Nintendo has just lifted the lid on its plans to bring DS games to the Wii U Virtual Console, which means that owners of that particular machine will soon be able to enjoy a library of classic releases from one of the company's most popular formats. The DS has played host to some truly stunning pieces of software since its inception a decade ago, and below we've listed 10 of the games we ideally want to see come to the Wii U. So make yourself comfortable, locate some snacks and cross your fingers and toes — let's hope we see all of these on our GamePad in the fullness of time.
While we continue to hold out hope that one day Advance Wars will make its way to the Wii U in the form of an entirely new outing, this excellent DS sequel will be more than enough to keep us happy for the time being. Days of Ruin — which was known as Advance Wars: Dark Conflict in Europe — is notable for its tonal shift from the breezy nature of Advance Wars: Dual Strike. While the turn-based gameplay and resource management aspects remain in place, the game's setting is grim and foreboding — as should be the case when you're involved in a fight for your very survival. This change didn't go down well with everyone — especially those who found the colourful setting of previous instalments as the perfect tonic for bleak and serious western strategy titles — but few would deny that this is the better game of the two.
The third and final Castlevania title on the DS, Order of Ecclesia takes the "Metroidvania" concept to the next level, allowing you to traverse and explore several different locations instead of being stuck in a single castle — something which was experimented with in the prequel, Portrait of Ruin. Superb visuals, excellent music and hours of challenge make this one of the best instalments in the entire Castlevania lineage. While we're at it, we'd gladly take Wii U Virtual Console versions of Dawn of Sorrow and Portrait of Ruin, too. We're greedy like that.
Dragon Quest may have taken longer to gain popularity in the west than Final Fantasy, but when it did catch on, it did so in style. This critically-acclaimed DS adventure features robust multiplayer functionality and a few major enhancements on the core Dragon Quest gameplay — for example, battles no longer occur randomly and can be avoided if you so wish. Hours of RPG action await, and everything is wrapped up in some sumptuous presentation. On a platform that is blessed with more than its fair share of quality role-playing epics, Dragon Quest IX stands out as a true classic, and one that we cannot wait to experience again on the Wii U Virtual Console.
It just goes to show how popular the DS was that Rockstar chose to bring its controversial Grand Theft Auto series to the system - has there ever been a better example of a title being totally at odds with the target demographic of a games console? While Chinatown Wars was predictably ignored by the millions of younger DS owners, it nevertheless provided top-notch entertainment to mature players. Since ported to the PSP and iOS, the game has aged surprisingly well and would be ripe for rediscovery and reassessment on the Wii U.
With Mario Kart 7 already available on the 3DS and Mario Kart 8 on its way to the Wii U, some might argue that there's little need for this DS prequel to get a new lease of life. However, just as many will counter with the opinion that Mario Kart DS is one of the best entries in the entire series, and the hours the countless the Nintendo Life team has collectively ploughed into the game would appear to support this. The first title in the franchise to offer online play, Mario Kart DS is still incredibly playable even by today's standards, and well worth another look.
Nintendo turned a few heads in 2012 when it decided to release this Pokémon sequel on the DS rather than the recently-released 3DS, but the strategy was a sound one — there were many more DS consoles in the wild at that point, and the backwards compatibility element of the 3DS meant that owners of that console didn't have to miss out. Arguably the last great DS title, Black & White 2 was a fitting swansong for the dual-screen handheld and we're sure it would sell like hotcakes if released on the Wii U Virtual Console — especially with the launch of Pokémon X & Y still fresh in everyone's memory. Let's just hope Nintendo doesn't keep us waiting — lest we forget, there's still no sign of the original Pokémon on the 3DS Virtual Console.
For whatever reason, the DS Zelda entries have been somewhat overlooked in recent years, which is a shame because they're fantastic games. Both make stellar use of the DS touch-screen and offer truly riveting adventures, making them two of the most enjoyable releases on the console. As such, these titles are ideal candidates for reappraisal on the Wii U Virtual Console, and hopefully Nintendo will fast-track (no pun intended) the launch of this second title so we don't have to wait too long to experience it all over again on our trusty GamePads.
Fire Emblem: Awakening has pushed the beloved Intelligent Systems franchise to the forefront of many people's minds, which should mean that this excellent DS title has a good chance of making it to the Wii U Virtual Console in the not-too-distant future. A remake of the very first Fire Emblem title on the Famicom — originally released in 1990 — Shadow Dragon isn't perhaps quite as polished as other instalments, but it's still a classic slice of strategy RPG action and one which could potentially pave the way quite nicely for a fully-fledged Wii U entry (please, Nintendo).
It's always surprised us that Meteos never really caught on as a puzzle franchise; created by industry legends Tetsuya Mizuguchi and Masahiro Sakurai, the original DS game was a revelation, showing how the touch-screen could drastically change the scope of a puzzler. The Disney-themed sequel was welcome, but didn't really take the concept as far as it could have done, while successive titles appeared on systems without touch-screens — which kind of missed the point of the game's "slide and flick" premise. Sora and Q Entertainment's ground-breaking game sorely deserves a revival, and what better way could there be than bringing the original to the attention of a whole new generation?
One of the games which established the DS as a serious gamer's platform, New Super Mario Bros. was a real breath of fresh air when it hit retail way back in 2006. Nintendo EAD Group No. 4 returned to the roots of the Super Mario franchise, successfully fusing old-school sensibilities with modern twists, such as the iconic Mega Mushroom which makes the Mario or Luigi grow as tall as the screen, and the Mini Mushroom which has the opposite effect. With over 30 million copies sold worldwide since release, it wouldn't do any harm to add a few more downloads to that total by releasing the game on the Wii U — this is almost certain to make an appearance.
Which of those games would you want to see on the Wii U Virtual Console? Be sure to vote in the poll below, and if we haven't listed a DS classic that you want, make sure you let us know by leaving a comment.
Which of our choices would you like to see the most on the Wii U Virtual Console? (870 votes)
Advance Wars: Days of Ruin
Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia
Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies
Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars
Mario Kart DS
Pokémon Black & White 2
The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks
Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon
New Super Mario Bros.
None of the above
Please login to vote in this poll.