In 2003, Sega released an arcade called Mushiking: The King of Beetles (甲虫王者ムシキング). The arcade was a combination of an arcade game and collectible card game. The game involves battles between cards describing various beetle species. The cards can be scanned in by a Mushiking arcade machine, which will both carry out battles and dispense new cards. The game was great hit and by 2008, more than 100,000 tournaments have been held, and 20 million cards have shipped. The game even made it to the Guinness Book of World records with the highest numbers of tournaments held for an arcade game. In 2013, Sega decided to adapt the console into an handheld system.
Released under the name Mushiking: The King of Beetles—Musitori Battle Zukan (甲虫王者ムシキング むしとりバトルずかん) the game is not really a port of the arcade game, but was rather inspired by it. The console features a digital camera on its back and is used to “film” your immediate environment. In some place, a beetle will appear on the screen and you will need to fight it to catch it. Once you catch the beetles, it will be added to your picture book, which contains facts on the insect you caught. Over 150 types of Japanese and rare international insects are available to be found. When in captivity, you can train your beetles though mini-games and battle with friends using infrared communication.
The device could also be used a digital camera by inserting a SD card to save the picture taken. The console would use 4 AAA batteries which would provide around 4h of continuous operation.
On the day of the release, Sega also released a toy called Mushiking: The King of Beetles—Attack Figurine. These figurines were sold for ¥819 each and would. Each of the six figurines came with a code that once entered in the Mushiking: The King of Beetles—Musitori Battle Zukan handheld, it would add the corresponding beetle to the picture book. These beetles feature a pull cord that would activate the device and have them move forward and “attack”. At the time of the release, six toys beetles were available:
- Atlas beetle
- Dorcus grandis beetle
- Stag beetle
- Hercules beetle
- Musk beettle
- Whirligig beetle
The device was available in two colors: green and pink.
The console had a certain success and even had a successor in 2014 called the Wild King: Strongest Battle Zukan. The concept would later be adapted by Nintendo with the release of Pokémon Go in 2016.
|The six available beetle figurine|