Olimar (Japanese: キャプテン・オリマー, Hepburn: Kyaputen Orimā) is a fictional character from Nintendo's Pikmin video game series created by Shigeru Miyamoto. He first appeared in the 2001 video game Pikmin, which led to the development of two additional games; one of them featuring the character as the protagonist.
Olimar also appears in other Nintendo games, being a playable character in the third and fourth installments of the Super Smash Bros. series. Reception to the character has been positive both for his appearance in Pikmin and Super Smash Bros. His replacement in the series third installment of Pikimin is also a subject of discussion.
He was named after Mario; in Japanese, the name "Olimar" (オリマー) is "Mario" (マリオ) spelled backwards. Captain Olimar was a late addition in Pikmin; Shigeru Miyamoto said that since initially during the original development the Pikimin would be utilized as weapons to be shot by the player themselves, "it wouldn't be interesting enough" to have a player character.
Captain Olimar was introduced in the first installment of the series, Pikmin (2001), where he is a pilot who works for Hocotate Freight. During a travel, his cargo transport spacecraft, the S.S. Dolphin collides with a meteor and lands in a new planet. To manage to escape and go home, he uses the native species of anthropomorphic plants—the Pikmin—to help him find the 30 parts of his ship in the 30 days his life support systems can support him. In Pikmin 2 (2004), he returns from the Pikmin planet only to learn that Hocotate Freight is in severe debt. After discovering that some stuffs he has brought back from the Pikmin planet are extremely valuable, his boss sends him and a co-worker, Louie, to the planet to find more of it, in order to pay down the company's debt. Unlike in the previous titles, Olimar is not the main character in Pikmin 3 (2013), but he appears in the game through his journal entries that instruct the player how to use the Pikmin as well as the game mechanics, and in the multiplayer mode "Bingo Battle". Having fallen into debt once more, Hocotate Freight sends Olimar and Louie back to the Pikmin planet to search for more treasure. Player characters Alph, Brittany, and Charlie, who crash-landed on the planet shortly after Olimar, seek to locate him in order to retrieve a crucial piece of their ship, which he took mistaking it for treasure. The final level has the player characters attempt to rescue Olimar from the game's final boss, the Plasm Wraith.
Olimar has featured in three Super Smash Bros. games; in Melee he appears as a trophy, and in Brawl as a playable character, commanding his Pikmin to fight. On July 12, 2013, he and the Pikmin were confirmed to their third appearance in the series, returning in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. Although not a playable character, five Miis can reenact Olimar and four pikmin (blue, red, yellow, and white, in that order of players) in Pikmin Adventure, a minigame in Nintendo Land. Olimar also appears in Super Mario Maker as a Mystery Mushroom costume.
Writing for The Observer, Tom Chatfield listed Olimar as one of his favorite 10 video game characters, describing him as "an intriguing character." GameDaily ranked him as fifteenth out of their top 25 anti-heroes, noting that despite the fact that he is "a good-natured spaceman", he also enslaves a race of aliens and forces them to work. In 2007, IGN speculated that he could appear in the next Super Smash Bros. title, stating "[b]y far one of the most likely and most requested recent year heroes is Olimar." They later featured him in a list of characters they most wanted to see on the Wii.
The portrayal of Olimar in the Super Smash Bros. series has been praised. His announcement as a playable character was described by GamesRadar as "Best. Playable. Character. Announcement. Ever. [sic]". UGO Networks noted Olimar is the smallest character in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and they recommended Olimar for "experienced players". They remarked that he is "cool" because he "doesn't actually fight, instead using Pikmin to do the dirty work." IGN commented that "Olimar alone is a pretty wimpy little sucker, but together with his Pikmin, they're a force to be reckoned with." Eurogamer's Tom Bramwell also noted his fighting style, saying he is "particularly eye-catching", and that Olimar's Final Smash is his favorite in the game. On other hand, Thomas East from Official Nintendo Magazine ranked him fifth on his list of "Smash Bros. characters who need to be dropped for Wii U and 3DS", stating he "is a bit useless" since he uses the Pikmin to fight for him.
His replacement as the main character in Pikmin 3 has received both criticism and praise. Neoseeker described it as a "sad day indeed for Pikmin fans". On the other hand, it was called "a welcome change after two games of Olimar's blank canvas" by Edge.