They’ve been unavailable for a while now (after the former disappeared off the Wii’s eShop back in about 2012). But now, thanks to some generosity over at Nintendo of Europe, the entire Donkey Kong Country series will be heading to the Wii U Virtual Console!
And that’s not all. Just like in Japan, the Donkey Kong Land titles for Game Boy will also be heading the VC’s way, with the series being available on the 3DS’ Virtual Console.
Oh, and if you buy them, you can get 33% off Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D or 33% off Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze. Depending on what games you buy from what Virtual Console of course (the DKC series gets you a discount for Tropical Freeze, the DKL series a discount for Returns 3D). This extra promotion will be running from the 16th of October to the 6th of November, as part of what Nintendo UK calls ‘Donkey Kong Country Weeks’. Here’s the Twitter post about it:
As any Nintendo fan with access to the eShop knows, the Virtual Console on the 3DS and Wii U is filled with games from all kinds of different systems. You’ve got games from the NES, SNES and Nintendo 64. Handheld titles for the Game Boy and Game Boy Advance. Heck, you’ve even got games for what used to be rival systems, like the Sega Genesis or the TurboGFX-16!
But one group of games hasn’t ever appeared on the Virtual Console, or any other console based digital download service for that matter. And that group of games, is that of classic PC games. Games from both the DOS era and earlier computer based systems like the ZX Spectrum.
The first group, is an interesting one. You see, while a lot of people were growing up with consoles like the SNES and Genesis/Mega Drive (especially in the US), European gamers and various others had their own interesting games in the form of PC exclusives. These included ID Software’s Commander Keen series, a series of Mario inspired platformers that actually started out as an attempt to make a computer port of Super Mario Bros 3:
And Jazz Jackrabbit, a series of 2D Sonic style games that were extremely impressive in terms of technical capabilities, even for the time:
These franchises, along with many other PC only platformers and games of the day (other notable examples including Speedy Eggbert, etc) were never released on consoles. So just about everyone who enjoyed Mario, Sonic, Mega Man or various other console only franchises, never got to play them. Perhaps the Wii U could finally change this, with the game’s being available for Nintendo fans just as they were for old school PC gamers. After all, they definitely seem like the type of games that fans of NES and SNES era platformers would enjoy playing, right?
The other type of old school computer games that should be available on VC, are not DOS or early Windows PC games. Instead, they’re titles for old British systems like the ZX Spectrum or BBC Micro or Amstrad computers. These include some of the very first games made by Rare, then called Ultimate Play the Game. Like Knight Lore and Sabre Wulf:
And these aren’t the only games either. Dr Ashens and Guru Larry on Youtube have made tons of videos showing these old school UK only games on systems like the Spectrum. For example…
And so while many of the games they mention are the less impressive ones (because they’re internet comedians, and poorly done games make funnier videos), they do remind us how many games were released for these systems way before Nintendo struck it big with the likes of Super Mario Bros. Seriously, the wiki page for the Spectrum says about 25,000 games were released for the console. And even with Sturgeon’s Law in full force (and about 1% of that total being good games), that still leaves hundreds or thousands of titles that could be seen as great classics if they were finally released on a modern console with an audience outside of the UK.
So let’s try and get some of these titles rereleased on the 3DS and Wii U Virtual Console, so that the a whole new generation of gamers (plus anyone who’s only played Nintendo titles in general) can experience such gems for themselves.
Remember Takamaru, the ninja character a certain mini game in Nintendo Land is based on? The one whose inclusion in Super Smash Bros 4 some people have been calling for recently?
Well, in an interesting turn of events that no one ever expected, his sole Nintendo game is being rereleased on the 3DS Virtual Console. And hence for the first time ever, said game is now going to be available to buy outside of Japan!
Recently at Nintendo’s Financial Briefing, Satoru Iwata mentioned that Nintendo had overcome the technical limitations stopping them releasing DS games on the Wii U’s Virtual Console, saying that such games would be available sometime soon. But while to a degree this sounds like a great idea, there’s one minor thing that’s now been bugging me about the concept.
Namely, how the hell is the Mario & Luigi series gonna work on such a service?
Well, we knew they were coming at some point. But as Nintendo of Europe is now reminding us on Twitter, they’re coming to the 3DS eShop extremely soon, that being May 30th. Here’s their Tweet reminding people of these games imminent rerelease:
Game Boy classics The Legend of #Zelda: Oracle of Ages & Oracle of Seasons arrive on Nintendo #eShop this Thursday! ow.ly/i/2dfjG
So yeah, you heard the people at Nintendo Zelda fans! Only three days left until you can buy The Legend of Zelda Oracle of Ages and The Legend of Zelda Oracle of Seasons from the 3DS eShop! Do you plan to buy these titles when they’re released?
It’s been wanted on the service a while, and now the original Game Boy Color Shantae game has been officially confirmed for the 3DS Virtual Console. Originally released only in the US, the game will now be made available digitally in all regions via the eShop, as mentioned in WayForward’s official announcement here:
With 2D Zelda games seemingly back in fashion and The Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past 2 hitting the 3DS later this year, it seems like a whole new generation of Zelda fans may be introduced to SNES era style Zelda design. But should the original Link to the Past be released as well, perhaps as a Virtual Console game that’s available to buy for the 3DS eShop? I think it should be, and here’s why:
1. The game can be a good introduction to the series for those interested in the sequel
First things first, I think rereleasing the original Link to the Past on 3DS would be a good idea simply due to how long it’s been since people have played it. Okay, it’s available on the Wii as a Virtual Console title, but not everyone owns a Wii or even cares for Nintendo home consoles. And with A Link to the Past 2 being a direct sequel set in the exact same version of Hyrule, it’d certainly help to have the original game available to compare to.
Above: Being able to switch between the games easily would let people notice what locations reappear and how the map stays consistent between them.
Additionally, I think the game could work as a good introduction to the general gameplay style of its sequel and other 2D Zelda titles as a whole. After all, these games don’t play like the 3D ones or the somewhat mediocre Phantom Hourglass/Spirit Tracks, and quite a few newer Zelda fans might not know what to expect from the sequel because of this. Making the original Link to the Past serves as a good intro to 2D Zelda gameplay and fixes all these problems.
That’s not the only benefit though…
2. With Four Swords Anniversary Edition out, they could rerelease the GBA one and tie the two games together
Nope, the other benefit of this is that we already have a (mostly free) copy of Four Swords available on the same system in the form of the Legend of Zelda Four Swords Anniversary Edition.
Why is this useful to know? Well just remember what title came packaged with Four Swords on the GBA back in the days of yore…
That’s right, it came with A Link to the Past! Except this one didn’t keep the two games as entirely seperate entities, but added a new dungeon and new unlockables that you got by beating Four Swords. So why not bring this back and have both games connect to one another?
I think this could be a pretty neat little gimmick that could encourage people to get multiple games. Just have things like the Palace of the Four Sword available in the Link to the Past rerelease, and then have the game check for Four Swords Anniversary Edition save data when unlocking it. Hence you’d reward people who downloaded or bought Four Swords and played it through, as well as let them carry over special abilities like the Hurricane Spin or Sword beams to Link to the Past.
Perhaps then they could even tie the 3DS sequel into this whole concept too. So that if you played it after beating Link to the Past and Four Swords, you unlocked a second quest of sorts to reward you for your gaming skill.
And finally, here’s what one more reason it’d be a good idea…
3. Fans could test out how such games work with 3DS controls
Yes, it’d work well as a sort of ‘trial run’ for the 3DS sequel for people unsure about how the controls work. Because while in theory you can play the game on an old Game Boy Advance/DS or Wii…
Above: Wii and GBA controls don’t really match those on the 3DS
In practice the control schemes these consoles use and the button layouts present are very different from those the 3DS itself makes use of.
But rereleasing A Link to the Past could get round these problems, and act as a nice way to get Zelda fans used to the 3DS and how it works with a 2D Zelda game. It could also help people move straight from the first Link to the Past to the sequel, simply by having both games use the exact same control scheme.
So yes, I think rereleasing A Link to the Past on the 3DS Virtual Console could be a great idea, especialy if they made a couple of minor tweaks to let it interact with Four Swords Anniversary Edition.
What do you think about this? Do you want to see the original Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past made available on the 3DS as a sort of ‘practice’ for its soon to be released sequel?
In a recent PR e-mail Nintendo has sent out, they mention that GBA titles will be added to the Wii U Virtual Console soon. Here’s the text of the e-mail talking about it:
A library of quality classic games is planned for the Virtual Console on Wii U, with favorites such as Balloon Fight, Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr., Excitebike, F-Zero, Ice Climber, Kirby’s Adventure, Kirby Super Star, Mario Bros., Punch-Out!! Featuring Mr. Dream, Super Mario Bros. 2, Super Mario World, Super Metroid and Yoshi on the way soon. Game Boy Advance and Nintendo 64 games are scheduled to be added in the future.
But to be honest… am I the only one wondering why they’re adding GBA titles to the Wii U eShop instead of Gamecube ones? Why not add these to the 3DS and let people play them on the go like how they were meant to work? I’m sure the likes of Mario Kart Super Circuit, Wario Land 4 and The Legend of Zelda The Minish Cap would work better on a handheld than on a home console, right?
Above: So we’ve got Zelda 2 on the 3DS Virtual Console but not the Wii U one…
Yet games like Wario Land 4 are likely going to only be available on the Wi U VC? Why?
And why exactly is there no mention at all of adding any Gamecube titles to these services? Because whether people like it or not, the Wii U doesn’t play Gamecube games like the Wii did. Hence no one can play any of these on a current Nintendo system. So why not make these available to buy on the Virtual Console? Surely some people out there really want to buy Super Mario Sunshine, Mario Kart Double Dash, and Super Smash Bros Melee again, right?
It also raises another question about this whole eShop account set up. Why charge people multiple times for the exact same game rather than just let them play any Virtual Console games on any system they want to play them on? Why have to buy Super Mario Bros 1 multiple times just to have it on multiple systems when you should be able to access the same account/same game across all Nintendo consoles? It seems like Nintendo have no idea how an account system should work and it really hurts the whole Virtual Console thing in general.
Above: Why do we have to buy Super Mario Bros 1 two or three times rather than once?
Come on, how difficult can this be to design? Just make it so once you buy a game, you get access to this title on any system you own that’s capable of running it. So if you buy a NES, SNES, Game Boy, Nintendo 64 or Game Boy Advance for the Wii U Virtual Console, you can then just open up your account on the 3DS eShop and run your game there complete with any save data you may have stored. And vice versa, anything you buy or download on the 3DS can be run on the Wii U (including ambassador games and things like SwapNote). It just seems so much more logical than having to rebuy your games every single time.
So yes, why are we getting GBA games on the Wii U instead of Gamecube games? Why are these titles not available to buy for the 3DS via the eShop there? And why in anyone’s name doesn’t Nintendo understand the whole idea of having games tied to an account rather being repurchased for every single system?
Furthermore, Mega Man 3 hits the 3DS Virtual Console next week (March 14), with 4, 5 and 6 following each month. By the time MM6 hits, we’ll also have digital versions of their amazing soundtracks available for sale.
Thanks for the update Capcom. Nice to know the classic Mega Man games are still coming to the 3DS Virtual Console as a way to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the series. Maybe now you can also add the Game Boy games or something?