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Designing a Better Virtual Console
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on December 27, 2006   |   Episode 120 (Show Archive)  

   

Clearly this girl isn't playing Urban Champion on the Virtual Console!
The moment I heard that the Nintendo Wii was going to support games from classic 8-, 16- and 64-bit systems I was sold. I love the idea of being able to download all of the best games from the 1980s and 90s, even if it means that I will have to pay a few bucks to own them. And then Nintendo found a way of sweetening the deal, they decided to include classic TurboGrafx-16 and Genesis games to the mix. So not only will you be able to download NES, Super NES and Nintendo 64 titles, but you will also find Sonic the Hedgehog, Bonk's Adventure and all of the games that competed against Nintendo back in the early days of the video game industry.

This sounded like the perfect deal to me. As a fan of these long-forgotten titles I couldn't wait to get my Wii and download Military Madness, Gunstar Heroes and all the other titles I remember loving back in my youth. But now

Bonk's Adventure is fun and all, but what about the other Bonk titles (and Air Zonk)?
that the system is out and I have full reign over dozens of classic (and not so classic) games I'm starting to feel like something has been left out. And then it hit me, Nintendo has completely avoided a few old consoles that really need some attention. Nintendo has the opportunity to change people's opinions about some of the failed systems that have gotten a bad rap over the past dozen years. Consider this my plea, Nintendo has a great thing going ... but it can only get better by including a few of the misunderstood consoles of the 80s and 90s.

Perhaps the most deserving of the forgotten systems is the Master System, Sega's misunderstood 8-bit console. While the system didn't do particularly well in the United States, Europe ate it up. Ports of Master System games don't seem too hard to imagine on the Wii, Nintendo is already supporting

Golvellius and Phantasy Star are just a couple of great Master System games that have been completely forgotten!
Sega Genesis titles and they are doing a good job of emulating their own 8-bit NES games. Why stop with the Genesis? Why not give us the original Phantasy Star? Or what about Golvellius: Valley of Doom? And we don't have to stop there, Sega's 8-bitter had a lot of great games worth remembering, including Golden Axe Warrior, Hang On, R-Type, Teddy Boy, Action Fighter and My Hero. Not every Master System game was great, but then again have you some of the titles Nintendo has released on the NES? Who are they kidding asking five dollars for titles like Urban Champion, Soccer and Pinball?

The Master System isn't the only Sega "console" worth reviving on the Nintendo Wii. While it's not known for its large stable of amazing games, the Sega 32X is worth remembering. Nintendo has already

Virtua Fighter hasn't aged well, but at least it would be a 3D fighting game on the Virtual Console!
given the OK to Sega's large library of 16-bit games; perhaps it's time to also include their faux 32-bit games as well. It would be great to see some of Sega's obscure 32x titles make a comeback, like Kolibri and Tempo. By including the 32X Nintendo would have access to a couple of classic Sega arcade games they would otherwise be without, such as Virtua Racing Deluxe and Virtua Fighter. Sure you would get a lot of bad games, too. But I'm sure there are a few Sonic fans that would pay eight bucks to see what Knuckles Chaotix was all about.

Sega isn't the only company currently signed on to support the Virtual Console; NEC is also bringing their classic 16-bit library to the Nintendo system. While I love that the TurboGrafx-16 is finally getting some much-deserved attention, I can't help but yearn for the ability to download

Even if we don't get Ghouls N Ghosts, chances are good we'll see Super Ghouls N Ghosts at some point!
Super Grafx titles. Now here's a system that nobody had a chance to play, perhaps this would be a perfect time for Nintendo to revive it just long enough to support its seven games. Granted, most of the games on the Super Grafx were 2D shooters, there were a few titles that made it worth owning. While the Genesis version of Ghouls N Ghosts was amazing, it's the Super Grafx version that set the high water mark. I would probably pay extra to finally own the Super Grafx version of that game, even if it is only available in Japanese.

The 8- and 16-bitters aren't the only systems worth talking about; it would be nice to be able to download the Neo Geo games that were released in the early 1990s. At the time SNK touted the size of their cartridges, so the Neo Geo may not seem like the perfect choice for the Virtual Console. But on second

With the release of Metal Slug Anthology SNK seems to be taking a stand against the Virtual Console!
thought, the Neo Geo cartridges were no larger than your average Nintendo 64 game, and Nintendo doesn't seem to have a problem uploading those. Of course, part of me would rather have the Neo Geo titles on the Xbox 360, that way I could play games like Samurai Shodown II and the King of Fighters series online against real people. But at this point I'll take them any way I can get them, even if it's on the Nintendo Wii.

The Nintendo 64 doesn't have to be the only 64-bit system represented on the Virtual Console. Why not allow us to buy some of the better Atari Jaguar titles? When you bring up the Jaguar most people scoff at the idea, but who wouldn't want to own games like Tempest 2000 and Alien vs. Predator? The Jaguar is the console that proves that even the worst selling systems can have some great software, even if it's few and far between. A lot of the game systems we've discussed in

If rumors are true then there's a chance we could be playing Metal Gear and other MSX games on the Wii any day now!
this article are being remembered on major game sites and through emulation, but the Jaguar gets the short end of the stick. Almost no other site out there discusses Atari's faux 64-bit system, and to date nobody has developed a Jaguar emulator that is on par with what you can get for the Super Grafx, Genesis or Master System. Some may argue that Nintendo's Classic Controller doesn't have enough buttons, but I'm sure somebody can figure out a way of solving that problem. It may be a stretch, but I would personally love to see some of the Jaguar's best games hit the Virtual Console.

Think all of this is nothing more than a pipe dream? According to reliable sources the Virtual Console may soon play host to the Commodore 64 and MSX computers. While American gamers may not recognize the importance these two devices had on the games industry, there's no doubt that they would make a great addition to Nintendo's already impressive line-up of classic downloadable titles. The idea that Big N is open enough to support the Commodore 64 and MSX gives me hope that someday they may be willing to add games for the Master System, Super Grafx or even the Jaguar. Nintendo has the opportunity to be the iTunes of the video game world, something that could draw a lot of old school gamers to the Wii. As Nintendo's store becomes bigger and better I can only hope that some of these forgotten systems will finally get the respect they deserve.
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