February 10, 2010


Wiish List

A while ago I predicted that Nintendo would win the war in next generation video game consoles even with a less robust piece of hardware, the Wii. Because the heart of Nintendo is strictly a video game company (although in its over a 120 year history its been: a trading card company, a taxi service, and operated “love hotels” a popular service in Japan where space for privacy is at a premium), unlike its major rivals now, Sony and Microsoft who are involved in multiple business models.

I really like the concept of the Virtual Console, which allows Wii users to download copies of classic games to play on the Wii. In particular I really enjoyed “platformers” (platform games), which basically involved 2-dimensional side scrolling characters jumping side to side to various platforms. More recent genres of games often involve 3-dimensional environments, such as first-person-shooters, often require computers to assist in creating the visuals. But I much prefer the animation of those older games, and the simplicity of running and jumping from platform to platform. On some of the more challenging games (Ghoul's and Ghosts) it requires amazing timing, to the same degree required for the best players of Halo.

One of my all time favorites, Contra, combines the platform genre with the run-and-gun genre as the characters jump and shoots at outer-space invaders. Unfortunately as of yet it is not yet available on the Wii Virtual Console – which brings up my number one complaint for the Virtual Console: the lack of games available.

The Wii's Virtual Consol has the potential to be really profitable from people like me who are very nostalgic for games from our past. There are some great titles available but there are some surprising one's missing, which is why I've compiled an updated list of additions to the Wii Virtual Console line up broken down by their respective consoles:

NINTENDO (a.k.a. Nintendo Entertainment System, or NES)
-Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 – The Aracde Game
-Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3

-Cool Spot
-Jurassic Park

SEGA GENESIS (a.k.a. Mater Drive)
-The Castle of Illusion Staring Mickey Mouse – this was an awesome game with a great sound track.
-Sonic And Knuckles
-Splatterhouse 3
-Contra: Hard Corps

-Perfect Dark
-Battle Tanks - Global Assault
-Killer Instinct

-Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
-Ghouls and Ghosts
-Magic Sword
-Dark Stalkers
-Smash TV
-Captain Commando

Of the games I've listed, its quite surprising to me that some of these have not become available for the Virtual Console. The top of my list would be The Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse, which was an amazingly fun game with a great soundtrack. I've been waiting for Sonic and Knuckles, which has been available on the Japanese version of the Virtual Console for quite some time. Konami has released Super C (NES) and Contra III (SNES) and gone to the trouble of creating an all new Contra game called ReBirth, so why isn't the original Contra available? Original arcade games have recently started being released on the Virtual Console, so I'm hoping the original arcade version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles makes it's way to the VC (and of course its NES port!). (TMNT is one of my favorite arcade games. I spent so many quarters in this game at an arcade by a boardwalk in Ocean City Maryland. Ah, memories!) Bubsy and Cool Spot were excellent side-scrolling platformers made for 16 Bit systems – they would be big hits I'm sure.

I wonder if despite Nintendo's success with the Wii its old rival Sega might have a 1-Up being that it has left the console wars and can develop games on multiple systems. I really enjoyed the latest Super Mario Bros which goes back to Mario and Luigi's 2D “platform” gaming origins – but I was always enjoyed Sonic a little more than Mario...so I was really excited to read that a new Sonic the Hedgehog is in development that goes back the the 2D platform formula. Its goes right back to where Sonic and Knuckles left off. It looks like it plays just the original Sonic games, but the graphics look updated to today's high definition standards. It will be available as a direct download to Wii, Xbox 360, and PS3. I must admit that while the business model of direct downloads probably makes a lot of sense financially for the games publisher, the inner nerd in my desires to hold the physical copy of a game disk and examine its game manual. But I would not let that one holdup to keep me from getting excited about this upcomming Sonic game.

It would be remiss if I did not acknowledge that there are some of the great games available currently on the VC: The Legend of Zelda – A Link to the Past is one of the best video games ever made. Sonic The Hedgehog 1, 2, and 3, Contra III, Super Mario World, and Super Metroid were and still are a lot of fun to play. Donkey Kong Country has graphics that are still amazing nearly 15 years later.

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