Nintendo and the Virtual Console

Posted: August 27, 2013 in Current Gaming
Tags: , , , , ,

WiiU VC

It is definitely no secret that the WiiU is kind of floundering right now. Nintendo has failed, in large part, to show the value in purchasing the system, with many people thinking it is simply a new controller for the Wii. The main problem facing the system, however, is the same issue that plagued the 3DS early in its life, a startling lack of software for the system. With the current struggle the WiiU is experiencing, due in large part to this lack of software, I cannot begin to fathom why Nintendo hasn’t utilized the Virtual Console more strongly to offset the lack of new titles hitting the system.

Initially, with the Wii, Nintendo did a good job releasing a regular variety of games, but as the Wii got older and their focus changed to the new system, releases started trickling in. Instead of four or five games in a week, it was reduced to one or two, or even a week with nothing released. Had the catalog been exhausted after four years, this would have been understandable, but classic and much sought after games such as Yoshi’s Island: Super Mario World 2, Soul Blazer, and Castlevania Bloodlines, to name only a few, are still woefully absent.

Not to mention that the cart for this game is quite pricey.

Not to mention that the cart for this game is quite pricey.

Now that the virtual console is available on the WiiU, Nintendo seems to be taking the same tact on releasing games from past systems, some weeks only releasing an update that allows a game available for the Wii Virtual Console to be playable on the gamepad. As the Wii VC is available on every WiiU, I hardly count this update as a new release. That said, I will give some praise to Nintendo for including the Wii VC on the WiiU, even if they are unplayable on the gamepad. Also, Nintendo made big news by making available the incredibly hard to find, Earthbound (Mother 3) originally for the Super NES.

That praise given, what reason does Nintendo have for not pulling out some big guns that are yet unreleased (see above) or moving over more the existing VC games so that they may be played on the gamepad. I’ll admit to not knowing how much that involves, but I have to believe the payoff for doing this would outweigh the work of updating them. Once moved, Nintendo could also play with the pricing, offering special deals or discounts, much as they’ve been doing already on WiiU e-shop games.

The one idea that has been living in my mind concerns one of their most profitable franchises: Pokemon. Since the Gamecube days, many fans have asked for a proper home console Pokemon game. With the announcement that the WiiU VC would eventually have GBA capabilities, why not port two of the Pokemon GBA games to the WiiU VC, possibly adding some Wi-Fi interaction. The games could even be priced higher to offset any expense of adding the extras to the games. Even if the extras couldn’t be added, a price point of $10 – $15 would still work given the price a used copy currently fetches.

I missed these during my ill-advised "Pokemon isn't fun" phase.

I missed these during my ill-advised “Pokemon isn’t fun” phase.

Perhaps I’m completely off base with this idea, but I feel even a port of these games would help move systems and offset some of the heat the WiiU is currently feeling from the software drought. That notwithstanding, Nintendo is missing a great opportunity by releasing games for the VC at such a slow pace. Nintendo’s back catalog is second to none. They would do well to start utilizing such an amazing asset, especially at a time that the WiiU is facing what could well be a sink or swim holiday season.

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