Talking Point: Why No Plans for GBA on 3DS Virtual Console?

If the Ambassadors are getting them, why not everyone else?

It's been a few weeks since the first half of the Ambassador Programme titles hit 3DS consoles everywhere, and now we're getting more anxious than ever for the upcoming ten from the Game Boy Advance line-up. So far, Nintendo has announced five of them: Super Mario Advance 3: Yoshi's Island, Mario Kart: Super Circuit, Metroid Fusion, Mario vs. Donkey Kong and WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$. But the company has also announced something that we find confusing and perhaps a bit disturbing: while the NES titles are to become available for purchase on the eShop with improved Virtual Console features, Nintendo currently has no plans to introduce these GBA titles on the same wide scale.

In writing this type of talking point, we try to present both sides of an issue, pro and con, but we're admittedly struggling here. Why on earth would Nintendo never put these in the eShop? Why not, after years of Wii owners pining for a Wii Virtual Console release of Yoshi's Island, set back by limitations in emulating hardware chips, allow them to play this classic on the 3DS instead? Why hand out so much sweet, juicy emulation code to early adopters alone? After wracking our brains, we've come up with a few possibilities to mull over and take with a few grains of salt. Hey, practically no one thought that the 3DS would get a Circle Pad expansion either.

Option A: Nintendo really, really loves early adopters.

The Ambassador programme is designed to thank those of us who purchased our 3DS consoles for quite a pretty penny more than those who buy one now and, arguably, twenty retro titles don't exactly amount to the price differential. So, what better way to accomplish this than by never releasing the GBA titles to the wider public? Each Ambassador 3DS would become somewhat of a collector's item, and each owner could very well develop a sense of superiority over their peers ("Peers! Ha!" they would laugh, polishing their 3DS cases). Twenty classic Nintendo titles? About half a hundred bucks. The envy of friends and strangers? Priceless.

Option B: Retail collections

Why release GBA games in Virtual Console form when you're planning to put them on a retail cartridge? With 3D enhancements, and online multiplayer? Maybe even gold encrusted instruction manuals stuffed with money? And Shigeru Miyamoto would hand-deliver every copy? Well, we can dream at least. A retail compilation isn't the least likely thing in the world, but we're not getting our hopes up for many enhancements.

Option C: GBA attachment peripheral in the works


Five and a half inches deep and weighing in at two pounds, the next big thing in 3DS gaming proves that size does matter. At least that's how we imagine the adverts would go. It wouldn't be the first time that Nintendo went crazy with handheld peripherals, but something tells us history won't repeat itself in this instance.

Or will it?

Option D: Nintendo is bluffing

If Nintendo is bluffing, why tell the whole truth about the NES ports and hide the facts about GBA plans? To make the Ambassadors feel temporarily more special? It just doesn't make sense, but neither does keeping the GBA titles from everyone else. We won't be too surprised if the Big N comes out with a big announcement in the next few months, though, confirming the arrival of these titles on the eShop.

That's about all that we can think of, short of suggesting that Nintendo is playing some sort of mind game with us. Do you have any more ideas, or simply want to join us in expressing general confusion? Sound off in the comments below!

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