Doshin the Giant is Nintendo's take on the god sim genre. Doshin is an embodiment of the sun, a giant who oversees the inhabitants on Barudo Island, a tropical paradise not found on any maps. The player is given a choice of helping the inhabitants expand their villages and found new ones as Doshin, the love giant; or they can also become the hate giant, Jashin, and rain down death and destruction.
The game take an innovative approach to resource management. Trees supply green energy over a certain radius, which is needed to prevent houses collapsing. Trees only last for a finite time, but if seven are brought together, they will immediately wilt and eight new ones will sprout, as well as a flower.
Doshin absorbs the love and hate of the islanders, and in doing so grows larger. Love is gained by seeing to their needs — planting trees, flattening land or raising land from the sea, removing obstructions, and after a while, picking up a villager and giving them a tour of the island. Hate is absorbed by destroying buildings, killing villagers, and generally making a right nuisance of oneself. Garner enough love or hate from any given village and the inhabitants will start to give it out upon simply seeing the giant. It is worth noting that hate is a stronger emotion than love — a village that loves the giant will give out a modest number of hearts and can be made to hate him easily enough, while a village that hates him will give a lot of skulls. Also, Jashin will always generate hate simply by appearing, but particularly loving villagers will revert to hearts as soon as he transforms. This also affects the style of the buildings, with a loving village producing warm and welcoming structures, while those of a hating village are spiky and threatening.
When a village reaches maturity, its inhabitants build a monument at the centre. The aim of the game is nominally to collect all 16 possible monuments, though players often find it more fun to simply take care of their little people, and/or destroy them. Also, it may not be a good idea to get the final monument.
The game was originally released in Japan for the Nintendo 64 in 1999. A 64DD add-on entitled Doshin the Giant: Tinkling Toddler Liberation Front! Assemble! was released the next year, which saw a little kid helping Doshin in the dream world by urinating on things. The original was also ported to the GameCube, appearing in Japan in March of 2002 and getting a European release in September of the same year, with no US release in sight. The GC version is, thankfully, free of tinkling kids. Western audiences are most likely even somewhat aware of this game thanks to Doshin and Jashin appearing as trophies in Super Smash Bros. Melee.
It provides examples of:
- Ambiguous Robots: The futuristic people that appear after the Tower of Babel kills everybody.
- Big Red Devil: Jashin fits this concept of a demon to a glove, and really exaggerates the "big" aspect of it; he even gets the little wings for good measure!
- Cruel Player-Character God: And it even pays off, considering maximizing out the Hate Meter will grow Doshin just like if he filled the Love Meter!
- Dishing Out Dirt: Giants can raise, lower, or flatten the land with their power.
- Distant Finale: Implied. After Doshin dies from the collapse of the Tower of Babel and the flood, Doshin is resurrected in an island filled with robot-like futuristic people. They are capable of building a rocket.
- Embarrassing Damp Sheets: The add-on "Tinkling Toddler Liberation Front! Assemble!" is about a kid playing "Doshin the Giant" as he gets into a dream that he has to rescue the giant to "tinkle" hearts onto him. The climax has the giant being released as he pees out of his belly button. The end of the game reveals that it's the child having a wet dream with the mother yelling at him as the sheets are drying out.
- Exposition Fairy: Both Sodoru and the mysterious woman's voice.
- "Far Side" Island: Most of the islands surrounding Barudo are this from Doshin's perspective.
- Fireballs: Jashin can throw giant fireballs to destroy things and alter the landscape. The fireballs can torch people on fire, but it won't kill them.
- Flat World: The world in this game is a square-shaped flat world. You can actually see the edge of world and throw something into the edge.
- Genius Loci: According to the end sequence, Sudoru is actually the spirit of the island.
- Giant Corpse World: Doshin dies while trying to stop the Tower of Babel, and his body turns into an island. Taken a step further in the GameCube version, where the player has to play on this island.
- A God Is You: You control giants with godlike powers in this game. Their power is rather pathetic at first, but their power becomes stronger by getting bigger.
- God of Evil: Jashin. His powers are mainly for destroying things, like punching or fireballs.
- God of Good: Doshin. His powers are mainly for helping villagers, like taking things to other places.
- Ground-Shattering Landing: Giants can jump, and the landing impact will make a hollow on the landscape.
- Humans Are White: The different "races" are identical Caucasians wearing different colored clothes.
- Idle Animation: Humans will balance on balls or play with hula hoops and the giants will lie down and go to sleep if you leave them alone long enough. Sodoru even keeps track of how long they sleep.
- Invincible Hero: Downplayed. The giants can only die if they fall off the edge of the world, but otherwise invincible. In addition, in the Ending, Doshin tries to save the villagers from the collapse of the Tower of Babel, and dies afterwards, but he reincarnates as usual for the epilogue.
- Jekyll & Hyde: You can transform Doshin to Jashin with a push of the button. You can do it vice versa.
- Mighty Glacier: Doshin isn't very fast, especially when he is small.
- Mundane Utility: You may simply become Jashin to travel faster.
- New Game Plus: After obtaining the end, the player can start a new game on a selection of different maps.
- No Points for Neutrality: If you want to make your giants bigger, you should aim to either take love or hate. They will override each other if you get them both.
- Nonstandard Game Over: The only way to truly die in the game is to walk off the edge of the world.
- Not Completely Useless: Among the islanders, there are people who never work and do fun things instead. They never help their village, but you can carry them as Doshin to find the secret box that contains the rare animals like a dinosaur.
- Not Quite Flight:
- Jashin can jump higher than Doshin, and he can glide the sky by using his wings.
- If you somehow caught a bird as Doshin and released it from your hands, the bird will rest on your head. Now you can fly thanks to the bird on your head!
- Our Giants Are Bigger: Yes, it's a game about giants, and you control giants. They are initially not so big, but you can make them bigger by collecting love or hate.
- Pointy Ears: Jashin has them.
- The Power of Hate: The giants can grow bigger by collecting the hate from the islanders. Collecting the hate is much easier when you are Jashin, but Doshin can collect hate too by doing things like crushing buildings with his mighty foot.
- The Power of Love: Likewise, the giants can grow bigger by collecting the love from the islanders. Collecting the love is mostly for Doshin, since the islanders will give hate for Jashin by just seeing him.
- The Power of the Sun: Heat from the sun is what powers Doshin and Jashin.
- Reincarnation: In actual fact, the player does not control the same giant all the time. Doshin is actually reincarnated every sunrise.
- Retro Rocket: The final monument that the futuristic people are building.
- Schizo Tech:
- The Humans don't have any noticeable technology but their comments at the end of the day will sometimes say that Doshin looked bigger on TV.
- When people in a village hates giants, they will build "hateful" buildings with many spikes. This includes large buildings with a cannon, which are much more advanced than other buildings in this game.
- Supernaturally Marked Grave: Dead humans leave behind a flower that will grow into a tree the next day.
- Superpowered Evil Side: Downplayed—Jashin grants Doshin many abilities he doesn't otherwise have, but Doshin naturally has a few things Jashin cannot do, and both of them are fairly super as-is.
- Tower of Babel: The last monument outside of the Rocket in the Epilogue is this. Perhaps unsurprisingly, building a tower that can block out the sun in an island with a God powered by the sun turns out poorly.
- Ungrateful Bastard: Jashin is required to dispel the natural disasters that occasionally strike the island, but that won't stop the villagers pouring out their hate upon you.
- Video Game Caring Potential: You can help the villagers to grow their village.
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: You can destroy buildings that villagers made, or outright kill them for kicks. Also, killing villagers is actually a very good way to farm trees because dead villagers leave flowers and they will become trees in the next day.
- Waterfall into the Abyss: The seas flow into waterfalls surrounding the edges of the map.
- Wide-Open Sandbox: The main objective of this game is building all kinds of monuments by helping the islands and grow their village, but you can ignore it and do other things like making new islands, making the islanders happy by carrying them around, or stomping innocent people to death.
- Winged Soul Flies Off at Death: No wings, but dead humans float up into the sky.