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Why are these games not on the Virtual Console?

3/5/14 5:40pm
tl;dr

The games are: Pokémon Gen I and II, where the only real issue is trading. Mario Party 1 due to the controller stick legal issues. Donkey Kong games for reasons only known by Nintendo. Virtual Boy games because it sucked. Legend of Zelda: Four Swords because it's too good to be sold. Star Fox 1 and 2 due to technical difficulties. And Mother / Earthbound games because Nintendo hates them.

Part 1 - First Party games

Anyone who has been reading any of my comments recently will know that I’m not particularly happy with Nintendo’s strategies at the moment. Nintendo’s handling of the Wii U in general has been nothing short of inexcusable and their reluctance to make any decisions to reflect the modern gamer has left gamers disappointed at best.

Nintendo’s Virtual Console is another example of Nintendo’s refusal to show any attempt at providing gamers with choice and a reason to give them money. Nintendo has an extensive catalog of games from their old consoles that for some reason, they’re not spewing out to us. I would like to show some first party titles that I’m confused as to why they don’t want us to hand over our coins for.

For the record, none of these games are on the Wii U or 3DS Virtual Consoles at this point in time. I am including all games up to and including the Game Boy Color and Nintendo 64, since there are neither games for the DS (yet) or the GameCube on the store at this point. Part 1 will only focus on Nintendo’s first and second party line ups.

Pokémon Red/Blue/Yellow and Gold/Silver/Crystal

The first and second generation of Pokémon games

There really isn’t a good reason as to why these games aren’t already on the store. The old Pokémon games are sort after by new and old gamers, playing for the first time or wanting a nostalgia fix. The old cartridges are starting to lose their battery power now, and may no longer be able to keep their games saved, so it would be helpful if they were ported to a more sophisticated system. And while Red and Blue and Gold and Silver were remade (FireRed/LeafGreen and HeartGold/SoulSilver), Pokémon Yellow and Crystal are essentially lost forever unless Nintendo/Game Freak decide to re-release them in some way.

Some common complaints are that it would be difficult to port the code over. Not true. Gen I and II uses the same engine, so it can be reused and many other Gameboy games are available on the Virtual Console. The next thing I hear complained about is that it won’t be popular. Well, with TwitchPlays Pokémon, I’m going to have to disagree. The nostalgia factor is far too strong. The only real issue is trading. This I don’t have a solution for. In Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons and Ages, the games are supposed to link together – but they don’t. They use the same password system that they used for the Gameboy Color. Still, as standalone titles, they would still sell a lot, so it isn’t a very strong argument.

Pokémon is the most blatant example of Nintendo not bothering with their Virtual Console lineup. We know it would sell. They know it too. Who knows what the real reason is that Nintendo won’t re-release them, but the reasons that have been suggested - as I’ve proven against above – probably aren’t correct. Perhaps Game Freak has something against re-releasing their old games?

Mario Party 1

Mario Party, with its blistering controls

The controversial Mario Party game. We know why Nintendo hasn’t put it onto the Virtual Consoles. Back when the game was released a lawsuit against Nintendo was filed (which Nintendo lost), because of all the mini-games that required rotating the controller fast, resulting in blistered hands. Of course, because the game was so loved, there should be an alternative way of re-releasing the game. Here are some suggestions.

1. Use the same method as Mario Party 2, where rather than rotating the analog stick, mash the A and B buttons instead. Even better, with FOUR main buttons being standard now, you could simply press A, B, X, Y, A, B, X, Y etc until someone wins.

2. Please don’t hate me for this, but motion controls. There, I said it. Point the controller to the screen and make circles with it as fast as you can. Maybe wave the nun-chuck and controller up and down.

3. Screw it. Controller sticks are more comfortable and more durable. The controls could easily stay the same and no-one would notice.

There’s three ideas for you Nintendo. Let’s see Mario Party on the Wii U’s virtual console next to 2 and 3 please.

Donkey Kong Country series and Donkey Kong 64

A classic platformer with an unknown future

I know what you're thinking. BUT PROWLER! RARE HAS THE RIGHTS TO DONKEY KONG COUNTRY AND DONKEY KONG 64. THERE’S NO WAY MICRSOFT WOULD EVER GIVE NINTENDO THE RIGHTS BACK. Well my uninformed reader (and those of you who are informed and are nodding right now), this is not true for several reasons. When Rare was bought out by Microsoft, Nintendo kept the rights to ALL Donkey Kong related material including ALL games with Donkey Kong in the title (not including some ideas from unreleased games).

Second of all, and most importantly, Donkey Kong Country, Diddy’s Kong Quest (2) and Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble (3) WERE all released on the Wii’s Virtual Console in around 2006, but were all removed with little warning and with no reasoning from Nintendo. Angry customers even went crying to Rare wondering if it came from them only to be met with this tweet from @Rare Ltd.:

What’s with all the “let Nintendo put DK64 on Virtual Console” emails over the weekend? It already belongs to Nintendo, you crazy kids.

This proves that Rare has nothing to do with the games being pulled down, and it is only because Nintendo wanted to. Some may say it is because of Donkey Kong Country Returns, but that game has been out for over a year now and besides, that wouldn't make sense from a marketing point of view. Nintendo, now that Donkey Kong Country Returns has proven to be a successful formula, can you please put these much loved games back onto the Virtual Console? Thanks.

Virtual Boy Collection

Mario Tennis on the Virtual Boy was actually not too bad for a game that made you vomit.

It was stated that the Virtual Boy games may have had a chance of appearing on the 3DS. While there weren’t that many decent games, there were a couple of genuinely decent games that could be remade for the 3DS. Mario Tennis and Virtual Boy Wario Land are two of the best examples. Also, there was a F-Zero game that was partially completed that has never seen any kind of release. It would be nice to see this added in demo form (playable or just a video – I just want to see it!), just so gamers could have seen what could have been.

Of course, the problem with all this is the 3D and the graphics. If Nintendo could think of a creative way of porting the Virtual Boy games as a full collection with the demo, it would be a nice package to fans who wanted to actually experience the games, without spending a lot of money and then feeling ill because of them.

Worldwide full release of Legend of Zelda: Four Swords

Surely they could have made a more impressive box cover

So America, how was that free release a little while back, eh? Are you enjoying your little Links? I bet you are. But for the rest of us, why isn’t it on the eShop yet just to give a few extra bucks to Nintendo (since they’re crying poor still). Originally, Four Swords was only released as a part of the Ambassador program for early adopters to the 3DS.

 Now, that the 3DS is so popular it is truly bizarre as to why Nintendo refuse to let us pay for the game and only releasing it for free to a small audience for a limited time. For free. That’s not how you make money Nintendo. There are those of us in Europe and Oceania, and probably some in the Americans who missed out and are willing to pay for it. So why not just release it for everyone?

The original Star Fox and unreleased Star Fox 2

The original Star Fox on SNES

Unfortunately, the original Star Fox on the SNES will have difficulties in seeing a re-release. The problem comes from the use of the Super FX chip not being able to be compatible with the Wii’s Virtual Console. Hopefully, these bugs are fixed with the Wii U’s. Another game (Yoshi’s Island) also ran into similar issues, but it is apparently going to be released within the next few months. With the issue more or less resolved, we should be expecting a release of the original Star Fox then, right? Hopefully.

Now there is also the issue of the unreleased Star Fox 2. Apparently, the game was days from being completed and the only reason it was shelved was because of the release of the Nintendo 64. There is some interest from the Star Fox community and while it probably won’t legally happen, it would be great to see the game fully playable to everyone, perhaps even include it with the original, or package it with a future Star Fox game as a bonus feature (don’t hold your breath). Despite a good chunk of the game being released in the form of Star Fox 64 and Star Fox Command, the game in full would be welcomed, as the released ROMs found online are not quite close enough to the final build.

While Star Fox 2 may be wishful thinking, the original Star Fox needs to be enjoyed once more.

The other Mother / Earthbound games

Seriously, who did they get to make these terrible GBA boxes?

Oh dear. Earthbound seems to be the bane of Nintendo’s existence. Nintendo absolutely hates that this series has such a following, but for a change seems to actually be giving in to the fans. Hooray! Earthbound 2 was finally released on the Virtual Console last year, but there has been no word about the other two Mother games. There are two reasons for this. 1. When the games originally came out, they had a very long development cycle and missed out on being released on their respective consoles (similarly to Star Fox 2). 2. MOST of the music appears to just be ripped from popular music, and Nintendo had trouble with getting the rights to release the games.

It appears that, because of Earthbound (the second in the series) has managed to be released in the west on Virtual Console now, there is a good chance that the above problems could now be solved. Seriously though, there is no logical reason why it had to take this long for the west to see it. The Virtual Console system has been up since November 2006. ALMOST SEVEN YEARS. That’s far too long for a relatively simple solution to be finally explored. Hopefully, the other games here won’t take nearly as long.

 

That’s not all folks! That’s just the end of part 1! Please make other suggestions of games that aren’t on the Virtual Console system for the Wii U or 3DS. It might make it into the next blog. Part 2 will be about third party titles that haven’t been re-released yet, and part 3 will be various games I didn’t have time for or are suggested by the g1’s.

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