News Article

Talking Point: The State of Play of the Virtual Console

Posted by Damien McFerran

Since the end of last year there’s been an unpleasant undercurrent of tension in the world of the Virtual Console. It all started when Nintendo’s VC releases began to strangely dry up, with the usual three-game weeks becoming a thing of the past. This controversial move then kick-started a tirade of anger, with each week’s announcements being greeted with almost predictable cries of derision.

Obviously it’s impossible for Nintendo to please everyone in this situation. Yes, the drop from three games to two (or sometimes even one) is unfortunate but it’s worth taking a moment to look at the figures involved. Since the Virtual Console service was launched Nintendo has made over 200 retro titles available to Wii owners; compare that to the volume of games currently available on Microsoft’s Xbox Live Arcade portal and it makes for interesting reading; despite being on the market for longer, the service has just over half the number of games that the Virtual Console currently boasts. Granted, many of these games are a lot more complex than your average NES title (and many are coded from scratch) but to say that Nintendo has been needlessly holding back games is rather naive. Quite the opposite is true – the company has probably given us too many games, too soon.

It’s worth noting that it’s not just Nintendo’s responsibility to populate the Virtual Console release list; companies like Sega, Hudson and D4 Enterprise have to submit their relevant software for release on the service and if they decide to drag their heels then there’s nothing The Big N can do about it.

We also recommend that anyone who feels personally slighted by the sudden slowdown in Virtual Console releases should take a look at the bigger picture; the Wii is just over a year old and has at least another four years of active service ahead of it. Although many VC-fanatics have tirelessly compiled statistics on how many games were released during the lifetimes of all the respective consoles, it’s unlikely that we’ll see every single one, as many will be withheld due to the fact that they’re bound by long-overdue licensing agreements. Think how many licensed sports titles were published for the Megadrive/Genesis and SNES, for example. The chances of those games appearing on the Virtual Console are slim to none, and that wipes out a huge chunk of each consoles respective back catalogues.

After the initial burst of games during the first 12 months of the Virtual Console it would appear that Nintendo is simply keeping its powder dry and conserving key titles. Look at what we’ve experienced so far; The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Super Mario World, Super Metroid, Starfox 64, F-Zero X…many would argue that we’ve had the cream of the crop in the first year of the Wii’s life, and one has to wonder just how Nintendo is going to fill the upcoming four or five years. When you consider this, Nintendo’s seeming reluctance to release highly anticipated titles like Smash Bros, Super Mario Kart and Pilotwings suddenly makes a lot more sense.

Furthermore, with WiiWare on the horizon it’s only natural for Nintendo to re-assess its position. The two services are bound to compete with each other (after all, there’s only so much spare cash gamers are willing to devote to downloadable content) so it wouldn’t make much sense for Nintendo to flood the market with retro titles when gamers are naturally excited about WiiWare products.

So is the Virtual Console getting a bum deal at the moment? We personally don’t think so; if anything fans of the service have been spoilt. The first 12 months have been spectacular, with some of Nintendo’s greatest retro titles being made available for a very reasonable price. We’ve also had gems like Sin & Punishment, which was previously unreleased in the West. Neo-Geo and Turbografx-16 CD-ROM support also came as a pleasant surprise and with the Master System and C64 recently announced it’s clear that the future of the portal is very bright indeed.

But what do we know? It’s you guys that make this site the force it is, so let us know your viewpoint on the current state of your beloved retro gaming service!

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User Comments (131)



superduper said:

first! i agree, instead of looking forward to other games, let's enjoy the ones we already have!



Bass_X0 said:

However you try to explain it, the fact is that three games we used to get every week and taken for granted is no more. And thats just no good. There's plenty of NES games that aren't licensed and should in theory be able to put on VC. I don't even care about the quality of games - I'd rather have two weeks of three average games each than three weeks of two average games each.



neuzd said:

Some reasonable considerations, Damo.
Your articles about controversial topics are always very objective.



stinssd said:

I respectfully disagree with your thesis, my friend Damo. The water company doesn't supply its service in short bursts and say, "Look at all the water we've supplied so far!" Now, we should verily count our blessings and feel blessed for the VC titles released so far, but Nintendo could still improve the service. Perhaps they might officially announce future titles in a heavily-promoted and organized way to whet the appetite of VC fans. This might inspire them to remain faithful patrons in times of famine such as this.



Damo said:

stinssd - that 'water company' analogy is a very good one, but the water company doesn't really have to worry about its supply running out, does it?

I agree that Nintendo should certainly do more to promote upcoming titles, as Microsoft do with XBLA. At least then people would have something to look forward to - but would it result in less sales as people hold back their Wii points?



stinssd said:

Damo, you're right in saying that Nintendo does have a limited supply of titles yet to be released. Yet, digital inventory means they will never run out of the titles they have put on the VC "shelf." I fear that Nintendo may unveil the "Nintendo Vault" such as Disney had for its videos some years ago and make certain titles available for a limited amout of time. I don't subscribe to Nintendo Power anymore, but what about promoting upcoming VC titles in features in their magazine and on their website? As for holding onto points, I generally don't buy points unless there is something I am already waiting for to show up on the VC--at least this way I would be more hopeful my desired title would materialize. But, I do see the other side you describe, Damo.



stinssd said:

I wouldn't be opposed to having only one new VC title each week, assuming (1) if it is a surprise, it is worth the wait, (2) if it is not a surprise, it has been heavily promoted, or (3) it is specifically a more rare or previously unavailable title (such as Sin and Punishment). It does seem that Nintendo has a strategy for certain titles, for example not releasing the SNES Super Mario All Stars until they have had time to sell copies of the individual NES titles. But for the most part, their strategy remains a mystery with me. Thanks for your insights into the process, Damo. A little discussion makes the wait more enjoyable.



DJ_Triforce said:

I always felt the same way when people were complaining about the games. I'm actually glad that you wrote this. It's very true. The only game that I was really disappointed with was Operation Wolf being release without Zapper support. Oh well...

And you see, that's the beauty of Nintendo... it has a history, a real history, and hundreds of games under it's belt. Once again, another reason that it will always out beat XBOX and Playstation. Cheers, Nintendo!



kilgore2345 said:

One other thing to consider is not only cost to license games, but to have them registered with the appropriate certifiers (ESRB, etc.). Apparently this is very costly and Nintendo loses money on those games that don't get downloaded just on this aspect alone. If you look at the top downloads month after month, they are the Mario games. There is very little movement amongst the other titles in popularity - good or bad, a lot of retro games are just too obscure to make a profit.



Sharecrow said:

I don't think I'll ever be really caught up with the virtual console in terms of finishing available games I want to play and I agree, Damo! Well said.



Will said:

You have given us a lot to think about. yeah maybe I moan a bit on individual releases, but to take a step back and look at the big picture, I think we are fairly spoilt



Damo said:

I didn't write the feature to have a dig at anyone though, let that be known. I just wanted to put a bit of perspective on things, because it is easy to lose sight of the fact that the Virtual Console is a brilliant service.

Expect a lot more of these 'talking point' features in the future...



Tim said:

Except for the licensing issues behind vc titles there shouldn't be any slow down reason. They are not spending the time to remake the game in any way. They're simply letting us legally download the ROM and emulate it.

I honestly think a company like Sega would love to dump all their genesis games on the system all at once and Nintendo is holding them back. Sega could care less if Nintendo runs out of releases for Mondays and Fridays, but every game that Sega doesn't have available on the system is a game they won't get cash from and we all know Sega loves to milk money out of their old franchises.



Bonesaw said:

First off, comparing the VC to the XBLA is comparing apples to oranges. The VC is specifically designed to inherit a vast library of pre-existing games, that should be a piece of cake to port over. The XBLA relies more on new games specifically created for the 360.

The VC today does not reflect how it was originally marketed. Nintendo lied and that's all you should need to hear as a consumer. There was never any talk about licensed games being a problem tor a downturn in release frequency. It was marketed as "play all you favorite classic games." I even remember the number "three" marketed as the amount of games released per week. Not "one" or "two" Either way, you can make excuses for Nintendo, but that doesn't change that the fact that the majority of fans are extremely disappointed at this point and have good reason to be. Nintendo knows it and has done nothing to accommodate the problem. That should tell you something too.

At this rate, even if the Wii lasts another five years, there is no way the VC will capture the majority of good games on all those consoles.



Lwaad said:

I completely agree. A big reason why I bought the Wii was because of how many amazing titles the VC had. There are some favorites still out there, but I'll be content for quite some time.



stinssd said:

Bonesaw, I agree with what you're sayig as the intent of the service was to sell retro games to retro gamers. I also see Damo's point: there is a limited supply of titles, and a limited supply of quality titles in the queue.

To be fair, I haven't bought a single other Wii game made for my Wii. I have Wii Sports, but that's it. My library of games on the Wii consists of that and VC titles. VC always seemed to gamers like a legal and moral alternative to roms and emulation on PC. For all the legal fuss Nintendo put up in the last decade concerning illegal rom sites (and they were entitled to their complaints as holders of intellectual property) I am amazed that the service isn't living up to its potential.

That being said, I have good faith that Nintendo will deliver on what it has in the works. I have yet to be disappointed in a Nintendo project (exception: Virtual Boy) and hope that Nintendo has something waiting in the wings, like an improved delivery of quality titles on the VC. Perhaps Nintendo will learn from the example of the old Sega Channel. I haven't given up hope yet.



Kenryoku_Maxis said:

This article hits on many of the reasons I felt they might be slowing down with the VC. But I would hope that they would either start putting on more games, even 'crappy' ones like 'Mario Teaches Typing' as space filler if they have nothing else to put that week to get more titles out.

But if they indeed are not able to get enough third parties to produce three titles a week, then that might be the reason they are slowing down and adding more consoles.



Drizzt said:

It's true. But it makes me wonder how much longer we'll have to wait for Majora's Mask.



stinssd said:

I'd take Damo's talking points over Bill O'Reilly's any day. Why? The focus on retro games! (I could do without the comparison to being a crybaby, though, Damo! )

There's an expectation that Nintendo will somehow improve retro titles, add additional functionality (such as Wiimote support for NES Duck Hunt), or release certain titles of our youths. We have expectations because we know the potential of the VC service. The problem with expectations is that it leads to disappointment. It is much better, to apply Damo's theme, to be happy with what we have received than to be disappointed. It's a decent idea to practice pushing down our expectations for awhile to see if Nintendo will surprise us during the next nine months.



Rapadash6 said:

You make an excellent point about licensed games, and it's one I always try to make aware to other VC fans stressing over the current release rate. Once you take those out of the equation the list of viable titles becomes a lot less demanding on the time frame in which these would potentially be released. I also agree that it's likely Nintendo is scaling back on VC releases because they don't want them to take attention away from impending Wiiware releases, which makes perfect business sense. I must admit I've squabbled over the VC situation in the past but once I stepped back to see the big picture, I found that the truth of the matter is, between the excellent Wii and VC titles already released, to be released and Wiiware on the way, there really isn't much to complain about. There is plenty to play on the Wii and much much more on the way. Viva la Wii!!



Golgo said:

"One has to wonder just how Nintendo is going to fill the upcoming four or five years. When you consider this, Nintendo’s seeming reluctance to release highly anticipated titles like Smash Bros, Super Mario Kart and Pilotwings suddenly makes a lot more sense."


Hell, given their sky-high profits at the moment they could always take the radical step of investing in some new IP?!
(I'm not talking about the VC here, of course.)



Shiryu said:

I have no complaints relating to this issue, because less games per week = less need to recharge Wii Points.

I do have the same issues I had the day I bought the Wii (December 8, 2007): Wii VC games are too expesnive, LCD TVs are not suited to run then without some sort of graphical filters and its a slap in the face we PAL gamers are getting PAL versions of the games we love and own.

It's an amazing service for us, retrogamers, but one that could use some overhaul. It's time Nintendo start to take notice of the public voice.



Herandar said:

@ Bonesaw: I take issue with your assertion that "the majority of fans are extremely disappointed at this point and have good reason to be. Nintendo knows it and has done nothing to accommodate the problem. That should tell you something too."

I think the majority of Wii owners are playing their Wiis and buying more Wii games. My local GameStop still never has any Wiis in stock, because they are all sold the morning that they are delivered. Nintendo does not know that most of their fans are disappointed.

Your average Wii owner doesn't even need to worry about space running out on the internal memory. Even Smash Bros. doesn't take up much more than 5% of the memory, though it does take up about 128 times as much space as say, Mario Galaxy or Twilight Princess.



bacchus said:

Personally I find the drip feeding of vc games unbelievably infuriating.
What possible idiotic misguided justification does anybody have for preferring the slow release of games to having them all released immediately? Is it because we can't manage our own gaming habits? Is the problem that we would all buy our favourite games within a few weeks and then after 6 months be faced with the horrific prospect of buying games which we are less keen on? Is it somehow better to have to wait 3 years for our favourite game than it is to have the option of buying it from that get go? I cannot disagree more with Damo! Nintendo does not have to worry about the supply running out. If they had released 1500 vc games on day one and then didn't release a single other vc game for the wii ever then I would be perfectly happy.

The only possible reason that I can imagine Nintendo has for this infuriately strategy is they they think they can screw more money out of people by getting people to buy the inferior games in certain franchises by releasing the crappier games first. Nintendo probably thinks it can make 3 times as much money out of Street Fighter 2 by releasing the worst versions first. I doubt this works though. I bet most people who bought world warriors are not going to buy the new challengers. Instead they are just keep playing world warriors and be annoyed that the new challengers wasn't released first.

The same goes for other series. A single megaman game is probably sufficient for most peoples vc collection. So those gamers who bought megaman 1 when it was the only game available are unlikely to supplement it with megaman 2. They will just keep playing the inferior game. The only people who would buy both are the fans of the series who would have bought both regardless of how they were released.

I think Nintendo should realise that they are competing against homebrew emulators. While most people don't want to setup mame boxes or hack their playstations or wii's to play illegal roms, it starts to become tempting when it is the only option for playing those games. The vc has made me really nostalgic and has brought back memories of loads of games. I'd love to play Alien 3, Bionic Commando, Demon's Crest, Double Dragon, Earthworm Jim, Equinox, Faxanadu, Gods, Iron Sword, Out of this world, Populous, Strider, Street Fighter 2010, Snake's Revenge, Snake Rattle 'n Roll, Street Racer, Super Starwars, Trojan, and loads of games like that again. However the only way to do so is to hunt down those games on ebay or to either play the games illegally with an emulator.



Tim said:

"...they can screw more money out of people by getting people to buy the inferior games ... by releasing the crappier games first." (bacchus)

LOL. Street Fighter II popped up in my head when I read that. Haven't bought any yet, maybe after I get some other games I have been waiting for.



Bonesaw said:


Look around at the forums. When I say "fans" I am talking about VC fans. Out of those of us who bought a Wii primarily for the VC, I think it's safe to say that the majority is disappointed.



Jon2 said:

I agree with Bonesaw and bacchus. If Nintendo released 3 games a week for the next five years that would count 780 games. There is a lot more than 780 games out there for the current machines on the VC.
As for licenses, there is no problem. Nintendo has the recourses and the money to pay for those as long as the title is not connected to Sony or Microsoft. This policy works fine for Microsoft and Nintendo is neither short on money or recourses.



Ness012345 said:

I mostly agree with the article, save for the Xbox Live Arcade comment. People need to remember that the Xbox Live service isn't just geared towards putting out games for people to download. It encompasses new content for 360 games, a means of communication, online play, and others. The Xbox Live Arcade is only a small part of Xbox Live in general, so no, it's not going to get all the attention as the Virtual Console. Also, as the article stated, and which I found to be a wee bit hypocritical of the argument, is that the Xbox Live Arcade consists of primarily of new or remade titles, similar to the Wii ware, so obviously it's going to have less things available for download than the VC.

Another point to make is that NONE of the Virtual Console games are new. They are simply direct ports of the originals. Only Sin and Punishment has been dramatically altered for an English release. It takes far less effort to directly port something than it does to start something from scratch, so there's really no excuse for Nintendo or it's 3rd party partners for slowing down their release numbers.

The truth of the matter is that Nintendo is taking advantage that they more or less have a monopoly with these Virtual Console titles, and now with a nice pay roll from it, really have no incentive to continue releasing quality titles, three by three.



wii-c-kid said:

I've made my point about this all too often. Regardless of the Wii's life-cycle (which I agree will have an absolute maximum of 5 years) the range of games available to current and future consoles simply negates any argument over availability, regardless of licensing issues.

I don't think the problem with VC is lack of quality and quite honestly, the current quantity is admirable. My issue is the two-fold:

1) One/two game weeks don't offer much choice.
2) Much of the content on the VC doesn't venture much beyond generic platformers, beat-em'ups and shoot-em'ups (and to a lesser extent RPGs - although weak ones) Whilst there are SOME games in other categories like sports and racing they are few and far between and generally the quality leaves a lot to be desired.

The problem is that (1) compounds (2) and vice-versa. Choice is good as is variety and when people have neither they eventually stop buying.

I cannot see WiiWare being to blame for the lack of VC titles earlier this year either. Sure, whilst Nintendo may want us to save some pennies up for WiiWare, games for the service will arrive less frequently and won't demand a huge amount of extra cash. Sure we should get quite a few games when WiiWare releases but very few hold interest for me, I doubt that will be much different for many people.

The VC was very important for Nintendo last year as it kept people paying and playing whilst native games took their time to arrive. It shouldn't be any different this year. The games we expect and their release rates won't change and it would be naive to believe that WiiWare could keep us all going to the same extent that the VC did.



marktheshark said:

@ baccus: If they just dump all the good games in the get-go. People would just buy the best games and not care about all the other ones. Learn how buisness works before you say something like that again.



lordbowser said:

"Are Virtual Console gamers crybabies?".
I'm pretty sure we're all cranky old men who just want our games.

On topic I half agree with the article but they do need to dish out the goods so people with smaller budgets such as myself have more things to play.



AlphaNerd01 said:

Am I the only one who thinks that the VC is better utilized when it brings us obscure titles that we couldn't possibly either A) afford in it's original form or be B) be available in our region?

Sin & Punishment, possibly my favorite Wii VC game, is the perfect example. A lot of the best games on the Wii VC right now are games that you can get either on compilations or on a GBA cart. If I had to choose between owning a physical copy of a game, or downloading it to me Wii (which has limited space mind you), I'd always choose the former.

So the games I think we all appreciate fall into those two previously mentioned categories. Problem is, how many games that fall into those two categories can you list off the top of your head? (Something that fulfills both category A and B is Gleylancer for the Genesis, coming soon.)

So, much like a retro compilation, Nintendo has to release "filler games." Games we don't want. I think the amount of those types of games are readily available. Remember back when we got three games a week? How many weeks did all three games excite you; or even get you to download all three?

So what are we upset about exactly? Are we upset that we're not getting three games a week anymore, or are we just (still) upset that we're not getting those select few games we really want, like Super Mario RPG, Super Smash Bros., ect.? I'd have to say that it is the latter. Just the lack of game releases highlights that complaint.

Sorry about the long post, just wanted to get my point across in a clear, concise manner.



Bensei said:

I have nothing against poor release weeks, what really bugs me are games that are or were announced in any form but haven't been released yet like SMRPG or the Wii release title Duck Hunt



Kawaiipikachu said:

Good for you to write this article Damo .
Twice a week i keep reading the complaints from people .
What you said explains most of what i was trying to say all the time .

While i haven't download any titles for a while but i'm still just as happy .
With this article hopefully it change the minds of some people & realised theres nothing to complain about other than lack of storage memory .

So in the future expected me to download some more titles both VC & WiiWare & i be just as happy



Jupiter_Adept said:

I really don't care for 3 games a week. As long as we get a good, long game every month or so, it's fine.



Matrix101 said:

Hi all. Interresting point of view Damo. However, I just have enough space left for Mario Kart (coming soon (?) with MarioKartWii I hope). I also don't have enough time unfortunatly to play all the games downloaded right now.
So for me, I just don't download anything more 'cause I don't want to play "swap the SD card", and I won't download any WiiWare game of course, for the same memory space reason. It's a little off-topic but I'm sure VC fans are facing that annoying space memory problem. After all, the solution is easy: stop downloading. Thus I may find time to play already downloaded games. Sorry bigN, release a storage solution and I'll start pumping again VC titles...
One last thing: I'm waiting for the N64 memory cartridge emulation, to be able for example to have ghost support for MarioKartN64!!!



djshep1973 said:

Great article, couldn't agree more. It seems to me that, really, the Wii has more relevant issues to contend with, certainly with regard to the VC and the forthcoming WiiWare content - storage space!

As it is, I already have lots of great VC games that I'm more than happy to keep playing, while I watch and wait for other titles that interest me to come along!



stinssd said:

In doing the right, legal, moral thing--that is, not using roms or emulators--we are often paying again for a license of a game which we already own. It would be nice of Nintendo to permit us to download games for free (gratis) on the Wii that we already have a license for, but they're wanting to squeeze every last Mushroom Kingdom Gold Coin they can. Ah, capitalism.



MasterMario said:

4 years is a long time for the virtual console service. I bet Nintendo and other develepers will suprise us in the future.



KCar said:

While licensing is an issue that limits what we may see in the near future, I don't think it's accurate to say that the pool of games available to the virtual console is in any danger of drying up. When we consider the sheer number of systems that the VC currently has available, and the almost ludicrous number of individual games in that pool, to argue that we are facing an imminent shortage is sort of untenable. There's a lot of room for growth; I think the problem here is that companies require a certain "showcase" period for what they do release: who would even consider something like "Lunar Pool" if the VC was flooded with more high profile, more attractive games?

While I can understand this, I do think that the slow release schedule is artificial, imposed, and as far as possible releases are concerned, unnecessary. It is beneficial for those companies who HAVE released games, especially lesser known ones without the kind of market clout a first party NES title.

That being said, I think it's promising that "import" titles are being released - I wasn't familiar with DoReMi Fantasy, and am excited to have the opportunity to play through it. However, it would be nice to see some efforts made towards localization - the legitimization of fan translations is an extremely pleasant pipe dream, for instance.

Also: I'd kill to see Recca on there. Woohoo.



agent_lime said:

i'm glad you got it cleared up that the people from the other systems have to do their part too. Maybe everyone can stop saying NINTENDO is lazy.



rman0099 said:

Its all marketing. People need to look at this logically and from Nintendo's perspective. They are not going to release mass quantities of VC games, especially popular ones, when big game releases are upon us. Look at what has just been released: Mario and Smash Bros. These are probably 2 of Nintendo's largest titles and Mario Kart is coming next month. Nintendo wants people to buy their Wii titles since that is where the bulk of their money comes from. If people are off buying mass amounts of Wii points for awesome retro games, then they will be short the cash to buy their major titles.

Its all a pattern. We saw simliar situations when big titles were going to be released on the VC. Nintendo would release low tier games that may get a few buys, and possible back off to 2 releases for a week or 2. Then we were hit with a top shelf VC title. But that was back when ALL we had was the VC. Now with Nintendo's headline titles coming back to back, we will see a drought. Probably a month or 2 after Mario Kart is released the VC releases will pick up and redeem themselves. People have to remember that the VC is the second priority for Nintendo since there isn't as much profit made per game sold.

So what did we learn? Big upcoming releases = drought in VC. VC is like the ocean; at times it will surge and other times it will receed a bit. Just wait it out till our next wave. As was stated in the story, we have already gotten some real gems, why not enjoy what we have instead of acting like Nintendo always has something that they owe us? I'd love to see River City Ransom and Bionic Commando on VC, but I'm not spamming every week that Nintendo better get the move on to release them.



StarDust4Ever said:

Hmmm, I have something to add to this mix - The more stuff you possess, the less satisfied you are with it, and the more dissatisfied you are with what you don't possess. This would explain why many of the world's rich and famous are underneath very miserable people. Lately, I've noticed I am spending more time online researching Virtual Console titles than the time I spend playing them.

The other night, I found great joy in playing DoReMi Fantasy for just 25 minutes. I probably had much more fun during those 25 minutes of playing than I have found moping around the VC Reviews/Forums listening to people rant and complain. I wholeheartedly agree with the article Damo has posted. If the people who frequent this website would just cool down and play their games for what they are [games], then they will forget about waiting, and the long trip will be joyfully spent playing the games they have, rather than complaining about all the games they have not

P.S. - Kudos to the dad that has to change that boy's diapers



Virus said:

Wow, first congratulations Damo for making this truly a talking point. It would be a lie for me to say I haven't been pissed at Nintendo for lessening the flow of games onto my VC, but I've also been waiting to hear exactly what your article said. With the WiiWare coming in, it's not surprising the VC is losing its bountiful amount of weekly games because to do otherwise, to keep the amount and add weekly (or not) WiiWare games is ludicrous. Although it may be the gamer's heaven, it would be by no means a smart financial move. Like you said, Damo, gamers only have so much money, a fact I know more than I'd like. I'll gripe and groan every week, but I'll still recognize Nintendo is doing something smart.



Turnip_Knight said:

Speaking of business practices, it doesn't help to call your faithful readers crybabies. I check this site every week because I anxiously await a handful of titles to be announced (Super Mario RPG, Majora's Mask... Banjo-Kazooie someday?). No one cares about Spelunker or Super Turrican, and none of the upcoming Wiiware games I've seen look even halfway decent, so people who follow VC updates have fair reason to moan when several months go by without any really great games coming out. Nintendo seems to do a pretty good job of spacing out their good in-house games throughout the year so people don't get too bored or too overspent. Why can't they do the same with the VC?



whalleywhat said:

The reason I continue to complain about VC's release schedule is that for the longest time I couldn't see any non-crass reason for the release schedule to be drying up the way it is. Stuff like "there's already a lot of games" and "Nintendo can only do so much" just seems like apologies when it seems like they only need to sort out licensing issues and store a rom on a computer. Also, I like RPGs, action games and platformers, and don't really care for shoot em ups, beat em ups and racing games, while VC's selection has been slanted towards those types of titles. With the pricing scale the way it is, obviously 800 points for A Link to the Past or 1000 points for Starfox 64 are a good deal, but this doesn't hold up for MANY of the lesser titles.
Still, I recently found out that it costs money to get an ESRB rating, or from one of the other rating groups, and it might actually cost a lot of money. For the first time, this is an explanation that makes sense to me. While it seemed to me like there was no overhead of printing copies of a game and distributing it to stores, there is a major hidden cost that didn't exist when the games were originally released. If this is the case, I'm still unhappy living in NA with no Mega Man 2, but at least I'm no longer baffled about the reasons. If Nintendo could be less secretive and quit hiding their motives behind BS marketing speak, I'd have way less reason to complain.
But I still wanna play my favourite games.



E-dawg said:

Good points, but it still doesn't explain the lack of Nintendo 64 games.



Tim said:

"The system will likely become obsolete in 4 years; that is, Nintendo will likely release their next-gen system by then."(Clayfrd)

The way the wii is right now this will be my first and last Nintendo system. There is hardly any games on it catered to my likings and I am not looking forward to seeing the HiDef versions of the existing and yet to be shovelware.



Nathan said:

I have always been a Nintendo loyalist, and I am grateful for the content that they have provided so far. The VC service was a very exciting prospect for me... being able to play all my lost, sold, and nearly forgotten memories (not to mention many unplayed gems released on other machines) on one console seemed very appealing. And it still is... Give Nintendo a chance, they have been doing well. Although, I have been disappointed with one game releases. However, that would be due to reasons that Damo cited above.



Adamant said:

"No one cares about Spelunker or Super Turrican"

Lots of people care about Super Turrican, because Super Turrican is one hell of a game. What you meant to say was "I've never played Super Turrican, and I'm going to complain about not getting the games I've decided I want rather than giving this game a chance".



Jon2 said:

Maybe a Facebook group would do the trick?
A group that want Nintendo to release more than two games a week.
Anyone joining me?



Cally said:

I can't help but respond to this, because this is clearly about nothing but a business move. And that is to say, I don't mean to "accuse" Nintendo of anything other than knowing full-well how to make the most money.

Correct me if I'm wrong--the ESRB can't rate a piece of software until it's COMPLETE (otherwise you see that "RP" rating pending thing), which is to say, there is no possible way Nintendo (or whoever is responsible) isn't just sitting on the ones that are rated already. And who knows how many are also finished but just aren't rated yet? The "poor Nintendo can only do so much" argument doesn't hold water in light of this fact--this is deliberate, strategic releasing.

Why use prepaid points? Why not announce titles releasing in advance . . . at all, LIKE HUDSON HAS (independently on its site)?! The answer to both of these questions is so that every Monday, our hopes go up for something we've been waiting for, but we might say something like "oh snap, the game I'm waiting for isn't out, but one of these looks kind of cool so I'll download that instead with my leftover points". When Metroid Prime 3 is coming out, Metroid is on the brain, so release it then. Likewise for Super Mario Galaxy. Why are there so many shooters on the VC? How many shooters came out and sold like hotcakes on the 360? They must be popular right now! RPGs are a relatively dangerous proposition, because I could be busy with one that I spent eight bucks on for a long time and ignore the rest. And it isn't holiday season anymore and Nintendo (thank goodness) has in fact discharged most of its most-celebrated software. Though again, this is a smart move, while the VC is fresh on people's minds.

And what would surely happen if Nintendo (whether they are able or not) actually did release the entire library of games on all these consoles at once? Most of us oldsters who knew how to pick the old ones would fish for the titles we knew were the best, sites couldn't re-review them individually like they do (it would take forever), and people who are new to the old stuff would have little idea where to start buying. I for one probably thought twice about some of the games I've purchased if this were the case, though I don't especially regret any that I've gotten.

I guess a couple upshots are that the trickle does get us (1) playing the same games at the same time and therefore on the same page about how we're going old-school and (2) yes indeed, it is directing people's attention toward titles they may have overlooked.

To restate my point, I firmly believe it's good to complain to let Nintendo what we really want. Only once (as far as I know, in the United States) did Nintendo release just ONE title in a week and this made people absolutely nuts, and Nintendo hasn't done it since. Whether we're "crybabies" or Nintendo is truly out to get us isn't the point. The point is, Nintendo is doing what businesses do--making money. And we're doing what consumers do: make feedback loud and clear; crybabies are good for both sides. Because of my aforementioned points (most of which I don't see room for dispute, unless someone knows something I don't), I find some of the jerking around withholding stuff I've already played and can't wait to drop five to twelve bucks to download--most of these are cheaper to track down used, but the VC is convenient and the emulations are mostly (suitably) superb--feels like a mild case of insult to wallet-nuking injury, though overall I'm elated at the chance to play some old, obscure stuff like Lords of Thunder. I understand why Nintendo is doing things for business reasons, but if we play dead we just aren't going to get what's good for us AND Nintendo (read: our continued business). Some of us hate this, and it's good that Nintendo hears about the fact.

Again, the ESRB thing is, I'm pretty sure, proof that Nintendo is in fact sitting on finished re-releases.

Jon: that's the spirit. I'd join.
bacchus: excellent point about the SF2 point. It's impossible to deny what Nintendo was going on there: first the lesser versions to try people's patience and then the better ones later.



Damo said:

"Speaking of business practices, it doesn't help to call your faithful readers crybabies"

I don't recall calling anyone a crybaby...I merely asked the question!



eltomo said:

Waits for Friday
Sees more unhappy comments
I have to say, I'd rather have all my fave games now! But then I wouldn't bother with the VC after that, so this is prob the right step for Nintendo, and whose knows, maybe when WiiWare comes out, Nintendo will start releasing lots of games per week!



slangman said:

I am really impreassed with the amount of great quality titles nintendo managed to put up last year.

Even though things have dried up a bit for the VC there still have been some great hits like Lords of Thunder, Phantasy Star 2, 1800 Snowboarding, Kirby, Street Gangs,Super Turrican,Harvest Moon etc.

Heck this slowdown of releases gives me time to download more titles i didn't get to download last year.



Bass_X0 said:

Heck this slowdown of releases gives me time to download more titles i didn't get to download last year. Yes. I did that too. and obviously they were going to release the early SF2 games first - who would buy them if Super was released first?



tnk4god said:

I totally agree with you, so now can I cry that tetris attack is not out yet?



Eva said:

I'm pretty happy with the VC. There's plenty of great games availible including plenty I missed the first time around. In fact there are great games I haven't downloaded yet because I haven't finished with the ones I've got.
A lot of games have great replay value, but it seems at times that some people just want to collect the games that are released on VC rather than play them.

I suppose my biggest complaint though is people who are only interested in games they've played before. I remember at the start of the VC, there were all these great games coming out but every week there would be someone whinging "rubbish week! I know I already own four copies of it, but I really wish they'd release Ocarina of Time".



Angertron1 said:

Nintendo doesn't want people to fill up their memory too quickly. We'll be down to one VC game a month soon.



Objection said:

That's it! Nintendo is not just spreading out VC to last the system's lifetime-they're doing it to buy time to make the HD! cries hysterical happy tears over this loose possibility



Marvel_Maniac said:

What would be so wrong with the SC releasing every possible game before the Wii's lifetime finishes? What would be so bad about having a full catalogue for people to choose from, 24-7? I don't see the problem. That's actually what I hoped the VC would be when I first heard about it. Making people re-wait for games that have already technically been released is weird enough already, but when the Emulator starts to seem all the more tempting because your favourite game just isn't being released, they may ultimately lose money.



ICEknight said:

"Except for the licensing issues behind vc titles there shouldn't be any slow down reason. They are not spending the time to remake the game in any way. They're simply letting us legally download the ROM and emulate it."
Agreed. They should have released at least all the first/second party, non-licensed games already, there's many missing good games that should be there already.

Also, they're just losing money with these nonsensical delays, since people will be looking for "alternate" ways to play those games not yet on VC. I'll laugh my ass off when somebody manages to make their own emulators work on the Wii and "releases" the whole catalogue (imports included) at once, running at 60Hz in PAL systems, without sound problems, and free of charge.

That's when they'll regret not having released their whole (non-licensed) catalogue from day 1. And they'll be the ones who cry then.

EDIT: And I won't start talking about how all the "imports" except S&P are being left in Japanese, when fan translations already exist for many of them.



Manicfatty said:

@ATRUEZELDAFAN - werd. With the back-catalog of games at Nintendo's fingertips, there is no real reason for the slow-down. Given that they are also tapping limited market releases/imports, there isn't too much fear of running out of games; not when you take into account the (used for example, as I live here) NA releases and viable imports for every system on the NA VC. Add a few other channels (master system, Sega-CD, portables...hell...wouldn't an Intellivision/Atari/ColecoVison Channel be fun? 80's/90's Arcade Channel? Europe's getting C64 too!) There's more than enough love to go around. And what's the worst that could happen? They release every game known to man? What...will that stop people from downloading once everthing's posted? Would people stop going to Libraries if they stopped getting new books? Would people stop renting movies if no more were released on DVD? I doubt it. No...Nintendo is just dragging their feet. And it's very possible that storage has at least a small part in the slowdown. Why put your 'AAA' titles up if fewer people will downoad because they are fed up with full SD cards and system memory. I don't care anyway. I stopped downloading a while ago, and won't start til there's a storage fix. And I didn't die or burst into flames. And no tears either. Ther are so many other games to play.



That_Guy_from_Faxana said:

Maybe I´m spoilt.

From a business point of view Nintendo does the right thing. Releasing games at a slow pace means more people are likely to buy the ones avaliable. Nintendos large stack of unreleased games means that the service won´t have any problems to get new VC games every week for as long as Wii exists on the market.

As a consumer, I can´t help but feel that it could be better. 1-game weeks will always be a disappointment. I hoped the VC was going to be a place with thousands of games from all the world to choose from. Of course, this VC-utopia will never be. We´ll get about 100 games a year, and most of them are already easy to buy second-hand for a cheaper price. In the end a lot of fantastic games will never make it to the VC.

Also, I find it frustrating that the same games aren´t released all over the world. It´s just a matter of making a rom file avaliable on the shopping channel, distribution hardly costs Nintendo & CO anything compared to cartrige releases.

Anyway, there is too much whining on the forum. It´s not constructive in any way and won´t get us any new games. Therefore, these are my last words on this matter.

I´m excited over the fact that new import games are on the way, and it´s also true that I have yet to buy some gems already released. I´ll download Lords of Thunder tonight and be forever happy with VC.



marktheshark said:

Nintendo's doing the right thing. Besides, if you don't like the VC, then don't buy from it. It's that simple and be grateful that there's even a VC in the first place.



Manicfatty said:

@marktheshark - 'Besides, if you don't like the VC, then don't buy from it' - I agree with that part of your statement. That's why I've stopped. The whole grateful thing is a bit much for me, though. In fact, Nintendo's reluctance to revamp the VC system, interface, and address storage has had a rather unexpected effect amongst my gamer friends. I too have made this change. Eschewing the convenience of the VC, we have hooked up all our retro systems and re-established our respective 'rooms of doom'. Rather than hassle with the clunky VC, or wait for a game we could break out of storage or borrow from one another, we have just gone to the source. Someday we'll return to the VC...but no use complaining other than to debate, and interact with fellow gamers on the topic.



Kawaiipikachu said:

It's not release strategy .
It's not lame excuses .
It's because of what this article describes exactly place it's takes time for the ESRB OFLC .ect to rate which cost money in fact i check up on the pricing scheme on OFLC'S site & suprised myself some services cost up to $1500 & after a while the cost would build up with multiple games .



ZueriHB said:

First, the VC is a great way for Wii owners to enjoy classic titles.
It's just sad that the weekly updates (good thank you that we still have those) sometimes consist of only one title. Even XBLA gives you a demo with it.
But my biggest grudge is the difference between American, European and Australian VC (The Japanese one is of no discussion here), but 20 titles less for a 3 week difference?
It would lessen the pain of 1 title weeks if the western world would be treated the same. And not just PAL-Land.

Many thought that Super Smash Bros. would be released with SSBB, and it didn't, I think that's because SSB and SSBB are to similar in gameplay than Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Bros. 3.
But it would be a great way to make customers buy the Wii title after playing the classic.
Also, Nintendo would surely benefit from communicating the upcoming VC-Titles with a release date beforehand, instead of no communication at all (Exception was the Hanubi Festival).



Bass_X0 said:

"i check up on the pricing scheme on OFLC'S site & suprised myself some services cost up to $1500"

So if its an N64 game, they'd only need 215 downloads across America at $7 each to earn their money back providing there are no other costs involved. $1500 isn't that much when you think of how easily and how wide the games are made available to people.



DJ_Triforce said:

I can't believe how ridiculous this has become. It's not a big deal... buy the used cartridges, go on ebay, even amazon has some used classics... use emulators and roms... if not, then hold out and wait.



DEMON212 said:

Part of me's now thinking that it's a real shame that I have Brawl. Because I'd have liked this to have been at the top, but hopefully some people will still read it...

I wanted the Wii solely for the VC and was very happy with it. Now, I'm enjoying the games that I own, and enjoying quite a few of the games that are coming out. But I think 1 game a week is terrible.

Personally, I think I'd rather prefer 4 a month (Meaning rather than weekly updates, monthly updates) because at least then it would almost make it seem like we're getting a decent range of titles each month. It would hopefully also stop everyone complaining on a weekly basis.

The thing is though, while I may look like I'm a whinger for saying that 1 a week sucks, I'm different from most people. As I have actually bought every great VC game from the VC's brilliant back catalogue (Other than Kirby. Can't afford it yet), others haven't.

Which is why it annoys me as much, when someone says "Oh great, yet again there's nothing on the VC for me to buy, I haven't bought a game in 3 months because there's nothing good out".

Now I know everyone's different and all, but tell me when we had a period of 3 months, where we haven't got at least 1! Amazing game?

I have 127 games, I dislike 10. I see people who have 20 and say there's nothing good out. Hell, I see people who have 5 and say that there's nothing good out.

Unless they've played EVERY single VC game that's out, then HOW exactly do they know this? And if they have played them all, THEN JUST WHY THE HELL DID THEY WANT THE VC!

Yes I agree that VC releases QUANTITY wise have been poor, but Q-U-A-L-I-T-Y wise, they've been some of the best weeks we've had. So if this is the way that the VC's gonna stay, then I say bring it on.



Manicfatty said:

@Kawaiipikachu - 'i check up on the pricing scheme on OFLC'S site & suprised myself some services cost up to $1500 & after a while the cost would build up with multiple games'

If you had thrown a number at me like...say...$15,000 dollars, I would agree that it's a factor. But Nintendo has freakin' $1500 dollars in their couch cushions. Good lord...they easily are in the black on a game 15 min after its released Monday morning (US).



marktheshark said:

@ Manicfatty - I agree with the storage and the revamp issues, but please explain what's wrong with the interface.



Manicfatty said:

@marktheshark - Little things that add up. Not being able to arrange channels as you please, limited # of channels displayed; I think it would be nice to access games to reinstate them to a channel from the sd card by simply clicking on a blank channel, and choosing which game to transfer instead of having to go into sub-menus to do so.

Same thing for copying to the SD from a channel or just deleting a channel. There should be, in my somewhat biased 'Mac User' opinion, the Wii equivalent of 'right click', with access to every game, game swap/deletion/reinstatement option. I would even go so far as to say you should be able to 'right click' and have the option to download a deleted game again. Going back to the store, waggling through sub's just messy and unintuitive.

Nintendo is so fond of borrowing Apple's design and ergonomic sensibilities, they should take a look a OSX and other Apple interfaces. Just an opinion. Nintey gets a C+ in interface design. I'm just sayin'



XCWarrior said:

Great column. I just wish there were a few more SNES A titles. I own every system but the SNES out of Nintendo's history (save VBoy which was a piece of **). I want a few more of those classic games to come out. Though like you said, I could use more cash first.

And more time to play the games would be nice too.



The_Indigo_Effect said:

This is a little off topic, but in the latest issue of Nintendo Power I read that SNK is releasing a classics compilation disc with 16 games on it! If I'm not mistaken, that's larger than the NEO-GEO's entire library on the VC. It seems like a strange move to me.



stinssd said:

Damo wrote, "I don't recall calling anyone a crybaby...I merely asked the question!"

Damo wrote for a caption, "Are Virtual Console gamers all crybabies?"

Then, in the article, Damo wrote, "So is the Virtual Console getting a bum deal at the moment? We personally don’t think so; if anything fans of the service have been spoilt."

So, the answer to the question was no, fans are just spoiled rotten?



Adamant said:

" I read that SNK is releasing a classics compilation disc with 16 games on it! If I'm not mistaken, that's larger than the NEO-GEO's entire library on the VC. "

Said collection also includes nearly all the VC Neo Geo games. The only one not included is Blue's Journey.

The 7 VC games excluded, the collection consists of Burning Fight, King of Monsters, Last Resort, Metal Slug, Neo Turf Masters, Samurai Shodown (yay), Sengoku, Shock Troopers and Super Sidekicks 3.



Viral said:

I read about the first 25 posts and thought, good god...I'm not reading them all before I make a note here. Nintendo has got plenty of titles up their sleeves. We have yet to see Fire Emblem on Virtual Console (amen for Wii version keeping me busy). I think the most anticipated titles have to be spread amongst the year evenly, those being the big ones :

Kirby : Superstar Saga
Zelda : Majora's Mask
Super Mario Kart
Super Mario World 2 : Yoshi's Island
Re-release of Super Mario Lost Levels (Europe got hosed that it was pulled off of the VC)
Super Smash Bros.
Goldeneye (it would be a dream come true, for all of us)
Resident Evil 2 (N64, & yes, my display picture is Wesker)

Hey, any of those games are potential, it all depends on Nintendo. Keep a positive outlook on it and maybe we'll get lucky and see these titles sooner than later.



Damo said:

Stinssd - I asked if VC gamers were crybabies, I never actually SAID they were...



Viral said:

Damo, I hear you. And to make my post on number 93 more clearly, I forgot to mention Super Mario RPG intentionally because I honestly don't like Square-Enix anymore...they've turned traitor to franchises...



Kevin said:

@Damo: I don't think we're crybabies, we just have our own individual VC release desires than the next guy and when we don't get what we want immediately or soon we pretty much get really ticked off. Its true I'm not happy not getting vectorman or any of the mega mans yet or the releases recently but that's because nothing has come out lately that I want (Although I have Brawl I will still be downloading VC games so that's to end that arguement). I believe that's the reason for all the moaning. That and I think we sometimes expect WAY too much and get disappointed WAY to easily. Phew That's it for now.



strenny said:

I agree with manicfatty (# 88) - it is rather the technical side than the content of the vc giving the retro fans a reason to complain / cry about. Wouldn't a wii update make a lot of things easier there...
Anyone who thinks that more games should be released is barking up the wrong tree, because the marketing reasons influence the distribution after all. And i'll bet that retro fanboys are a clear minority among all wii users. I would welcome technical changes, like starting games directly from my sd-card or making the interface Mac-alike. Then i would need a miracle to find the money/time to really enjoy playing everything i would like from what is available already.



Turnip_Knight said:

"I asked if VC gamers were crybabies, I never actually SAID they were..."

Given the tone of the article and the above-quoted "spoilt" remark, it was pretty clearly implied. Not cool.



DJ_Triforce said:

You guys are nuts. If you aren't happy with what's been said, then leave, and cry about it. It's not a big deal. We are all spoiled... Nintendo didn't have to release anything at all and they aren't obligated to give us anything. Consider it a gift.



Damo said:

jamesdeadforever - sorry if my 'implied' remark hurt you.

But look on the bright side - you now have something else you can moan about! Bonus!



bacchus said:

Here is a question for those of you who think Nintendo are being financial geniuses by making us wait for vc games. Suppose they did the same for gamecube games. Instead of making the wii 100% backwards compatible from day one; suppose that it was only possible to play 3 gamecube games on release day. Then as each week progressed, 3 more gamecube discs would be unlocked and become readable and playable. This would then be quickly reduced to 1 game a month, because the wii has a 5 year life span and we wouldn't want to run out of games would we? Does that sound smart? Be honest, it's a ludicrous idea and they are doing the exact same thing with the virtual console.

Personally I find it quite hard to come up with good reasons why Nintendo's vc policy makes financial sense. Conventional economic theory dictates that giving customers what they want is more profitable than not giving people what they want.

Would in my hypothetical scenario people buy more gamecube games than they would otherwise? Arguments by others made above would seem to suggest that people would buy all the rubbish gamecube games while they were waiting for games that interest them to become playable. Then when the games they are interested in become playable, they would fork out more money for these as well. I don't know everybody's psyche. However, I don't think it's a very convincing argument. It's more likely that people will just buy other games on other consoles. Then when the games which they were waiting for become available there is always a possibility that they will have lost interest since something more interesting has come along.



ZEIDO said:

Yup, VC Gamers are acting like spoiled Brats!

But, I got to tell you, there's little for me to download over the past two months, other than Turrican.

Look, when we get ARCADE PERFECT Conversions from the likes of Taito, Midway and Capcom..... that's when you'll see a complete revival and explosion in VC downloads.

I NEED Bomb Jack, Buggy Boy, Green Beret, Arkanoid, Outrun in MAME-style arcade goodness.

Any chance of that happening Damo?



Manicfatty said:

@Herandar - Yeah...I just want control over everything, dammit. No limitations. UUUUUNNNNNLIMITED POOOOOWERRRRR! MWAHHHHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Err...sorry 'bout that. heh. Never mind.



Viral said:

They should make games run off my SD card. It'd save me a headache considering you only get 4 screens worth of channels to use. However, Fire Emblem alone would be worth the wait for the Virtual Console. Here's to praying Nintendo releases all Fire Emblems on VC....



uncle_smuck said:

I disagree that Nintendo is using a great marketing ploy. If iam not mistaken many VC users like myself will become bored of the one game a week idea or the lack of (like another comment made) a real quality title on the last month.
Nintendo has released some fantastic games so far but because things are slowing up people like myself are checking for updates less and finaly proberly wont on a regular basis. Its the same with anything...If it becomes too boring people will lose intrest. Or i could be wrong and sitting writing this in a mental home!
OH and i like the VC voting channel idea.



Edwin said:

I believe that Nintendo should be releasing more VC games per week. Even when we were getting three games a week that wasn't enough. Now one or two a week is simply ridiculous.

It has to be astoundingly easy and cheap for Nintendo to put these games out. I think that they're making a big financial blunder by not putting out more games. Simply put, the more games they put out there, the more money they'll make. Now I'm not saying that they should release every single game at once, but an increase to the vicinity of 5-7 games a week would be nice.

I've heard the arguments that Nintendo will make more money if they release bad games first so that people will buy them while they're waiting for better games, but just speaking for myself, this policy doesn't work. I have only bought the games (22 of them so far) that I really wanted from the beginning.

And I suspect (and I know that there will be a few exceptions) that the majority of the people who are saying that we VC-gamers are spoiled are the people who haven't downloaded as many games as I have and are just less interested in the VC in general.

So Nintendo, if you're listening, please release more VC games so that your most loyal customers, like myself, who have owned all five of your consoles will be appeased. Finally, I know Nintendo doesn't "owe" us anything, but it would sure be nice.



Bass_X0 said:

is it being a crybaby to complain about the lack of NeoGeo games? A good start then nothing for three months! Agh!



Snyderman said:

I've been following the comments posted for this and I just have to say, as much as I like the idea of the Virtual console, its problems are many. I've been reading this site for some time and only recently registered but I had to talk about the topic. There are a lot more things wrong with the Virtual console than simply the fact that we're now getting 1 or 2 games rather than 3 weekly. Since I don't feel like elaborating on every point in great detail, I'm just going to list them in bullet point format.

-Cumbersome interface that makes navigating the store difficult
-No way of communicating with Nintendo at all regarding user feedback
-Hardly any internal storage and no means of rectifying it (an expandable HDD wasn't such a new concept even in 2006)
-No upcoming release schedule
-No downloadable demos or trials of games
-Useless releases like Operation Wolf and Puyo Puyo 2. Really? Another Puyo Puyo game... that costs extra?
-Next to no effort done to update or even preserve features like time trial and tutorials in some N64 games.
-Similar lack of effort in localization. (DoReMi Fantasy)
-Lack of competitive pricing.

To elaborate on the preservation of features, an example is the tutorial in Zelda: OoT. It was updated in the Zelda pack for GC, but here still uses the "press the Z button and C buttons... etc". And the lack of time trial data which required an external memory card... so?

It's not like people can't find reviews or gameplay footage or some way to evaluate the games, but they've made it very difficult without going to outside sources. I'm old enough to know that games like Super Turrican are great, but when I get an email in my inbox saying go to to see gameplay footage of the game, whoopee. I can hardly glean anything from the information Nintendo gives me. Let's not forget that the Virtual Console portion of the website doesn't even list all of the games available.

The lack of competitive pricing also really bothers me. Not every game is worth the same amount. I know they're taking the "iTunes" approach, but steam has done digital distribution so much better. Games vary in price over time. Heck, even iTunes offers discounts for buying albums (a parallel here would be say buying all three Ninja Gaiden games might cost 12 instead of 15).

It's a shame because there are some things that the VC does very right. Releasing games for NON-Nintendo platforms is great, and even less popular ones like the TG-16 (which had some amazing games) and some less common games for popular platforms (like Super Turrican, Cybernator, Alien Soldier and Beyond Oasis, all great games).
Oh well, it's not like my opinion will get heard up in those ivory towers of theirs.



Herandar said:

Then as each week progressed, 3 more gamecube discs would be unlocked and become readable and playable. This would then be quickly reduced to 1 game a month, because the wii has a 5 year life span and we wouldn't want to run out of games would we? Does that sound smart?

@bacchus - No, that sounds like the XBOX360's backwards compatibility.



Bass_X0 said:

Synderman, you make it sound like Nintendo as a business should be as family friendly as the games it makes. Its not and as much as it should be, it never will. The big bosses (such as Hiroshi Yamauchi)have always been known to be cold hearted, stony faced businessmen who place priority in making money way above the wants of its customers. When have they ever done something out of the goodness of their hearts when they don't have to unless they can charge for it?

I'm not defending Nintendo and I'm with you on all that they "should" do, but I've come to realise that Nintendo is strictly a business and not the magical game-making wonderland people seem to think it is.



MasterMario said:

I just thought of it and it really woudn't matter if there was one virtual console a week because there will be wiiware games soon and over 100 games to be released.



ICEknight said:

"I have 127 games, I dislike 10. I see people who have 20 and say there's nothing good out. Hell, I see people who have 5 and say that there's nothing good out. Unless they've played EVERY single VC game that's out, then HOW exactly do they know this?"
I've really played almost all of them already, and I'm sure there's many people like me... There's really less than 20 games from the VC catalogue that I'm interested in, and thus I'm still waiting for games like Yoshi's Island.
"And if they have played them all, THEN JUST WHY THE HELL DID THEY WANT THE VC!"
To... play again those we really enjoyed? It's quite simple, really.

"You guys are nuts. If you aren't happy with what's been said, then leave, and cry about it. It's not a big deal."
If you still haven't noticed, here's where everybody is supposed to post their oppinions. If you don't like them, that's fair enough, but nobody's leaving. =P



DJ_Triforce said:

ICEknight, I understand what you're saying, and I agree that this is the place to voice your opinions, but what I don't understand is that people are attacking Damo because he asked if we were all "crybabies"... which was a joke, of course... and people are blowing everything way out of proportion. This whole thing has become ridiculous. And know, ICEknight, that I truly meant no offense by what I said, nor do I mean to offend by what I'm saying now.



stinssd said:

Damo wrote, "Stinssd - I asked if VC gamers were crybabies, I never actually SAID they were..."

I know. I was just asking a question too.

Damo, you're a funny guy and a good writer. Thanks for the good talking point--it certainly has brought up some good conversation from the community.



ICEknight said:

"what I don't understand is that people are attacking Damo because he asked if we were all "crybabies"... which was a joke, of course"
I don't think they're serious about it, either way... And if they are, they're just crybabies. =P



timewarpgamer said:

First off, Damo, great article. I agree that there are some awesome games on the VC, and it has been an incredible 12 months. What bothers me about VC releases in general, though, is that Nintendo originally advertised the service as a "best of" collection of retro games. Unfortunately, it has become a dumping ground for very mediocre and terrible games (i.e. Operation Wolf, Urban Champion, Ecco Jr.) as well as the great ones. This really dilutes the quality of the library as a whole and makes wading through the choices particularly dangerous for people who are new to video games, as many Wii owners are. For more info on retro gaming, I encourage you to check out Time Warp Gamer, where you'll note that surprisingly few top games for VC supported consoles have been released relative to the overall VC library.



WoRMaSTeR said:

As a customer I want more games and by all math it should easily be possible (they are propably going to add more consoles and even the existing ones have plenty to support 5 years of 3 a week releases). Of course Nintendo gains more money by doing it this way (people tend to buy the best thing available), so if you appreciate Nintendo gaining more money then you can be happy with the situation.

And please stop complaining about bad games. You don't have to download them? It is still nice to have a choice to download them, even the worst of the worst are someones childhood favorites.

The best thing in my view would be to realease everything as soon as it becomes available, you know just like in the real world. It pisses me off Nintendo is holding back games just for profits and there is no way around that fact.



Viral said:

I wish Nintendo would release games that my family and I played when I was originally 5 (the original NES days). Faxandu was a game my dad played and I haven't played, which I wanted to for a long time. Some games like Adventures of Lolo are classics for me because I used to rent that game and when the damn cartridge didn't work, you'd have to blow in the NES and the game and even do some magic trick to get the game to work. lol At least we don't have to do that with the Wii's downloadable games. The only downside to playing some of these games is that games like Castlevania are insanely difficult, even compared to these days' games. I mean, Castlevania is ridiculously harder than Super Mario Galaxy in my opinion. I've completed it with all stars (Mario & Luigi's both) and still haven't finished Castlevania.



WoRMaSTeR said:

Let me clarify why Nintendo is getting more money this way as some people here don't seem to understand. Most of the people (not hardcore gamers) just decide to go to the VC and buy a game. They choose the game that pleases them most at the time, they don't care what isn't available, they buy what is available. If everything would be available straight away people would just buy the games they really want and no sub-bar games would sell at all.

Many people just go to the what is new section and just buy a game, they don't read reviews so really they just get what pleases the eye at that time. You seem to think everybody who buys from the VC is a hardcore gamer. If it were true then your hypothesis for everyone just waiting for what they want would be true, but as it is far from the truth you are wrong.



Viral said:

Wormaster, you're right in some aspects. I'm a moderate hard core gamer (I'm full time employed for cryin' out loud) and I have a daughter and wife. I used to be gaming 5 hours a day minimum. Now, I'm lucky if I get 30 minutes to play ANY game at all. That's why some games on the VC are not so appealing to me and some are. Games where I can pick up the controller and mindlessly finish a level (Super Mario World) are pleasing because I can finish a world rather quickly. Some games need to be released because they're long overdue in my opinion. I was really unhappy that Nintendo was releasing old games on the GBA awhile back because that means they're milking more money out of old games.



Snyderman said:

Bass X0:

I know, and that's part of what saddens me. I've talked about this with a friend of mine and it's really quite ironic that despite Nintendo's steadfast commitment to being "Family friendly" they're probably the most heavy handed business in the gaming industry.

I think part of it has to do with the fact that Nintendo is primarily a video game company and has little else to fall back on the way Sony and Microsoft do. They make "safe investments" by continually producing underpowered but profitable machines (NES, SNES, GBA, DS, Wii especially). There's nothing wrong with that, because it's obviously worked for them for twenty odd years. They've made some excellent games over the years sure but so have others, but I question their reluctance to introduce even the most commonplace internet capabilities. No offense intended to anyone. All the major console manufacturers do some things right and wrong, Nintendo is no different.



Waxxy said:

I just want to say that the picture of the crying baby in the first panel made me laugh. That's exactly what I see every single time the games are announced for the week and all the whiners start posting about how terrible the games are and how game X will never come out and how Nintendo has let them down personally. Waaaaaaah!



ChocoDK said:

Well I think that a ton of classics did come out the first year and Nintendo doesn't want to use up all its amo in the first years. The Gamecube did die before the Wii was released due to the titles on it. I guess right now Nintendo figures that they want to space out the good releases. We are getting Mario Kart Wii and Wii Fit soon and SSBB (for the Europeans and people from Australia later on). And with Wiiware Nintendo doesn't want to dump so much on the gamer that they can't afford everything or have to much to play.

The first year for the Wii was excellent interms of sales but I think Nintendo is thinking about the future and who knows how long the WIi will have its ride. So I guess they want to have a plan for later down the road which makes sense. I do agree with your post though Damo although I do whine but it saves me money with bad releases =P.



ODOGG618 said:

All Nintendo cares about is the bottom like, just like anybody else. If it's more profitable to release 2 turds a week rather than 3, of course they will. They want the profits to be as high as possible as long as possible....and so would you if it were your company. I hate the way they do it because they don't act with the consumers' interest in mind, but it's kept them alive which means we still get to enjoy new mario games i suppose.



arobo21 said:

no excuses. no need to dumb down the amount of games we get.
...and the quality
all ive wanted since VC came around was mario 3, zelda OoT, goldeneye, and super mario kart. after a year and a half, i have 2 of 4. sad



TBoneTony said:

I know for the fact that because of the crappy Europe Translation issues of the past, it is going to take a while for Square Enix to translate such games like Super Mario RPG, Final Fantasy 6 and Chrono Trigger onto the VC



SuperTarin said:

I agree. They're probably waiting to release Super Mario Kart so that it can coincide with the forthcoming Wii installment anyways. And like Damo said, we've got time.



Bland_Boy said:

"16. Bonesaw" said that the marketed amount was 3 per week.

Maybe that's an "on-average" amount.
Cause, in Australia the average amount per week at the moment
is sitting at around 3.2.
Even though, as of late we've only been getting around 1 crappy game.

EDIT: Still waiting on some more of the "good" games to be released though.
When are games like "It Came From The Desert" and "Universe" and "waxworks",
coming to the VC?

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