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Operation Rainfall Buys Into the Fantasy
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on August 15, 2011   |   Episode 181 (Show Archive)  

   

See how exciting this game looks? Now imagine how much it will suck to not play games for a full year!
Fact: The Wii needs games. With the exception of a licensed kid's game here and there, the Wii's landscape is completely barren. Even though Nintendo promises a new Legend of Zelda game, that's months off with nothing in between. Worse yet, the 2012 outlook is even bleaker. With the Wii U on the way and almost no new games announced, there isn't much for Wii owners to celebrate.

You would think that Nintendo would be doing everything in its power to tackle this problem. After all, the Wii is the top selling game system of this generation and there are tens of millions of gamers clamoring for something (anything) new. With new hardware more than a year off, now is the perfect time to sell people on the Wii brand so you can seamlessly transition to the next generation.

Good news! There are brand new Wii games on the way. Xenoblade Chronicles, The Last Story and Pandora's Tower are three adventure games for the Wii that fans would love to sink their teeth into while they wait

FACT: This is the most boring picture of The Last Story I could find.
for the next console. Unfortunately, Nintendo has decided not to release any of these games in the United States, yet again leaving their hardcore fans disappointed.

As hard as it is to believe, it's not an issue of localization. At least one of these games, Xenoblade Chronicles, is getting a European release. And yet Nintendo still refuses to release this game in the states, instead opting for Skyward Sword and a new Rhythm Heaven. A questionable choice

Even in Japanese, I still want to see what Pandora's Tower is all about!
considering that the competition isn't taking the next year off of releasing triple-A games.

There's one group of gamers that is not taking this lying down. They are known as Operation Rainfall and they are doing everything in their power to motivate Wii owners to sign petitions, send letters, buy games and more. Along the way they are raising money for the Child's Play charity and helping to spread the word about the lack of software hitting this generation's most popular console.

Operation Rainfall's next big push starts this Friday, when they hope Wii owners will send Nintendo a message by purchasing the original Final Fantasy en masse. This seminal role-playing game is only five bucks

Or better yet, just go back and finish all of the cancelled Wii games!
on the Virtual Console, making it a cheap way to make your voice be heard. For gamers who already own Final Fantasy, Operation Rainfall suggests you either gift the game to a friend or donate a few bucks to Child's Play. Either way, you're helping show Nintendo that you want Xenoblade and the rest of the unreleased Wii games.

While I certainly support Operation Rainfall's agenda, I take issue with the game in question. I'm sure they were hoping to go with the least controversial choice, but this ends up being a huge missed opportunity. Let's face it, the target audience for Xenoblade is the kind of person who has beaten the original Final Fantasy on at least seven different consoles. Chances are that this person already owns Final Fantasy on the Virtual Console, which makes it hard to show your support.

Gifting Final Fantasy to a friend is certainly an option, it doesn't seem very practical. How many remaining Wii owners are dying to play Final Fantasy on the Virtual Console? And

I love the first Final Fantasy, but most fans already own this game on a bunch of platforms!
while donating is a great thing to do, it certainly doesn't help the struggling Virtual Console any. With all this going against it, I fear Operation Rainfall may not be able to optimize the impact due to a poor choice in games.

Ideally this would be the time to highlight a lesser known game. Perhaps a game or series that doesn't get the level of respect it deserves; one that has always been overshadowed by the biggest players in the room (like Final Fantasy and Legend of Zelda). This would have been the perfect time to give a smaller game a huge boost in sales. Best of all, a smaller game would lessen the chances of the user already owning it. People dedicated to the cause would be able to buy it for the first time and, to show even more support, buy a second copy for a friend.

Sadly it's too late for them to change the game in question, but that isn't going to stop me from suggesting a few Virtual Console games that would have been more appropriate. If you somehow missed Final Fantasy, definitely pick it up this Friday (August 19). However, fans of old school adventure games should also pick up a few of these less popular gems.

Ys Book I & II
[ Console Reviews: TurboDuo | Price: $9 | Release: 1989]
The Ys series can't catch a break. There are seven of these games total, yet most American gamers know little to nothing about this series. This TurboDuo version is a great place to start. The CD music is some of my favorite and the two adventures manage to hold up. What's more, Ys Book I & II was the first title Electronic Gaming Monthly gave a perfect 10. If gamers fall in love with Falcom's storytelling, they can continue the adventure with ports of Books III - VII (on the PSP).

Ogre Battle/Ogre Battle 64
[ Console Reviews: SNES/N64 | Price: $8/$10 | Release: 1995/2000]
No matter what version you spring for, Ogre Battle is a rare treat that most gamers missed the first time around. In this case it has nothing to do with consumer apathy. It turns out that Enix only manufactured a small quantity of each game, turning it into quite a collectable. Thankfully role-playing fans won't need to spend hundreds of dollars tracking down a new copy. Instead you can just download these must-haves for on the Virtual Console.

Phantasy Star I - IV
[ Console Reviews: 1/2/3/4 | Price: $5/$8 | Release: 1988 - 1994]
I wouldn't call Phantasy Star a forgotten gem; it was Sega's most popular role-playing game, after all. Even today you can find Phantasy Star games, but none that connect to the original four 8- and 16-bit installments. Compared to Final Fantasy, Phantasy Star was a small speck that few people remember. But their mix of turn-based combat and sci-fi surroundings make this a compelling play, even if you have no nostalgia for the series. A mass purchase may be the kind of thing that convinces Sega to make a proper sequel to this incredible series.

Nobunaga's Ambition/Romance of the Three Kingdoms
[ Console Reviews: NA/RotTK | Price: $8 | Release: 1992/1993]
Neither of these games are as accessible as Final Fantasy (or any of the other games on this list), but you should still check them out. Nobunaga's Ambition is so needlessly complicated that it will take you years to fully grasp how to play the game. Throwing in Romance of the Three Kingdoms and you have a series of game that will confound and bewilder you the rest of your life. Learning to play these games will make you completely forget about Xenoblade and those other games. On second thought, that might be the opposite of what Operation Rainfall is trying to do.

U-four-ia: The Saga
[ Console Reviews: NES | Price: $9 | Release: 1991]
U-four-ia isn't an old-school role-playing game. Instead this quirky import title is a 2D side-scrolling platformer starring a loveable cast of characters. This weird mix of Super Mario Bros. and Metroid is full of bright worlds and twists around every corner. It doesn't have anything to do with Xenoblade or any of the Operation Rainfall games, but it deserves to be played by every single Wii owner. So go ahead and buy Final Fantasy on August 19th, but make sure and also check out U-four-ia: The Saga!
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