For many consumers, Virtual Console was a key selling point in their purchase of a Wii. Yes, the brand new, unheard-of control scheme was thrilling, and there was a new Metroid, Zelda and Mario to look forward to. But there were also all those classic video games that previously had to be purchased decades ago, tracked down at outrageous prices on eBay or, heaven forbid, played via a ROM emulator (which, of course, Nintendojo does not advocate). No Nintendo fan was expecting those classic games– some never even localized for English speakers– would be available for bargain prices via Wii’s Virtual Console.
And for a few years, the service delivered. But gradually, and then prominently, inclusion of Virtual Console (VC) titles in Nintendo’s weekly downloadable releases trickled to nearly nothing. Sometimes weeks would go by without a new VC title, and a much greater focus was put on VC’s primary competitor: all-new WiiWare titles. I feel a bit awkward arguing for old games versus the possibility of something new and unexplored, but just because there are titles on WiiWare doesn’t mean they’re all great. Plus, there seems to be a bountiful supply of great titles that could still be released on Virtual Console, especially since it’s supposed to include games from old Nintendo rivals like Genesis and TurboGrafx 16.
Some on Nintendojo’s staff have argued that we’re not seeing anything for VC lately because there’s just not much left to release. And we VC fans can throw something back at those detractors: Japan has 579 titles available on its VC, while North America has only 363 and the Europe/PAL region has 352. That’s a 40% disparity between Japan’s numbers and the others’. This may boil down to simple economics– no one’s buying VC titles here, perhaps– but that doesn’t make us fans of the service feel any better when Wii’s supposed to be going strong and hasn’t yet been displaced by its successor.
Regardless if the service is already dead, we still have plenty to say and experience about it this week at Nintendojo. Join us in the debate and let us know on which side you fall: you want to see VC relevant again, or you think the service is best left buried.
Issue 17: Virtually Yours
My Forty-Two Minutes with SMB3 by Adam Sorice
An article so old-school that it makes MC Hammer look current.
The Arcade Is Closed by Andrew Hsieh
For all its half-hearted attempts to publicize the Virtual Console’s arcade games, Nintendo never really had a chance.
Tidman’s Take: Virtual Joypad by Matthew Tidman
There’s something that would really take our Virtual Console experiences to the next level.
The Holdouts by Aaron Roberts
Where are these games?
Hot Air: Consoled by Aaron Roberts
These consoles DESERVE to be represented!
Portable VC by Adam Sorice
You want it; we want it.
Nester64x: Virtually Betrayed by Nester64x
Nester couldn’t imagine a Virtual Console like this.
A Simulated Future by Carter Fagan
Careter explores how the Virtual Console can continue to be relevant and evolve in the next generation.
Additional features in this issue…
- Nightly News Roundup by Matthew Tidman
- Nightly News Roundup by James Stank
- Dojo-Show-Go! Episode 109 by M. Noah Ward
- Nightly News Roundup by Andy Hoover
- Nightly News Roundup by Aaron Roberts
- Nightly News Roundup by Robert Thompson
Coming Up Next Week…
Issue 18: Gaming in the Year 2032
Join us in dreaming about what awesome video game experiences you’ll have 20– scratch that, 22– years from now.