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Video Game / Go Vacation

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Everybody loves the word "vacation!"

Go Vacation! is a 2011 video game for the Wii, developed and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment games. It starts from the basic formula created and codified by Nintendo's Wii Sports series: simple-but-engrossing minigames, largely controlled through the motion functions of Nintendo's Wii Remote.

Then in drops them into a massive, sprawling, open-world experience not unlike the Grand Theft Auto series. Then it adds a touch of Animal Crossing and calls it a day.

Suffice to say, this is not your average minigame collection.

Set on the beautifully idyllic island of Kawawii, you take on the role of a traveler with only one goal: To have as much fun as possible before your vacation ends! The game is split up into two main parts. The first, the Resorts, are four enormous Hub Worlds that you can explore, either on foot or with specialized "Gear" like ATVs, kayaks, and skateboards. These are full of places to explore, hidden treasures, mini-missions, NPCs, secret messages, photo ops, and even pet dogs. The second part is the Activities within the resort. These are the actual mini-games, and can cover everything from sports like volleyball and minigolf to weirder things like glass-harp-playing and pie-throwing. Finally, there's an unlockable Villa that you can design and decorate to your liking.

In 2018, the game received an Updated Re-release on the Nintendo Switch.

Tropes found in this game include:

  • Achievement System: In the Wii version, the game awards Silver Keys for completing certain minigames, while the Gold Keys track overworld achievements. In the Switch version, a system involving gaining levels through experience points is used instead.
  • All in a Row: You can have up to three friends (PC or NPC) and a dog following behind you at any time. If a minigame involves you playing or competing with other people, your NPC friends can take on the roles in the game.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Finding the treasure chests in each resort unlocks new costumes you can wear, but only at that particular resort. (Or your villa.)
  • An Interior Designer Is You: Once you collect twenty stamps, you'll be granted access to your own villa. You can choose its interior look, its interior spread of rooms, and of course, what furniture is inside it.
  • And Your Reward Is Interior Decorating: Silver and gold keys can be spent on new furniture for your villa. Some of the sidequests will also reward you with new villa exteriors, too. Finally, completing all the levels in the Gear-based challenges will reward you with a trophy you can use in your decorating as well.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: You can play with up to four people, PC or NPC, and one dog.
  • Automaton Horses: The horses you can ride in the Mountain resort are treated exactly the same as your other Gear, which means you can ride them as you please, with no stopping. They can even sprint for nearly unlimited periods of time so long as you get them up to speed first.
  • Awesomeness Meter: Each resort has a number of "Great Performance" stars that you get awarded for doing particularly flashy or death-defying stunts, like leaping over the fountain in the City Resort, or clearing a jump between two tall rock peaks in the Marine Resort.
  • Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and Yeti: In the Switch version, a friendly yeti inhabits the Snow Resort, and it enjoys being photographed.
  • Bottomless Pit: Some resorts have dangerous areas where if you fall, you'll immediately respawn on safer ground nearby.
  • Bullet Time: The powerup in the Pie-Throwing Contest allows you to dodge several pies in Bullet Time. It's even in a Orbital Shot in a The Matrix Shout-Out.
  • Canine Companion: You can choose to have a dog join your party; it'll follow you around and even help find hidden collectables
  • Cat Girl: The "Wild" costume is this for girls, in leopard flavor.
  • Chain of Deals: A sidequest in the Mountain Resort has you seeking out the crown of the King of Shanghar, which has gone missing. He doesn't know where to look for it, but he does have a pin you can trade off. The chain of deals you go on ends up spanning the entire resort, and goes through items like towels, tote bags, plushies, and even gemstones. In the end, the King reveals that he didn't really need his crown back that much, but that by getting people to trade their items with each other, they all made each other happy, and making sure his citizens are happy is a king's primary concern.
  • Collection Sidequest: Each resort offers you 7 treasure chests to find and 14 photo spots to visit. You're informed of your progress on each when you visit a resort. There's also the stamps.
  • Company Cross References: With Namco being the game's publisher, expect several Pac-Man cameos throughout the game world.
  • Convection, Schmonvection: There's a hidden Lethal Lava Land sub-area in the Snow Resort. The heat, naturally, doesn't affect you at all.
  • Cool Old Lady: Any of the "Grandma" characters will be this by default.
  • Creator Thumbprint: The iconic shape of Pac-Man is hidden in several places throughout the game, from the tiny to the huge—the entirety of Merry Bay in the Marine Resort is Pac-Man shaped!
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: The game has motion-controlled minigames, just like Wii Sports. Some of the minigames are of the same sports, and some even use similar control schemes to the same games in Wii Sports. However, the "feel" of the motion controls between the two games is very different, and it's easy to get tripped up or to try and rely on the wrong techniques.
    • There's also the Gear controls. Each piece of Gear controls differently, and while many are similar, they often have tiny differences between them. Steering is especially bad, as while most Gear controls by tilting the Wii Remote and Nunchuck, not all of it does.
  • Diegetic Music: Music doesn't play in the hubworlds unless you're near a building or a group of people who would theoretically be listening to music.
  • Double Unlock: Some of the purchasable items won't appear in the villa shop unless you complete a certain task first... but you still need keys to buy them.
  • Easter Egg:
    • Each Resort contains a giant beach ball you can play with. They can be taken to certain areas to show little Easter Egg animations, but otherwise, they don't really do much.
    • You can change the weather at the Snow Resort by pressing certain button combinations while on the loading screen. In the Wii version, while holding C and Z, press up or down for clear weather, left for cloudy, and right for snowy. In the Switch version, it's L+X for clear, R+X for cloudy, and L+R+X for snowy.
  • Expository Theme Tune: The game's main theme, which is all about how awesome vacations are.
  • Fetch Quest: Half of the four resort-exclusive special quests are this. The Marine and Snow resorts' special quests are done in their overworlds. The Marine special quest simply has you hunting down items hidden in specific spots, but the Snow special quest require you to both find each of the NPCs who hand out the items and make it back to the quest-giver within a time limit without wiping out.
  • Fishing Minigame: Ice Fishing in the Snow Resort. It's less of a traditional fishing minigame, though, and more of a Luck Based Minigame where you drill a number of holes in the ice and hope that each hole turns up a high number of fish.
    • The Switch version features a more traditional fishing minigame, where you can visit three different fishing spots in the Marine and Mountain resorts and try to catch as many different types of fish as you can.
  • First-Person Snapshooter: In the Scuba game's "Free Dive" mode, you can take photographs of animals to fill out a book of facts on them. In the Switch version, you can take pictures anywhere, and have to photograph the animals hanging around.
  • Free-Range Children: Two of the possible PCs you can pick are a "young boy" or "young girl." They run around completely independently, doing dangerous things like skydiving or bungee jumping with no adult supervision whatsoever.
  • Gateless Ghetto: The City Resort is walled off from the rest of the city by Insurmountable Waist-High Fence barriers.

  • Guide Dang It!: The secret area in the Marine Resort is easily the most difficult to find, and is not at all intuitive. Most of the other secret areas can be accessed on foot, and there are usually clear openings or hints that lead you to them. The Marine Resort secret, however, requires you to head to an out-of-the-way part of the ATV park, and make a very precise jump in your ATV off a ramp and over a fairly nondescript wall whose only hint that there's anything odd about it is the fact that there's a single NPC on top of the wall, whom you may or may not see. And even then, you're still not in the caves—you have to hug the back wall until you fall down in a hole in the ground that leads to them. And the caves contain three things you need for 100% Completion—the caves themselves count for one thing, but there's also a photo spot and a treasure chest in there. Oh, and did we mention that the photo spot is only there at sunset?
    • The "Talk to locals 20 times" star is extremely easy to do, but its description is deceptive. Since there are Non Player Characters around you can chat with, you would naturally assume you need to talk to them 20 times to earn the star, right? Nope—what you actually have to do is use your D-pad gestures around the non-interactive NPCs 20 times, which is considered "talking" to them.

  • Hailfire Peaks: The Snow Resort hides a secret lava-filled cavern.
  • Hub World: Each of the four resorts is a massive hub world.
  • 100% Completion: In the Wii version, this is defined as the following:
    • Earn all 90 keys (78 silver and 12 gold).
    • Get a picture taken at all 56 photo ops, 28 for each time of day (daytime/non-daytime) and 14 for each resort.
    • Find all 28 treasure chests, 7 at each resort.
    • Take a picture of all 40 unique marine animal species in free scuba diving mode at the marine resort.
    • Find all 51 hint balloons across all 4 resorts.
    • Fully complete each resort's special quest (finding lost items in Marine Resort, delivering mail in the City Resort, recovering lost stew ingredients in the Snow Resort and completing the chain of deals in Mountain Resort).
  • Inexplicable Treasure Chests: Seven are hidden in each resort, hiding costumes.
  • Loading Screen: The loading screen is interactive. While you're on it, your Wii Remote pointer changes to a doggy face, and pressing the A button will leave a dog-shaped stamp behind. Sometimes, it'll even make a bark sound effect. Why? Rule of Cute, of course!
  • Mad Libs Dialogue: The red message balloons you can find contain randomly-generated messages, using a selection of various features and the player's names. For example, "Just between you and me, I think [PLAYER] is in love!"
  • Minigame Game: Inside of a Wide-Open Sandbox.
  • Mundane Fantastic: The player can find, amongst other fictional beings, a ghost. Its photo description is just a casual description of his personality as if ghosts are common.
  • Mythology Gag: One of the hidden Pac-Men in the game is on the pucks in the air hockey tables. "Puck-Man" was going to be Pac-Man's English-language name, until it was pointed out that "Puck-Man" was a very easy name to vandalize into something more vulgar.
  • No Antagonist: Kawaii Island is free of any conflicts or villains whatsoever. Everything there is peaceful and no one there is in serious danger.
  • No Plot? No Problem!: There's no overarching story in this game. Just embark on your own adventure in any of the resorts.
  • Not-Actually-Cosmetic Award: In the form of silver and gold keys. Silver keys are awarded for completing certain tasks in minigames, while gold keys are unlocked for achievements done in the overworld. They can be used to purchase new furniture for use in the villa.
  • Notice This / Player Nudge: Dogs will sniff out secrets for the player. Whenever they get close to a hidden treasure chest, or something associated with the hidden gold key stars, they'll get an "!" over their heads and start barking.
  • Opening the Sandbox: Each of the resorts and your villa must be unlocked first, though the resorts are surprisingly quick to unlock. The same thing goes for the minigames: The first time you play each game, you'll actually only play a single low-level event from it. After you play it the first time, the full range of its options becomes available to you.
  • Player Headquarters: The villa, though notably it takes a comparatively long time to unlock. In addtition to being decoratable, it's the only place in the game you can wear all your clothes in one place, and it always has three friends and a pet easily accessible to you.
  • Playlist Soundtrack: The overworld Resort areas have a rotating playlist of songs that play, which are all With Lyrics versions of classic Namco-Bandai tunes. These are interspersed with Announcer Chatter from radio D Js, who talk about things relevant to the resort you're hearing them in (such as the City Resort announcer talking about skateboard tricks).
  • Portmanteau: "Kawawii" is a portmanteau of "kawaii" and "Wii."
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: The glass harp minigame has you playing a rhythm minigame to several famous public domain songs like "Camptown Races" and "Old Macdonald." Strangely, the other rhythm game, the dancing minigame, uses original tunes.
  • Racing Minigame: Just about every Gear piece you can use has an associated racing game. There's also the Motor Rally minigame, which has you driving rally cars and motorcycles that aren't seen in the main game.
  • Repeatable Quest: The overworld quests in the first three resorts (Find the Lost Items, Mail on Wheels, and Help a Friend) can be played as much as you like. However, you can only do the King of Shanghar's Chain of Deals once.
  • Scenery Porn: Given that the game is supposed to be the equivalent of a vacation, Kawawii Island is naturally a very pretty place. There's almost too many places to mention, but for a short sampling:
    • The crystal cavern in the Marine Resort
    • The rainbow-colored decorations in the City at night
    • Cooritookos Village in the Snow Resort
    • The view of the lake from the top of the Mountain
  • Shout-Out:
    • In the Wii version, the power-up for the dodging player in the pie-throwning contest is a pair of sunglasses. When they use it to dodge pies, they bend over backwards while the camera pans around them in extreme slo-mo. In the Switch version, this was replaced with the player becoming a ninja.
    • One NPC standing near an observatory notes that astronomers have noticed new stars appearing in the sky recently. They're calling it the "Katamari Effect."
    • Mappy appears on the side of one of the buildings in City Resort.
  • Shown Their Work: Photographed animals would be associated with text describing them (coconut crabs growing out of the need for a shell, toucan bills being light for their size and used for shedding heat, three-banded armadillos being the only species to roll up into a ball, reindeer having antlers in both sexes, polar bear fur being colorless rather than white, bighorn sheep spending summers at higher elevations and winters at lower ones, peacocks shedding their trains once a year, etc.). The animals themselves are also accurately designed.
  • Sliding Scale of Collectible Tracking: The game tells you how many treasure chests and photo ops you've found at each resort, but there's no way to tell which photo spots you've been to and which you haven't. Similarly, all treasure chests are marked with a "treasure" icon when you see them in the resorts, whether you've opened them or not.
  • Sliding Scale Of Cooperation Versus Competition: Runs the whole scale! Some mini-games will have you and your multiplayer teammates working together, and whether you pass or fail an event depends on the performance of all of you at the minigame. Some minigames are competitive, with a clear loser and winner. And some will have you both play a game and compare your scores, but aren't really competitive in the same sense.
  • Some Dexterity Required: Some of the control schemes can take just a bit to get used to, especially given how often you change them.
  • Stock Ness Monster: The Lake Monster in Mountain Resort, which only appears at sunset.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Driving land vehicles into water results in an automatic respawn. This also occurs if you jump into a body of water at the Mountain Resort without any vehicle.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: You can swim in the Marine Resort. It's a skill vital for one Gold Key objective.
  • Tutorial Failure: Some of the tutorials do not tell you the full controls for the game your playing, or don't explain all the intricacies of the motion controls you're using. One of the minigames (the glass harp game) tells you to hold the Wii Remote and Nunchuck upside-down, but since the game is entirely based on pressing buttons, there's no reason to do this at all unless you want to purposefully Interface Screw yourself.
  • Victory Pose: After you win a minigame, you get treated to a shot of your character doing this.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: In the Snow Resort, one Gold Key objective is to help 10 downed skiers or snowboarders.
  • Video Game Flight: Two of the resorts, the City Resort and the Mountain Resort, allow you explore them from the air via the Hang Glider and the Parasail respectively. You have a limited amount of time in "free flight" mode to explore, but you can still enjoy the Scenery Porn from on high with relatively little restriction. And of course, you can play Free Flight as much as you like.
  • Violation of Common Sense: The "Big Ball of Painful Memories" golden key requires you to do things like fall from a jump fifty times and drive your vehicle into the water an equal number of times. The third part of the key requires you to jump from four specific cliffs, one in each resort, and only those spots will do.
  • Virtual Paper Doll: You can dress your avatar in different clothes depending on your resort. You can also choose the look and colors of your Gear that you use to navigate the resorts.
    • There's also the Snowman minigame, which is nothing but a Virtual Paper Doll. There's no time limit, no goal, and no challenge—it's just a laid-back activity where you design and dress up snowmen.
  • Walking Swimsuit Scene: Going around the Marine Resort wearing only a swimsuit is entirely possible, as befitting the beach setting. Male avatars and Miis double as a Walking Shirtless Scene if you do this.
  • Wide-Open Sandbox: Aside from the very first minigame, which the game forces you to play, you have total freedom to pretty much go anywhere and do anything from the very beginning. The game recommends new games for you to try, but you can tackle them in any order. And the overworlds are full of things to explore and do, so you can spend hours running around without ever touching the minigames. Even if you haven't played them in-game yet, several of the minigames are fully unlocked from the title screen at the beginning.
  • With Lyrics: Several of the songs that play in the game are songs from various Namco properties with lyrics. For example, the song "Blinky and Clyde" is the Pac-Land theme with lyrics added.