The Nintendo Switch has been a hugely successful and profitable system — and we're evidently huge fans of it — so it might seem a tad churlish to highlight areas it could be better. Yet one aspect where the system is arguably lacking is in personality, especially when compared directly to its predecessors. It's missing several features that we'd still love to see arrive into the current generation, many examples of which were highlighted in our recent article of 3DS features that should really be on Switch, with notable mentions being StreetPass and, yes, folders.
This time around, though, we're going to go back further to Nintendo's quirkiest and most successful home console. The Nintendo Switch, after all, does function as a home console for many of us while living in that dock, so we're going to cast our minds back to the trusty Wii and think of features from way back then that we'd like to return. There are more than you might think...
To be fair, the Nintendo Switch sort of has channels in the News tabs, where publishers and developers of all shapes and sizes can share updates and content related to games. What we have in mind, though, are the themed channels that the Wii served up; it's worth noting that technically every app window was a 'channel' on Wii, but we'll be more specific.
Some were no doubt relics of their time that would struggle for significance in the modern era; the Weather Channel being one example, as now everyone simply looks at the nearest phone or tablet for that sort of information. Likewise the Photo Channel; it was a neat thing 15 years ago but with no real purpose today. We also had a soft spot for the Mario Kart Wii Channel, though that's all functionality that would be in the game nowadays.
Yet there are a couple of channels that would be fun as free apps on Nintendo Switch, especially now that Nintendo has suddenly remembered that Mii characters are cool and ported Miitopia from 3DS. Obviously, the Mii Channel itself was a charming hub for creating and viewing the characters, rather than the functionality being buried in settings as it is on Switch.
Then there was the Everybody Votes Channel, which encouraged players to vote with their Miis on assorted topics. On Switch this could be a fun and safe way for gamers of all ages to vote on Nintendo topics, such as choosing between favourite Pokémon, Splatoon outfits, karts from Mario Kart and so on. Login daily or weekly, run around a colourful voting area and earn some My Nintendo Platinum points for voting regularly, as an example.
The Switch already gives us plenty of reasons to play daily with games like Animal Crossing: New Horizons, but these sorts of 'channels' could add a little extra entertainment each day.
The Blue Disc-Tray Notification LED
It looked very cool, and the dream is for a notification LED around the screen, for example, in future Nintendo Switch iterations. At the moment the HOME button flashes and Joy-Cons vibrate as notifications come in (depending on your settings), but it's not quite the same.
Unlikely, but we can dream.
Wii Shop Music and Animations
The Wii Shop music is downright iconic, which is all the more remarkable considering it was part of Nintendo's first fully-fledged download store. This may sound silly in the modern era of buying downloadable content with one or two button presses within seconds, but on the Wii buying a download was a mini-event — partly because internet connections, infrastructure and hardware were much slower, but there was such personality to the store that it felt like an 'experience'.
I have a lovely memory of the family puppy watching Mario run across the screen, following his progress off the right side and then looking behind the TV wondering where he'd gone.
There's the music, obviously, which has a special place in many hearts, but there were other touches too. When you actually bought a game, the Wii would have to download it in full before closing the store; not ideal for modern user habits but part of the charm back then. As the game downloaded, a little pixel Mario would run from left-to-right, occasionally jumping to bop a block. I have a lovely memory of the family dog (now 14) as a puppy watching Mario run across the screen, following his progress off the right side and then looking behind the TV wondering where he'd gone.
Nintendo hasn't lost the art of charming digital storefronts; similar ideas carried across onto the 3DS eShop (less so on Wii U, though it still had music). We had a few months of personality on the Switch eShop during the Mario 35th Anniversary celebrations, showing that Nintendo is actually willing to liven up the store occasionally. Maybe more themed goodness will come to the eShop with The Legend of Zelda's anniversary; we hope so.
The Original and Best Virtual Console
Yes, we know the "where's Virtual Console?" argument has been done ad nauseum for Switch, and it's clear that Nintendo has little interest right now in going back to that model. Between the NES / SNES Switch Online apps and assorted retro-releases on the eShop, there's actually a decent range of old-school gaming on the Switch, albeit not neatly structured under a Virtual Console banner.
The Wii Virtual Console was outstanding though, which is worth highlighting for those that never got to experience it. From a first-party perspective Nintendo clearly saw solid results and went all-in, even releasing some games that had never previously seen the light of day outside of Japan (like the original Sin and Punishment, as one example). There was terrific third-party support too, as evidently those golden early days of download sales drew in partners of all types. There were all sorts of region-firsts and intriguing retro releases, which was eye-opening for the majority that hadn't imported a load of games in the '80s and '90s.
The diversity of supported consoles was incredible, too. All Nintendo home consoles up to Nintendo 64 had libraries, but there was also an 'arcade' selection full of gems. The Wii Virtual Console was a one-stop-shop of fascinating retro titles.
Nintendo's shift in business model, changes in the industry and licensing issues mean we'll likely never see a Virtual Console like it again. We sure enjoyed it while it lasted, though.
Obviously the Switch can't literally run GameCube discs like the good old Wii and it lacks the original Wii's GC controller ports on the top! But yes, we know, everyone wants GameCube titles in a Virtual Console or as part of Nintendo Switch Online. We got a taste of it with Super Mario Sunshine's inclusion on the Super Mario 3D All-Stars compilation, and Nintendo even updated that release to include GameCube controller support.
See? Now you're remembering how awesome the Wii was.
Those are some Wii features we'd love to see make a comeback on Nintendo Switch — let us know what you think in the poll and comments below!
Netflix and Prime video would be nice too
Bring back the Miiverse, their integration of Twitter to replace it on the Switch really lacking imo
The Wii shop music is awful, but the VC suggestion is really the only thing that would be great. I’m surprised there aren’t many GC games on Switch (is there even a single one?)
At this point we're just asking for the bare minimum
The Wii VC had the larger game and console selection, but the Wii U version included save states (as did the 3DS version), N64 rumble pak support, remappable controls, and full manual scans...
I also never understood why Nintendo never added their own arcade games to the any of the VCs.
And while the original (non-mini) Wii had Cube support, it was missing the most vital GameCube feature: the ability to make the squeaky logo noise on the system loading screen.
All of them! The Switch sucked the charm out of the old Nintendo OSs.
The Switch home menu is so awful compared to what we have in the past and not to mention the lack of a VC and channels. Easily the worst part of the system which is great outside of this.
(I don’t remember if the Wii had folders, but still... Folders. Please!)
The Wii U OS was and still is amazing.
@jcboyer515 Oh right! And definitely surprised that the first Metroid Prime isn’t ported to the Switch yet.
@BloodNinja I aprove that ninja aproved comment!
@Balta666 Yesssss! lol
I only really care for the virtual console and gamecube games.
I like the minimalist design of the Switch OS and personally wouldn't make use of channels or the notification LED.
Best thing about the Wii was the sensor bar and the ability to play light gun style games on a flat tv.
The Wii u improved on this with sensor bar 2.0 and I’d love to see a Bluetooth sensor bar or the ability to play light gun games on the switch!
@BloodNinja From the top of my head, there are at least 3 GC games on Switch.
Super Mario Sunshine (via Super Mario 3D All-Stars)
Pac-Man Vs. (via Namco Museum Arcade PAC)
Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles Remastered Edition, you know, the version that removes the original's selling point (couch co-op) in favor of online co-op
@HammerGalladeBro Heh, Crystal Chronicles. Yikes.
The best thing about the Wii was super Mario Galaxy 2.
I really missed shooting games since aiming with wiimote to the screen for light gun type games were really fun. Link crossbow training, house od the dead, hunting games, etc. Unfortunately Point Blank games were never on wii.
I miss the voting channel, was fun, they really had interesting idea during the Wii era, I don't understand why they don't want to port them, that would not impede the Switch being a "playing only platform" to add some serious fun things in there!
Disaster day of crisis!
The votes were such a fun experience! My college roommates and I loved doing them. Would love to play those with my family and friends.
@BloodNinja The Wii shop music was the best! The Juice disapproves of your comment.
@thejuice027 Hahahahah! Look out, it’s the juice!! RUN
I think for the final counts, SNES had around 50 games and NES and Mega Drive had 70 something each. Some good titles that may be lost. More so with MD, as the NES games may still get re-released for Switch Online. Unless they get released through other means.
It would be nice to have that whole Mega Drive collection released as a compilation. Or a select few that aren’t on the 50 game compilation that’s already out.
For some weird reason the News and Weather channels were my favorite thing on the Wii. The news was just an AP feed but it was nice. Like reading the paper. Weather was great tho. It had a Globe you could spin for wherever.
The picture in the Article of the Wii SMG2 had a foot note to say “we know these games are all on Switch.....”
I must of missed the part where SMG2 was released on Switch
On do miss the original Wii Shop music. Sometimes have a listen in Smash Ultimate
I do wish the VC would come across to the Switch. One of my favourite Wii VC games C64 IK+. This is one of the few reasons I still have a Wii U connected
Ambient system menu music is deeply missed. I could listen to the Gamecube's theme honestly for hours
@Gerald Yes, good point, updated. I think I'm in a state of denial about the way they Thanos-clicked Galaxy 2.
I want it all. Particularly a way to enjoy their legacy content on Switch though. Even if it's just up to N64. And include at least game boy in there. Why aren't they adding these? Probably because they don't feel pressured enough to do so since the thing already prints money as it is.
I agree the current UI lacks any real charm. I actually want Wii U files mostly. However, GC games would be the number one on here. Miiverse and a proper Mii Maker channel. Shop music and animations would be nice.
Got a feeling that a Switch pro in 2022 will have all these.
@ThomasBW84 sorry to be picky, like the use of capitals
The most important feature from the wii: Power button on the controller.
@BloodNinja Jedi Knight 2, but it is the PC version without online (that is reserved for Jedi Knight 3). The Gamecube version has a 2 player split screen with bots that i honestly love, but it was poo pooed then because it wasn't the PC versions 16 player online.
Edit: Also Ikaruga, but the GC version was ported from DC with extras.
Resident Evil, Zero, Resident Evil 4.
Still scope for more. I still play my GC regularly.
The other day I was playing on my beatup 3DS and someone asked about something, since we didn't know I looked it up on the 3DS browser and the person was shocked that you could look stuff up on such an old game console.
That's something that annoys me about the Switch, instead of trying to move forward existing features it threw everything out the window in favor of the most basic and minimalistic things.
The Switch could have improved VC by making the games even easier to get (bundle them with game releases, make the odd game free for a while) many of these games have had a previous release on Wii/WiiU/3DS you'd think at this point they can get the games working on switch in like a day.
All the classic games that were remade on Wiiware like Castlevania, Contra, Gradius, Blaster Master, Mega Man 9&10, Bubble Bobble, Bomberman, Excitebike, Dr. Mario... the Wii had old retro and new retro down better than anything. Kinda why I own 3 of them 😄
Sigh.. I miss my GameCube. I'd love to play some of my old games on it, and it'd be a dream to play Mario Party 6 and Sonic Heroes again on my Switch. If I ever got the chance, you can bet I'd buy another GameCube in a heartbeat.
@HammerGalladeBro Don't forget Ikaruga and Resident Evil Zero, Remake and 4.
Edit: this was already mentioned. Ah well...
Sin & Punishment was a game highlighting something missing from the Wii: N64-style Classic Controllers.
Now that was a game designed around the N64's usually-shaped controller.
All I could get was a fan-made cable to functionally convert a real N64 controller into a GameCube controller.
But if Nintendo could've done one or the other would've been great.
(also, why were the SNES CCs not available for NA Club Nintendo!? The one item I was saving my Coins up for the most! Surely purple buttons weren't that hard to produce!)
@Screen The Switch has a power button on the controller, it just happens to also be the home button.
They should bring back the Wii shop music but make it optional to have it play by default. Best of both worlds.
I can't believe the Wii had a messaging system but the switch doesn't lol.
Nintendo decided to remove many key features from the Switch that they had included in their older consoles and despite that the Switch sells like crazy. And even though people complain, the Switch keeps selling.
Nintendo has absolutely no incentive to add any of those features back.
Personally I enjoyed the Wii/Wii U era's features. They were fun, simple and intuitive. They had a cozy feeling. But I also appreciate the minimalistic nature of the Switch. No one is going to remember the Switch menu with as much fondness. It would be nice if they could figure out a way to have both.
Nintendo is at their best when their back is against the wall.
Menu and eshop music to be sure. Custom backgrounds would be nice too. And for the love of god, if someone makes it on to my friends list, I should be able to message them.
I think what was so good about the Wii was how intuitive everything was. It took me years to get used to the Xbox 360 dashboard (still not used to the Xbox one dashboard) but the Wii was so easy to use. All those little features, the news and weather channels, it’s YouTube channel, the Nintendo channel, hold a special place in my heart as it was the first internet capable console I owned (I was still playing PS2 and GameCube up until late 2009 when I got the Wii). My kids love to mess around on the photo channel still, turning old pictures into puzzles or doodling over them.
I second the article’s point about buying games on the Wii shop as an event; the anticipation of downloading an old favourite or a newly discovered hidden gem. Even the introduction of suspend points was a big deal, being able to just stop playing a retro game and come back to it whenever without having to start from scratch was a game changer.
The Switch feels quite soulless in comparison but I suppose it’s clean minimalism is quite nice in a different way.
Just port Sin& Punishment to Switch. That's what I want first.
Then port all of the exclusive gamecube games.
@Taffy plus Disney+ and HBO Max maybe
@FargusPelagius Definitely room for more, I'm honestly surprised more of the library isn't ported!
If you do like the Wii shop music, I think there's an extension on Amazon that you can listen to it while you shop on Amazon.
Between the Wii and Wii U, that was the best of times for downloadable content.
@Papichulo I came to say the same. Give us those awesome WiiWare titles.
They should just make the Wii again. Same chassis but with modern internals.
Definitely the Virtual Console to be sure, preferably with the extras @gaga64 mentioned plus virtual Controller Pak support for applicable games and features from the NES and SNES apps like online play and rewind. I bought quite a lot of games on the VC for Wii and 3DS. I probably would have bought a lot for Wii U too if I had one. To be fair, there are actually some NES games available to buy and keep on the Switch (I think all of which are from Arc System Works) but their number is a mere drop in the bucket and I'm not all that crazy about those games anyway, although I did buy Double Dragon 3 and River City Ransom.
Honestly, I hated the Wii Shop Channel music after a few seconds. I'd only approve of its return if it could be turned off.
More Shovel ware please
@ThomasBW84 I'm still trying to figure out why they did it. Galaxy 2 is quite possibly the best game on the whole system, maybe even of that whole generation, and they just act like it doesn't exist? What gives?
I would like Wii Sports Resort on Switch with baseball, tennis and boxing added to it.
Such daydreaming seems like an exercise in pain, given the realities of how Nintendo works and executes a given console generation. Is any of this coming to pass? Nope! Is it painfully clear? (Maybe not enough? )
Gamecube ports but dont ruin them with Nintendo switch online and inflated prices.
My switch is the best selection of games I ever bought with gamecube and ps2 coming in second. However there is still tons of stuff I would like to try on gamecube (without subscription or only on switch pro anti consumer gimmick).
There are several local co-op Gamecube games that would bring sunshine to switch.
I do hope everyone read this article with the Wii shop channel music on in the background as I did, it's only right. Gotta love that smooth bossa nova jazz sound!
The Switch is a dead object. The Wii was a fun friend from first time it was turned on, same for the DSi. The News Channel on Wii and Flipnote Hatena on DSi where my favorite online services. I'm still mad at Nintendo for killing them. I guess in the long run it is better Nintendo doesn't offer anything besides the bare minimum on Switch, since they clearly neither intent to keep services alive, nor make them open source.
I'm not a big retro gamer so I can do without the virtual console system. Eshop shop music and animations would be nice.
Though, I'd rather they put their efforts into the Switch's online system and infrastructure. It works but could be better.
The only thing the switch needs IMO is the VC & more apps
I miss the channels. Everybody Votes was good fun. News Channel was great as virtually everything was preloaded, and you can also browse the globe for stories (same with the weather channel). And I think we all miss the Wii UI's music. Remixed/rearranged versions of these classic compositions for the Switch's successor would be most welcome.
The way that Miiverse was seamelessly integrated into so many games was a surprisingly welcome addition, though I strongly doubt that Nintendo would ever implement such a feature without a paid subscription. Isn't it nice when Nintendo conforms to industry expectations rather than marching to the beat of their own drum?
Gifting and the ability to send messages to your online friends.
Hmm no doubt that Nintendo fear any vulnerabilities that could arise just like previous systems.. (3DS hack through browser, system apps and stuff).. but still.. please add something :/ (at least folders and theme imo)
As a forty year old, it's surprising how nostalgic I can feel about some 14 years ago. Iwata's Nintendo was so whimsical. I remember having a routine when I woke up of making coffee and turning on the Wii to check the weather and browse the internet while I was walking up. Picking up my phone will never feel the same. Unfortunately, time only moves in one direction.
It would be cool if they added Wii charm via Themes. Like, let me set Wii as my OS theme so that I'd have a Channel-like grid of games, music in the E-Shop and main menu, etc.
They could make 3DS and Wii U-styled themes as well.
But number one on my wishlist is definitely the Miis. Bring it all back: Mii Channel with all its weird creations, Everybody Votes, and of course some new games like Mii Party and Wii Sports. I get that Nintendo tried to distance themselves from it, maybe to seem less casual. But there's definitely a lot of Wii nostalgia brewing lately.
1) virtual console. I do not want any subscription based Retro games, GameCube included.
2) IR pointer. How will Prime 4, Trilogy and House of The Dead Remake work without an IR pointer? Motion work-arounds are ok for some games, but not light-gun games. I still hope there is secret functionality in the IR camera. Ultimately, if it is gyro aiming, I'm gonna be very disappointed.
I used to love the everybody votes channel as a kid!
The VC had so many systems and games, from the NES to the PCE/TG16. Loved it.
What I really miss is StreetPass, along with all the cool ways that games utilized it. Definitely made me bring my 3DS and 2DS everywhere.
Without a doubt my biggest wish for the Switch is for Virtual Console. It doesn't need to be called that, but I want legacy support for basically all classic Nintendo Consoles up to GameCube and GBA.
If hobbyists like ModernVintageGamer can build functional emulators from the ground up in only a few months time, surely professionals working for one of the most experienced video game companies around could build them too. Fans and hobbyists have already built proof of concept level emulation in homebrew for Switch.
I'm sick of the favoritism shown to the late 80s early 90s kids. NES and SNES games do host a bunch of amazing titles. But kids of the mid 90s through early 2000s are all well into adulthood now. And we want to see some love to our nostalgia too. Game Boy(and Color) GBA, N64 and GameCube titles.
Yes, we can get adapters and up-scalers for old hardware. Yes it seems like much of the community is totally okay with piracy and emulation boxes these days... But I am still convinced there's a big community of people, like myself, who would prefer to just buy and download these games on Switch.
Switch is the ideal platform for legacy support because it's the Switch. We'd have that freedom to play in either handheld or TV mode. That's a very big win.
I fear that, the longer we go without official legacy support, the more people will turn to piracy. I've seen in growing so much in recent years. Chinese made piracy boxes are a dime a dozen these days and run everything up to PS1 and N64 in many cases now. And people who would have bought games legitimately are turning to those devices because the alternative is to rely on aging hardware that's poorly compatible with modern TVs and ever rising costs of classic games driven be decreasing supplies and higher demand.
I voted none. The Wii features are of minimal interest (I never owned a Wii anyway), while the Virtual Console has been supplanted by the Nintendo's online offerings and game companies doing their own thing. I'm happy with that situation, albeit, it would be nice to buy some of the online offerings.
Bringing back Virtual Console would be great. Seriously there should be Atari 2600, Atari Lynx, Colecovision, Intellivision, 3DO, Sega CD, Philips CD-i, Atari Jaguar, PS1, PS2, GameCube, Game Boy, Game Gear, MS-DOS, NeoGeo Pocket Color, GBC, GBA, PSP, and Sega Dreamcast games on there by now if Nintendo wasn't dumb enough to abandon it after the Wii U.
The thing I like about the Switch OS is the speed, it's faster to get around on than PS4 and Xbox One. The Wii U on the other hand was so slow... certainly did a 180 there. Microsoft and Sony seemly following Nintendo's lead here for both their 8th and 9th gen systems.
To be fair to the Wii its speed was probably somewhere in between.
@HalBailman Makes sense, you can't miss what you didn't experience.
The Wii system had many tiny quirky features that made it lovable. Like the cats!! They where just there, running across the screen for no reason. And creating Miis and interacting with them was so much more fun on the Wii. I ended up making all my family and friends. Everybody played as themselves in the games supporting that, and in some games, like Wii Sports, Mario Kart etc. family Mii and friend Mii where the spectators. On the switch, the Mii is nothing but a profile picture, not worth the time. The game thumbs have no animation, no sound. Starting a game on Wii was an event in itself. On Switch the games might as well be listed as text only, the tiny icons are not worth the huge amount of screen space they need, in my opinion.
What I would add onto the Switch...how about some themes like the 3DS had? Come on, all we have is the black or white background...would be nice to be able to have themes on it to look at. Other things I'd have...folders, definitely, rather than having to go to the 'All Games' tab every time a game isn't played as much. As for the Mii's, if they are going to be used more, sure, have something for it like the Wii U had when you booted it up! I'd love to see them all on the screen with added animation, would be a nice touch for them...but if the Mii's are coming back, add some more goodies to it...bring back some of the classic Mii games like Wii Sports (a different name of course). As the virtual arcade, they can do something like it again. Cap com Classic Arcade has it to where you purchase bundles, and nintendo can do something like this...an NES Arcade where you can purchase the games separate and add them to that one download...same could be with the Super NES, Gamecube, Wii or N64, and they could even add the gameboy, gameboy color, gameboy advance, DS and even 3DS (minus the 3D element). Again, this is something that they can do if they wanted to, but for some reason, I don't see anything like this happening until their next console. I think they were waiting to see how the Switch was going to do (after what happened with the Wii U) and now, since it's a big hit, I think Nintendo will start listening more for their next console. Other than that, I'm sure nintendo is working on their next console by now and getting ready...hopefully it's just as good as a seller as the Switch and doesn't become a dud, but time will tell.
Should have been things from Wii U instead.
Folders, Game Statistics, USB HDD Support etc.
If the virtual console came back, Nintendo would make more money. Heck I’d pay £20+ for each GameCube game.
If it was possible, the entirety of the original Wii's Virtual Console along with an added Gamecube section, would be awesome.
Love the Everybody Votes shout out. My family had so much fun with that. We took the guessing what popular opinion was very seriously. Also I frequently get that Wii Shop music stuck in my head.
There's a glaring error on this page.
It mentions that the Virtual Console aloowed people to experance Sin & Punishment for the First Time, yet you guys used the artwork from Sin & Punishment: Star Successor instead, For which it's the Wii Sequel.
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