What is Gundam?
The Gundam franchise is a mecha anime franchise that began in 1979 with the release of the original Mobile Suit Gundam. Its status in Japan is analogous to that of Star Wars or Star Trek in the western world. It is most well-known for breaking the trend set by the Super Robot shows of the '70s and taking robot anime into a new direction, creating a new genre retroactively named "Real Robot" anime.
The Gundam franchise can essentially be divided into two halves: Universal Century (UC), the universe of the original series and its sequels, and Alternate Universe (AU), other self-contained universes that are unrelated to each other.
List of Primary Gundam Series by Universe
- Mobile Suit Gundam
- Mobile Suit Gundam: 08th MS Team (OVA)
- Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket (OVA)
- Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory (OVA)
- Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam
- Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ
- Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterttack (Movie)
- Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn (OVA)
- Mobile Suit Gundam F91 (Movie)
- Mobile Suit Victory Gundam
- New Mobile Report Gundam Wing
- New Mobile Report Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz (OVA / Movie)
- Mobile Suit Gundam SEED
- Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny
- Mobile Suit Gundam SEED C.E. 73: Stargazer (ONA)
- Mobile Suit Gundam 00
- Mobile Suit Gundam 00: A Wakening of the Trailblazer (Movie)
Gundam in Video Games
As one might expect from such a popular anime, several videogames have been produced. A vast majority of these video games are based on the Universal Century timeline, specifically the One Year War. Aside from the Cosmic Era shows, which were especially popular during their respective runs, the AU series are mostly limited to crossover appearances: G Gundam, Gundam Wing, and Gundam AGE have each received only one dedicated game, though AGE's game was split into two versions and Gundam Battle Assault 2's assets were split to create two Simple-series games named "Gundam Wing: The Battle" and "G Gundam: The Battle." Meanwhile, 00 has received two dedicated games, while Gundam X and Turn A Gundam have only appeared in crossovers.
In an interesting twist, Gundam AGE owes its existence to the game that would eventually become Mobile Suit Gundam AGE: Universe Accel/Cosmic Drive; during the initial discussions between anime giant Sunrise and Level-5 president Akihiro Hino, the two agreed to create a full TV series based on a premise pitched by the latter. Hino served as the anime version's scriptwriter.
Gundam Battle Assault
A series of 2D fighting games. The first Gundam Battle Assault is actually a remixed version of Gundam: The Battle Master 2, modified to capitalize on Gundam Wing's unprecedented success in the U.S. Gundam Battle Assault 2 was made for the North American market, and featured a heavier emphasis on Gundam Wing and G Gundam. Both games utilized a Flash-esqe animation technique, where the mobile suits consisted of several smaller sprites.
Additionally, Gundam SEED received three Battle Assault games. Gundam SEED: Battle Assault was released on the Game Boy Advance to promote the anime, which was airing in the US. Battle Assault 3 featuring Gundam SEED uses a modified version of the engine from the Japan-exclusive Mobile Suit Gundam SEED. Finally, Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny, a Japan-exclusive game, is an expanded version of Gundam SEED: Battle Assault and features its predecessor in its entirety as an unlockable.
The Gundam Vs. series consists of several 2-on-2 3D combat games in the vein of Virtual-On. Produced by Capcom, these games have proven to be wildly popular in the arcades. The series started with Federation vs. Zeon, which focused on the One Year War. AEUG vs. Titans expands upon its predecessor and includes mobile suits from Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam; the game would receive continuous updates until it was re-released as Gundam vs. Zeta Gundam.
Gundam SEED: Rengou vs. Z.A.F.T. vastly improves upon its predecessors and shifts the focus from the Universal Century timeline to the Cosmic Era. Gundam SEED Destiny: Rengou vs. Z.A.F.T. II adds MS from Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny.
Gundam vs. Gundam increases the series's scope to include every major animated Gundam series. Gundam vs. Gundam Next increases the roster of mobile suits, while Gundam Extreme Vs. is the first HD entry in the series.
Gundam Battle (PSP)
As 3D gaming became standard, several Gundam sims were created such as Mobile Suit Gundam: Journey to Jaburo and Mobile Suit Gundam: Lost War Chronicles. The Gundam Battle series, by developer Artdink, follows the formula of these games, Lost War Chronicles in particular. The games deliver a staggering amount of Mobile Suits, along with the ability to tune each suit's stats.
Gundam Battle Tactics focuses on the One Year War, featuring missions based on the original Mobile Suit Gundam and sidestories related to that era. Gundam Battle Royale adds Zeta Gundam, Gundam Battle Chronicle adds Gundam 0083, Gundam Battle Universe adds Gundam ZZ and Char's Counterattack, and Gundam Assault Survive adds Gundam F91, Gundam SEED, and Gundam 00. Additionally, Assault Survive features interconnected battlefields and a create-a-character mode.
SD Gundam G Generation
The SD Gundam G Generation series is Gundam's answer to the Super Robot Wars series. It is a series of strategy RPGs which generally delve deep into Gundam's repertoire of Mobile Suits. The "SD" in the title solely refers to the super-deformed proportions of the MS featured in the game; it is in no way related to the "SD Gundam" anime franchise.
The G Generation games can basically be split into two groups: those which feature a crossover plot and those which allow the player to choose a series and reenact its battles. The latter type of G Gen plays like a collect-em-all strategy game, uses a square grid, and is generally made for consoles; the former type is comparable to Super Robot Wars, uses a hexagonal grid, and is usually released for handhelds. Every game released after SD Gundam G Generation: Cross Drive follows the "console" approach, while often creating an original subplot.
Mobile Suit Gundam was included in much of Banpresto's vast catalog of licensed crossovers from the 1990s, including the The Great Battle series and Battle Robot Retsuden.
It is also a mainstay in the Super Robot Wars series; every licensed game features a Gundam series and Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack is the second-most-recurring series in the franchise. The "Banpresto Original" pilots from Super Robot Wars 4 are classified as Mobile Suit pilots, and Cobray Gordon, the male/Real Robot protagonist of Super Robot Wars Alpha 3, uses a Mass-Production Nu Gundam during early stages.
List of early Gundam games