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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Dark Side of Nintendo's Virtual Console

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - You like nostalgia? You stay there. Forever.

The Virtual Console was one of the Wii's selling points: Nintendo's whole back catalogue available for you to buy (with a great discounted price, too). This means we can finally play great cult games like EarthBound and buy 'em on-demand (which didn't actually happen until the Wii U came out). While there have been terrible releases on the Virtual Console (made worse with its drip-feed release schedule), overall, porting these old games to the new consoles is a net positive. The Virtual Console allows people to relive games or play 'em for the first time to allow them to get into new franchises, or even teach the young'ns what real gaming is all about.

Last week, the amazing game Paper Mario on the Nintendo 64 was released on the Wii U's Virtual Console, though you could have been playing it on the Wii's for years now, like I did to make my Let's Play of the game (without using badges!). The Wii port was one of my most highly-recommended games from the Club Nintendo catalogue (oh, and you can win it FOR FREE right here on KoopaTV: read here for more).

Virtual Console on Wii.
It's not even called the Virtual Console anymore, is it?

You know what was my least-recommended game? Its sequel. Let's bring out the picture again.

700 coins for garbage, or 250 coins for bliss.
Unfortunately, Shigeru Miyamoto and his mole within Intelligent Systems, Taro Kudo, declared that Paper Mario: Sticker Star, which totally departs from everything that made its prequels so great, would be the "new standard for future Paper Mario games."

So you know what the Virtual Console allows? It lets people like Miyamoto say, "Hey, you want a Paper Mario game that's an RPG? Well, we're rereleasing Paper Mario on Wii U! Go play that!" While they continue development of who-knows-what abomination.

The Virtual Console allows developers to take the easy route of keeping players in a nostalgia-trap. Don't like where we're going with these new titles? Hey, we just rereleased these old ones. Go play 'em.

As Nintendo continues to go down the path of "modernisation" (and I say that with great disdain in the same way I say "progressive" with disdain), they can continually trot out the old titles to try to pacify the angry old-school people like me. 

Until the NX comes out, then watch as they restart the Virtual Console from a blank slate again. (That's not a promise.)

But, yeah, let it be known: Old titles are not a substitute for new ones. That's why I was so unnerved that, for a while, the 3DS's line-up was just remakes.

You know what'd be the worst? If Nintendo held sequels (in the style we want them) hostage like people thought they would  hold new IPs hostage if Code Name S.T.E.A.M. didn't sell (and it flopped). Basically this: Miyamoto says, "Hey, you want Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door 2? Well, you all better re-buy Paper Mario's port on the Wii U or else you're not getting it! Mwahahahaa!"

Now, Bill Trinen, go translate what I just said!

While Miyamoto (or anyone else in Nintendo) might not be so nefariously explicit, this may be their attitude internally. (So buy EarthBound if you haven't so we can get Mother 3 outside Japan, please.)

And that's the dark side: A nostalgia, hostage-taking trap.

In the meantime, please enjoy Paper Mario on Nintendo 64 if you have never played it before! 

Ludwig played a ton of the old games he missed on the Wii's Virtual Console or Game Boy Advance/DS  remakes, so his Wii U Virtual Console line-up looks unpatriotic because he doesn't want to buy a port of a game he already owns and can play. Also, his Mega Man X3 froze forever on Wii U so he doesn't want to touch it ever again.

For visual artwork of Shigeru Miyamoto holding things hostage, click here for his appearance as an ISIS terrorist.
This dark side came true, with Paper Mario: Color Splash being directly based from Paper Mario: Sticker Star.
A dark side of inferior ports: People might not appreciate how good the original game was.


  1. Don't view it as the games being taken hostage, view it as sending a message! Paper Mario becomes a big seller--AND draws in new players who haven't played it before--and suddenly they realize that huh, maybe games with story aren't so bad after all! (Plus, they can't be completely oblivious to the general hatred people feel toward Sticker Star, right?)

    ...but speaking of taking games hostage, where is our AAI2?? We met your demands, Capcom, Dual Destinies sold well...

    1. They could be oblivious to it.
      I mean, they were oblivious to why people liked the series to begin with.


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