Group DescriptionThis group includes all licensed games based on the Japanese anime meta-series Gundam by Sunrise Studios. The franchise started with the TV series Mobile Suit Gundam (機動戦士ガンダム), spanning 43 episodes and having aired in 1979-1980. Written and directed by Yoshiyuki Tomino, it is considered the foundation of the "real robot" current in the mecha genre, in which the technology behind the human-controlled robots is based on hard sci-fi concepts. This comes in contrast to the loosely-explained "super robots". The series persevered and hundreds of products followed, including TV anime series, movies (even live-action ones), manga, novels, toys, video games, and other merchandise.
While the franchise has explored different themes across the years, including by creating parallel universes in order to give their creative teams more freedom, the Universal Century timeline (featured in the original trilogy and the movie Char's Counterattack, among others) has remained the most popular setting. In it, the people have managed to colonize space by building huge colonies orbiting in the Earth-Moon pair's Lagrangian points. The people living in space have grown dissatisfied with being ruled by Earth, and in 2079 the Principality of Zeon has declared independence. What followed was a series of wars between the Zeon-controlled colonies and the Earth Federation, as well as minor conflicts in their aftermath. Viewers usually witness the events from the perspective of the Gundam pilot. The Gundam is initially a prototype mobile suit created by the Earth Federation, but later is transformed into a whole line of improved mobile suits based off the original idea. Because the Gundams are in a class of their own, they play an important role in all conflicts.
The Gundam meta-series has a fetish for robot-to-robot battles, but spaceships also play an important role. It tackles other themes as well, including: people born in space developing telepathic capabilities (newtypes), dirty politics detached from the needs of the common folk, pollution on Earth both as a cause for expansion into space and as proof of humans' unworthiness etc. There's a large cast of recurring characters, but it is considered tradition for every new major series to have a new Gundam, and a new pilot for it.
The Gundam games are a diverse sort. The SD Gundam World: Gachapon Senshi series for the Famicom and the games developed by Family Soft are turn-based strategies. There's an earlier Famicom title called Mobile Suit Z Gundam: Hot Scramble, which was part side-scrolling action, part first-person rail shooter in space--this was the first Gundam game on consoles. One of the earliest titles in the franchise was Last Shooting for MSX, featuring a first-person view of a Gundam's cockpit and tasking the player to shoot enemy Zakus and other mobile suits. The cockpit idea in an FPS was developed further over the years, most notably in the Arcade Kidō Senshi Gundam: Senjō no Kizuna, in which players step into a sit-down panoramic optical display cabinet. A significant importance in the late 90s and at the beginning of the new millennium had the 2D fighting games (including the Battle Master and Battle Assault series) and the Dynasty Warriors clones.
The first Gundam game to be released in the West was Gundam 0079: The War for Earth, which also has the honor of being the first to be developed outside Japan, by Presto Studios, of Journeyman Project fame.
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Front cover for Mobile Suit Gundam
Front cover for Gundam Battle Assault 2
Front cover for Mobile Suit Gundam: Crossfire
Front cover for SD Gundam: Over Galaxian
Front cover for Gundam Battle Universe
Screenshot from SD Gundam G Generation Advance
Screenshot from Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 2
Screenshot from Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Operation
Screenshot from Kidō Gekidan Haro Ichiza: Haro no Puyo Puyo
Screenshot from Mobile Suit Gundam Seed: Battle Assault