#12: Doshin the Giant

Format: GameCube Genre: God Game Released: 2002 Developer: Nintendo

I’ve got to admit that this game was a bit of a guilty pleasure for me. It’s obviously a kids’ game, and I obviously wasn’t a kid when I was playing it, but let’s face it, kids shouldn’t get to have all the fun.

doshin_the_giant_box_art

Doshin the Giant managed to suck me into its world entirely. At its core the game is incredibly simple, yet somehow utterly compulsive: you play a friendly yellow giant whose aim is to help four tribes scattered across several islands. The villagers’ requests are pretty simple – they generally amount to raising or lowering the ground or moving trees about – and every time you help them out they send a bit of love your way. The more they love you, the bigger you get, so that by the end of each ‘day’ in the game Doshin is usually towering above even the highest mountains. However, come the next day, he always reverts to his original size, although all the changes you made to the islands remain the same.

doshin-the-giant-planting-trees

A lot of the game’s charm comes from its visual appeal – all primary colours and smiling faces. More than anything though, it’s the sound effects that wormed their way into my head: there’s no music as such, but the background noise is a symphony of birdsong, animal noises, the lapping of the sea and the weird, high-pitched mewlings of the villagers. The whole soundscape is strangely hypnotic and relaxing: playing Doshin is almost like undergoing brain massage. Click on the video below and you can hear what I mean for yourself:

It’s not perfect of course – the simple concept, although appealing, ultimately becomes repetitive – but it’s the way this game made me feel that ensures its place on the list. As you make your way from village to village, planting and landscaping, you can’t help but build up an affection for your tiny wards, and there’s a sense of fatherly pride as you watch your little denizens go about expanding their villages and building monuments in your honour.

doshin-lowering-the-ground

But there’s the catch – the ultimate goal of the game is to get the various villages to build all 15 possible monuments, but only half of these are ‘love’ monuments. In order to get the remaining ‘hate’ monuments, you have to terrify your villagers by tapping the shoulder button and turning into Jashin the Hate Giant, allowing you to destroy the villages and murder the inhabitants.

After nurturing my villagers for so long, watching their families grow and listening to them burst into cheerful song at my approach, I was quite reluctant to rain down fiery destruction upon them, yet it was the only way to proceed. As they ran in terror while I systematically destroyed their houses, I couldn’t help but feel terribly guilty – and there are very few games I’ve played since that have managed to provoke such emotion.

jashin_the_hate_giant-fire

Who’d have thought a kids’ game could be so provocative?

Lewis

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6 Comments

Filed under 2002, GameCube, God Game, Nintendo

6 responses to “#12: Doshin the Giant

  1. shush plz

    Good review, really really want to try this game, but it’s hard to get my hands on + Don’t even know if Wii will read PAL discs.

    I just wanted to point one thing out that bugged me a bit..

    A ”kid’s” game or ”kiddie” games, are sesame street, sing a long abc’s, tea party house, etc.

    Nintendo makes games targeted for all audiences..sure you knew that already..

    But regardless, the games they make that are E rated and aimed for all audiences may have a soft/happy appeal to it, but that doesn’t make it a kids game, not even close.

  2. Old Gaulian

    One of the dudes behind Doshin, Kazutoshi Iida has just joined Grasshopper. Will be good to see what he and Suda can come up with. I agree that Doshin was a gem for the gamecube – although nowhere near as charming and playable as Chibi Robo.

  3. A lot of the game’s charm comes from its visual appeal – all primary colours and smiling faces. More than anything though, it’s the sound effects that wormed their way into my head: there’s no music as such, but the background noise is a symphony of birdsong, animal noises, the lapping of the sea and the weird, high-pitched mewlings of the villagers. The whole soundscape is strangely hypnotic and relaxing: playing Doshin is almost like undergoing brain massage

    thanks
    killing games

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