Portable Virtual Console: The Dream Is Real

Finally, proof that Nintendojo is psychic!

By Adam Sorice. Posted 09/30/2010 14:30 15 Comments     ShareThis

Game Boy cartridge pile

You know how you always expect something to show up eventually, even if at that point there are no suggestions it will ever appear? Like the absent postman at half ten in the morning or fat pictures of your girlfriend on Facebook immediately after your dumpage break up? Well this is pretty much how I’ve been feeling about the prospect of a Portable Virtual Console for quite some time now (essentially a potent mixture of dire anticipation with a dash of cruel bitterness.)

When the Virtual Console was originally revealed by Nintendo back in 2006 I was excited, no question, but I was actually far more tempted by the idea of a similar set up for Nintendo’s past portable experiences. After growing up in a period of gaming where the company’s handhelds exceeded the market successes of N64 and GameCube, the opportunity to finally catch up on all of the Game Boy and Game Boy Advance games that I’d missed as a child seemed like a dream come true.
Game Boy promo shot

So I waited, much like a watched pot and various other tired metaphors that upon hearing make you wish to douse someone with a substantial amount of boiling water that ironically you are still waiting to boil, for the surely-impending announcement of the Portable Virtual Console. When it wasn’t announced I waited some more. Like the typical Nintendo fan, I silently seethed and sung the praises of Wii while inside I brooded over the absence of such an announcement.

Until one day came the announcement of DSi, a new version of the super popular DS handheld that would support a virtual store capable of selling whole games, much like Wii’s Shop Channel.

“At last,” you’d think. But of course not.

That would have been a far too simple conclusion to this tale. The DSiWare emerged and then fizzled out without much aplomb compared to the potential frenzy that a Portable Virtual Console would cause. And despite a hotly tipped rumour that Game Boy and Game Boy Advance would later appear on the system, nothing ever came to fruition.

And so I gave up on the dream of playing games from Nintendo’s handheld past forever, telling myself that DSi couldn’t cope with the size of such games and when its inevitable successor was revealed, the 3DS of course, it would utilize the same system and be equally useless at fulfilling my life. I gave up completely, readers. So much so that I started writing this article about how the PVC, I so hope we refer to it as that, was never going to become a reality and set about lamenting over its wasted potential.

Until yesterday morning, of course. The first thing I read then, through bleary eyes, was an e-mail on my phone from my esteemed colleague Mr. Evan Campbell, with the subject line “3DS VIRTUAL CONSOLE!!!!” Nintendo had waited for the exact moment that I had lost all faith in the potential of a Portable Virtual Console to spring its announcement onto me (and the world.) Or maybe they were wanting to coincide with our very own Virtual Console week at Nintendojo? Who knows. It worked for Kid Icarus.

Never before had I felt more elated and frustrated quite so simultaneously. Great news that we would finally be able to play our favourite old school games (although we’re not quite sure which devices the PVC may actually cover, we’re a bit in the air at the moment) while rather frustrating news that I had to rethink my article on short notice. Well, we’ve come this far, so let’s look at some of the games that should definitely get another release on 3DS:

Metroid II: The Return of Samus
We’ve talked about The Return of Samus on Nintendojo before, and while we agreed it may not be the best game in the world, it definitely holds an important place in the Metroid series. While it may be remembered as a weak link in the franchise, there’s probably a small army of Samus fans desperate to find every collectible in every single part of every single Metroid game. And the rest of us can just stare at the black and white textured graphics until our eyes pop out of our heads, cartoon style.

Pokémon Trading Card Game
Pokémon Trading Card Game world map I had completely forgotten about this game until I saw it on a list of Game Boy Colour titles two seconds ago, but if this doesn’t get released, I will personally riot. It’s a testament to the game’s madly addictive gameplay that I still dig out Pokémon Trading Card Game more than any other old title I’ve ever owned and get lost in another adventure of fierce card games.

Stepping out from the rather rigid story of nearly every other iteration of the series, players took on the role of a budding Pokémon trading card game player, who challenged eight different gyms in any order desired to collect medals, before challenging the game’s final four Grand Masters. Boasting unique characters, a whole new spin on the collecting craze and seriously addictive as hell gameplay, this has got to make a comeback.

Pokémon Pinball (or better yet, Pokémon Pinball: Ruby & Sapphire)
Yes, another Pokémon spin-off game, but we’re looking back at my childhood here, and I loved a good Pokémon spin-off! This pair of titles mixed the challenge of going on a Pokémon adventure with the fun of a pinball sim, and actually made a fair bit of sense since Poké Balls are round (sorry Mario Pinball Land.) The first game emerged on the Game Boy Color and contained not only the first 151 collectable critters, but also an absolutely massive cartridge that contained a Rumble Pak. The second returned on Game Boy Advance and (surprise, surprise) allowed you to catch the variety of monsters available in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire.

The Pinball series really took the concept of Pokémon catching and evolving in a different direction, having to move to different locales and catch, then later evolve, your Pokémon. While getting your Bulbasaur to evolve twice into Venusaur was something of a challenge (there’s a small possibility I still haven’t managed it), when players were finally able to enter the evolution process, they also got to smack Slowbro in the face with their ball. So it wasn’t a completely fruitless activity.

Wario Ware: Twisted!WarioWare: Twisted! box art
While we’re not quite sure if Game Boy Advance games will be available on PVC, and they better be Nintendo, we can speculate for a moment. And while there are plenty of brilliant games from the GBA era just dying to hit the big-time all over again, your Zeldas, Marios, Pokémons and Metroids for example, one game that was highly overlooked probably deserves this shot more than any other.

Wario Ware: Twisted!, a derivative of the then-already popular microgame franchise, combined the furious gameplay of five second bursts of insanity the series had become famous for with a “piezoelectric gyroscope”, or if you’re a bit thick like me, “tilt sensor”, that became the primary method of control for the game. Following on from games like Kirby’s Tilt and Tumble, Twisted! became Nintendo’s flagship title for motion gaming far before Wii or DS. And despite the critical success of the game, and the success of the wider concept of motion gaming, the game never received a follow-up or even saw a release in Europe (which I’m still personally irked about, if you were wondering).

So when is a better time than now to bring back Twisted!? With 3DS’s built-in accelerometer, the control aspect of the game would be theoretically possible and I would finally get to play what IGN claimed to be “best game on the system“. And isn’t it really what Wario would have wanted?

15 Responses to “Portable Virtual Console: The Dream Is Real”

  • 360 points
    geoffrey says...

    I would be stunned if they release the Pokémon TCG game – it’s so incredibly out of date concerning rules, forget the cards in it. While I would love to see a new TCG video game, I just don’t see it happening.

    I just want to see the Super Mario Land games. Poor deprived me has never played any of them.

    Thumb up 3
    • 697 points
      Adam Sorice says...

      I’ve never played them either! But if you read my other article from this week then you’ll realise that old school Mario isn’t really my forte…

      It may seem like a bit of a long shot but PTCG reviewed really well, had a Japan-only sequel and is still quite popular as a card game. And they released Snap on the N64 Virtual Console which is technically a game based on a six episode character from the anime and only 85 of the original Pokémon.

      Stranger things have happened!

      Thumb up 1
      • 360 points
        geoffrey says...

        Oh, I know it is – I’m a TO for it and have worked the last 3 World Championships. It’s just that I think it would be foolish to throw out a video game that uses rules that contradict the actual TCG, in case people were to try to learn how to play using it. If they made an updated one with newer cards and correct rules (woo dreaming in technicolor), I’d be all over it.

        Although I’m also just meh about a rerelease since I have the GBC cart. :x

        Thumb up 3
      • 697 points
        Adam Sorice says...

        But are the rules from the original game that different to today? I know it’s got a lot more complicated with Lost Zones are Level Xs and Supporters Cards but the bones of the system are there I think.

        Basic Pokémon, evolution process, the bench, energy cards, Trainers, deck size, playing format. I don’t think the two points in the series are that worlds apart.

        (And btw, you have an awesome job.)

        Thumb up 1
      • 690 points
        Matthew Tidman says...

        I have to agree with Geoffrey. While some things have not changed and will never change, I got into the card game in the last year after taking a 4-year hiatus from the game, and it’s radically different.

        Even the original game had issues. I remember getting in a huge flame war in the rulings discussion board on the Wizards of the Coast Web site back in the day because Energy Retrieval works incorrectly in the game.

        I’d much prefer them to go the Yu-Gi-Oh! route and release a yearly update to the game when thy rotated the sets. If they could make it updatable using 3DS’s online features that would be even cooler.

        Thumb up 1
  • 93 points
    Francisco Naranjo says...

    The Super Mario Land games are really good, if obviously short. I’ll be sure to get them both as soon as they become available.

    Thumb up 1
  • 186 points
    Aaron Roberts says...

    Don’t forget Donkey Kong ’94!

    Thumb up 1
  • 432 points
    dmgice says...

    Sooo check out the portable forums at Nintendojo, there’s a bit on Virtual Pocket and I’ve been ranting about it since before the inception of the DSi. It was supposed to be a GB Next feature. FINALLY… FINALLY it surfaces. I think the prices will be different per game, but they will still be separated by types.

    GB/SGB/GBC

    If a GBC version of a game exists, they use that version over the SGB version or GB version. If an SGB version exists (DK94, Kirby’s Dream Land 2, Kirby’s Blockball, Donkey Kong Land) that is the version used, complete with border. Haven’t gotten back on if these are emulated or not.

    Here’s my prediction for the first five first party titles on the service.

    1. The Legend of Zelda 4: Link’s Awakening DX – (The printer function is probably disabled)
    2. Super Mario Land
    3. Alleyway
    4. Revenge of the Gator
    5. Radar Mission

    Thumb up 2
  • 678 points
    amishpyrate says...

    great gameboy games that need to reappear… Kid Icarus 2, zelda links awakening, Wario Land 2 and 3, and maybe capcom can finally get around to putting out the gameboy mega mans…. I used to play so many games for gameboy, but these are all I can think of

    Thumb up 1
  • 697 points
    Adam Sorice says...

    The original Pokémon games could well make a reappearance as well. Sure, they’d have to tinker with the trade function for it to work between 3DSes but I can see it happening. After all, they went into Pokémon Snap and allowed players to send each other their photos across Wii email.

    Basically Nintendo I want you to re-release every single Pokémon game ever. Get to work.

    Thumb up 1
    • 360 points
      geoffrey says...

      The problem with that one is that then you’re cannibalizing sales of the remakes potentially; there are some people that would prefer to pay less for Gold or Silver and just take the graphical hit rather than get HeartGold or SoulSilver. Although granted, once Black and White comes out, that would be at least somewhat alleviated.

      I’d be more interested in seeing the spinoff games redone and then thrown out as 3DSWare (or whatever) games – release a $10-$15ish 3D port of the N64 Pokémon Puzzle League and I’d be all over that; Tetris Attack is awesome. The cylinder mode is begging for real 3D. Heck, Pokémon Dash in 3D would be awesome if they fixed the glaring issues the original game had.

      Thumb up 1
  • 432 points
    dmgice says...

    I’ll just leave these here….

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYuTcHg-okQ

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2rBDT1yfmM

    Yup! The second one in particular.

    Thumb up 1
  • 132 points
    gekslupis says...

    Pokemon pinball would work fantastically on 3ds. Zen pinball has proven that it will most likley sell well. Even a new pokemon pinball game would be cool to have.

    Thumb up 1

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