Top 5 Games I Want For The Virtual Console
The following took place in an imaginary office inside my head. The part of me was played by me. The part of Nintendo was played by a man in a suit with the Nintendo logo where his head should be. It was awesome.
Hi there Nintendo, it’s me Joshua. As you know I have been a long time supporter of your company and the products you so graciously give to us gamers. I have been playing on your consoles ever since the NES and have been the proud owner of almost every system you have ever made. While I have become a bigger supporter of some of your rivals over the years (nothing personal, they just put out more games I enjoy) I have always remained true to my Nintendo roots. One of the biggest reasons for this is because of the amazing feature on the Wii that you like to refer to as the Virtual Console.
Why do I love your Virtual Console so much? It’s simple; it gives me the ability to play all those games I loved growing up. This alone makes it worth its weight in gold, but the fact that it also gives me the chance to try out some of those great old games I never got a chance to play. Every once in a while we like to have a “retro Game Night” at my house. My wife and I invite some friends over and we crowd around our Wii to play through some of the old gems you have made available to us once again.
Here is the thing though; I feel like there is something missing. While you do have an amazing selection of titles available to download I always find myself wanting more. Often I find my mind wandering, which of course usually leads to me thinking about videogames, and suddenly think “Oh man, I remember that game! I wish I could play it again!” This is where you come in Nintendo; you can help turn these strange daydreams into reality. So here is what I am going to do, I’m going to give you a list of the top 5 games I want to see on the Virtual console. It’s your job to pull whatever strings you need to pull and pay off whoever you need in order to but these games in my hands once again. In return I will gladly give you some of my hard earned cash in order for the chance to play them again. Sound like a deal? Good, now let’s start off with number 5.
5. Captain America and The Avengers- Super Nintendo Entertainment System/ Sega Genesis
In this title up to four players can choose from either Captain America, Hawkeye, Iron Man, and Vision in order to smash in the faces of bad guys in some side scrolling, beat ‘em up action. All the characters have the usual array of melee moves these kind of games feature, as well as a special ranged attack based off their particular super powers. The game involves the heroes facing off against the Red Skull and his army of henchmen and other supervillains he has assembled. On top of the usual ground based levels there are three levels that are more of a side scrolling shooter, with Captain America and Hawkeye riding vehicles while Iron Man and Vision fly. These help add a little something different to the game a keep it form becoming to stale, which can be a common complaint of this style of games. Other heroes have small cameos in the form of power-ups players can collect. When collected these power-ups allow players to summon these other heroes to assist them in combat.
This game combined two of my favorite things, superheroes and side-scrolling beat ‘em up action. I played a ton of these kinds of games back in my youth and this was always one of my favorites. Plus, with all the superhero hype (especially for The Avengers) you just know this game would do well in sales.
4. X-Men- Sega Genesis
This is another side scrolling game but it is more of an action/platforming style of game as opposed to the traditional beat ‘em up style many superhero games from this era ended up being. The game supports two players and you can choose to play as either Cyclops, Wolverine, Gambit, or Nightcrawler. Players could also call upon Storm, Rouge, Iceman, or Archangel to perform a powerful support attack.
All the characters can perform the same basic attacks, such as punches, kicks, and mid-air attacks, as well as using their mutant powers. The only slight downside is that players have a small bar of energy that limits the use of their mutant powers, making them rely more on basic attacks and forcing them to save mutant abilities for special occasions. Your mutant energy does restore over time, but at a very slow rate. Despite this limitation the game is quite fun and levels can be cleared in a couple different ways. This helps add some replay value to the game, encouraging players to explore the levels to find all the different ways to make it through.
There would need to be a slight change to the game before it could be released on the Virtual Console. At the end of one level players were required to softy press the reset button on their Sega Genesis in order to complete the level, making it one of the first games to break the fourth wall. Even though this was interesting (and frustrating) at the time I don’t see how the feature could be replicated on the Wii. If it could be circumvented in some way then today’s players would get a chance to play one of the most fun X-Men games ever made.
3. Earthbound- Super Nintendo Entertainment System
First a little history lesson for everyone, Earthbound was originally titled Mother 2 when released in Japan, the name was changed to Earthbound when the game was ported to the US. The game was a hit, causing many player to call for the original Mother and Mother 3 to be released in the US as well, something that never happened. If you have never heard of the game there is still a good chance you have at least had some experience with its main character if you ever played Super Smash Brothers. Ness, everyone’s favorite master of TK attacks, is the main character from Earthbound.
Earthbound is a Japanese style RPG where players take control of Ness and three other children as they attempt to save the world from Giygas, an alien from a distant galaxy with the power to influence people using their own evil nature. The game itself is somewhat of a parody of American Culture and RPGs in general, something that has helped it to become somewhat of a cult classic. In lieu of traditional weapons players often find themselves using items such as baseball bats and yo-yo’s as their main weapon. Instead of magic the main characters have access to powerful psychic attacks, known as TK attacks in game, which can be used to either damage enemies or support the party.
One of the most interesting things about the game is the final boss battle against Giygas himself. I won’t spoil anything for people who have never played, but suffice to say it is one of the creepiest and most unusual final battles I have ever experienced. You are not even able to defeat him in the traditional manner, requiring players to find an unusual method for downing him. It makes for one of the most memorable final battles in any game I have played, and it is worth playing the game just to experience.
2. Conker’s Bad Fur Day- Nintendo 64
This game was probably the most mature title released on the N64, and easily one of the most mature titles that Nintendo has ever released. That is reason enough for it to be available on the Virtual Console, which is severely lacking in the Mature games department. But under all the humor and the controversy is a game that is genuinely fun to play.
Players take control of Conker, a foul mouthed squirrel who is trying to find his way home after a night of heavy drinking. Along the way players perform tasks that usually end with them collecting wads of cash with adorable little eyes attached to them. Collecting enough cash allows players to open new areas and advance the plot. Eventually the focus changes from trying find your way home to tracking down Conker’s girlfriend. The game is filled will parodies of movies and other video games, and is one of the funniest games I have ever player. I admit that a lot of the humor is crude, but that doesn’t stop it from getting the job done.
The game is a 3-D action-platformer, very much like what you would find in Super Mario 64. Players usually smack enemies with a frying pan to do damage, but different areas and puzzles often grant you new abilities in order to proceed. For example, in one section you are transported to a World War 2 style area which gives you access to guns, while another has you consuming large quantities of beer so you can….uh…..put out fires in a very manly fashion.
One of the biggest draws for me, and the reason the N64 version is superior to the XBOX remake, is the multiplayer mode. There are several different modes to choose from, each putting you in control of different factions from within the game. Some have you pitching evil little teddy bears against squirrels in team deathmatch style while others have to taking control of either a raptor or a caveman in a capture the flag style match. There is even a racing mode if you want to test your driving skills, as well as more variations of modes than I have room to list here. The multiplayer in this game is one of the most interesting, unique, and well executed I have ever had the pleasure to play. I still wonder to this day why it was changed in the XBOX remake, and I would download this game in a heartbeat based on the multiplayer mode alone.
And the number one game I want on the Virtual Console is (drumroll please)……………………
1. Donkey Kong 64- Nintendo 64
Why in the hell is this game not already available for download? I absolutely love the Donkey Kong Country franchise, I was quick to purchase the 3 SNES games as soon as they were available on the virtual console and I have wanted this game forever in order to finish my collection. It’s a differnt style from the “Country” games, but it is no less fun.
An action-platformer game like Conker’s Bad Fur Day (both were developed by Rare so no surprise there), this game has you taking control of 5 different characters in order to explore Donkey Kong’s island, track down his bananas, and fight off the Kremlings. You start out the game with just Donkey Kong, but you quickly add Diddy Kong to your roster of playable Kongs. They are joined by three brand new characters; Lankey Kong, an Orangutan with long reach, Tiny Kong, Dixie Kong’s little sister who can float in the air with her hair just like her older sister, and Chunky Kong, the massive older brother of Kiddie Kong from DKC 3. The three Kongs all have their own unique abilities that they must use in order to track down bananas, coins, and other items that are unique to them. For example, Donkey Kong can only collect yellow bananas and coins while Diddy can only collect red bananas and coins, and so on. Players need to switch between all five different Kongs in order to track down enough items in order to proceed to new areas. Each Kong also gets a unique weapon and musical instrument to further round out the own abilities and allow them to proceed to all the different areas. There is a multiplayer mode, but it really isn’t all that fun. Luckily the awesome single player mode is more than enough to keep you busy.
This game had a major influence on Donkey Kong games that came after. You remember those Donkey Konga games on the Gamecube? They were inspired by the bongos that Donkey Kong used in this game. If you ever had fun shooting foes with Diddy’s peanut popguns or flying around on his jetpack in either Super Smash Brothers Brawl or Donkey Kong Country Returns? They were first given to him in this game. This was also the last of the traditional Donkey Kong games to feature the Kremlings, the one thing I felt was missing from Donkey Kong Country Returns.
When you look at just how much fun this game is to play and how much of an effect it has had on the Donkey Kong Series it makes me wonder why I can’t start playing this on my Wii right now. It also happens to be the game on this list that I think has the best chance of actually being released on the Virtual Console some point. Seriously Nintendo, give me this game now, right now. Stop developing new games and make this happen.
Well there you have it Nintendo, these are my Top 5 games I want you to let me pay you to play again. There are many more out there as well and I hope you continue to make great old school games available to gamers though this service. Maybe I will get lucky on the Wii U and you will let us download Gamecube games as well, because that would be an absolute treat. Just make sure you let me transfer all my purchases from the Wii to the Wii U because I really don’t want to buy them a third time.