamoto-developed intellectual property - meeting Captain Olimar and his gang of smiling plant soldiers was a joy.

And then there was Luigi. Not Mario - not this time. While the NES, SNES and N64 had all launched with a new Mario platformer available on Day 1, E3 2001 confirmed that that wouldn't be the case for the Cube. Luigi's Mansion was the consolation prize, a haunted house exploration design starring the lesser-known of the two Mario Bros. in his first title role.

It was a good fit for the system, and demoed the new GameCube controller well. Nintendo had never had two analog sticks on one pad before, so the gameplay mechanics of moving Luigi around ghost-filled rooms and then pulling back on the C-Stick to suck them up into his vacuum started to get us used to the new configuration. Luigi's Mansion didn't exactly set the world on fire, but it did go on to capture a loyal following and it is a good game - one that we're hopeful might see an encore on the new 3DS.

IGN's Archived Coverage: E3 2001

The Best of E3 2001 GameCube at E3: The Goods and the Bads E3: GameCube: Technically Speaking

Rich's Final Impressions

E3 2001 holds particular significance to me as it's the first E3 I ever attended. I didn't exactly sign up with the most legitimate credentials, but I was there regardless. I remember being at Nintendo's press conference, and the thing that stands out most in my mind is how different these things are now. To be honest, routine events focusing on single games today are almost as big as the big E3 press conferences from a decade ago. Now these productions are like rock concerts, with video games as the focus.

Nintendo's showing at E3 2001 was strong, but the lack of a Mario title at launch combined with no clear killer app made the GameCube's debut a bit odd. What made the launch particularly odd was the console's hottest title, Super Smash Bros Melee, dragging into December. I remember quickly not caring about any GameCube games outside of Melee, and the wait for the title being endless.

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Game Details

Published by: Nintendo
Developed by: Nintendo EAD
Genre: Adventure
Release Date:
United States: November 18, 2001
UK: May 3, 2002
Japan: September 14, 2001
MSRP: 19.99 USD
E for Everyone : No Descriptors
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