Nintendo’s Top 10 Games Still Missing From The Virtual Console
It has been 844 days since the Wii was released here in the U.S., and since the day it was released, classic titles from my childhood show up every Monday courtesy of the Virtual Console. It’s like a little chocolate chip cookie for me to wake up to first thing in the morning as I begin my trudge through another week. Over the last two plus years the V.C. has had its ups and downs; from great classic titles that never saw Stateside release, to weeks and weeks of virtual drought. However, through the thick and thin, the retro gamer inside me has stuck with it, in hopes that some of my all-time favorites would become available for me to download, and play again, all at the click of a button. However, even after all this time, and all these weeks, there’s still a hearty list of essential Nintendo titles that are still missing - and I’m talking about first party Nintendo published games. I mean, it’s fine with me, just one more missed opportunity for Nintendo to take my money, but the thing is, I’ll gladly pay to play a lot of these games, in most cases for the second or third time. Whether these games will ever make it on the V.C. is unknown to me, but hopefully someday I’ll be able to give Nintendo more of my hard earned money, just to reminisce about being a kid. Below is my list of Nintendo’s Top 10 games that are still missing from the Virtual Console, and it’s restricted only to games that were published by Nintendo at the time of their original release. Who owns them now might be a whole different story.
10. Conker’s Bad Fur Day (N64 - Original Release: 4.4.01)
“Conker’s Bad Fur Day” helped Nintendo and the N64 pop their proverbial cherries, being the first “M” rated title published by the normally squeaky clean company, on a console that wasn’t known for its “adult content.” I fear that the same fart and drinking jokes that made “Conker” so unique back in 2001 may be the same reason that it has yet to make it to Nintendo’s download service … well that and a little dispute The Big N seems to be having with the game’s developers, Rare. Sure, I could go play the Xbox version… but why would I want to when I can play the original?
9. Mario Paint (SNES - Original Release - 5.5.92)
It’s funny, one of the best things that the Wii remote is used for is being a pointer, which, in reality, means it serves pretty much the same purpose as a mouse. When “Mario Paint” was originally released, it was meant to maximize the capabilities of the mouse peripheral that was packed in with it. Am I the only one that sees potential cross-over success here, a revitalization of one of Nintendo’s first non-games? While a direct port is pretty much out of the question, it’s at the top of the list for a slight update, in the same way that “Pokemon Snap” received some Wii Connect 24 sharing. While it could foster the creative growth of young children, and even open up the platform to new users. That stuff’s all well and good, but we all know it’s really all about the fly swatting game and hearing the opening “Ugachuga” theme again.
8. Super Mario All-Stars (SNES - Original Release - 8.1.93)
Nintendo’s taken our money re-releasing every game on this compilation already on the Virtual Console, please just do it again, and give us the updated 16-bit remakes of our classic games that we’ve already bought over, and over again. It worked back in ‘93, who’s to say it won’t work again sixteen years later. I think most gamers would love to see some of their favorites “updated” with better graphics, sound, and a few other little goodies mixed in. Don’t get me wrong I downloaded “The Lost Levels” the day it was released, but I really think I deserve to relive them the way they were originally released in the U.S., in 16 glorious bits.
7. Final Fantasy (NES - Original Release - 7.12.90)
The “Final Fantasy” franchise is most famous for being the game that saved Square, and it did, with a little help from Nintendo, who published the original game in North America (hence the reason it made the list). I still contend that this is easily the best “Final Fantasy” game ever released, but that may be because I’m a bit of an 8-bitophile, and the simple but compelling story mixed with random battles is a weird form of ecstasy for me. The fact is, Square Enix has released this game, or remakes of it, on virtually every other platform known to man, would it be such a sin to re-release it in its original incarnation? The answer is no. I’d love to beat it again … in fact I have, on my GBA, PSP, etc….
6. Kung Fu (NES - Original Release - 10.1.85)
A lot of the early NES games had this inexplicable draw to them that made you want to play them over and over and over, back when starting over again meant going back to the beginning of the first level. “Kung Fu” was one of these games, and it did it remarkably well. After only a few play-throughs you could learn which direction your attackers were trying to hug you from, or where those little green snake things were going pop out. It really was a great little game, even if it did reinforce a few less than pleasant stereotypes. Little known fact - according to Wikipedia, “Kung Fu” apparently stars Jackie Chan; and I think I just figured out why this game hasn’t been ported yet… damn you licensing issues. (Perhaps that now explains the mysterious asterisk on the game’s box… No… Wait… I just checked my copy of the game, and the asterisk was just there to indicate that Irem owns the copyright.)
5. Devil World (NES - Original Release - 10.5.84 - JP)
Shigeru Miyamoto’s only release to never see a U.S. release, and all because of its name. Apparently, back in the 1980’s it wasn’t cool to have the world “Devil” in your title… my how things have changed. While the game’s main character may have made a brief appearance in “Super Smash Bros. Brawl” as an assist trophy, there’s a good chance that not many gamers (not even Nintendo fanboys) know much about the game, or that it even that it exists. Now would be a great time for you, Nintendo, to take this opportunity to educate your U.S. fanbase, and teach them about your long and colorful history, by releasing a game they never got to play. Really, I’m sure gamers would love to see a “new” 8-bit game from the brain that brought us Mario, staring the Devil, and riddled with random Christian references.
4. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island (SNES - Original Release - 10.6.95)
It may be one of the most amazing looking games on the SNES, as well as the sequel to Mario’s best adventure, and that’s why it’s actually remarkable that “Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island” has yet to appear on the V.C. I mean really Nintendo, isn’t it about time that you introduced the younger generation to a game that you released too late in its original console’s lifespan for it to truly be appreciated, or are you looking to make the same mistake again? Perhaps you’re just looking to spare the world from having to hear Baby Mario cry like someone took his favorite toy wrench? Well, if it is, in fact, the second one, I guess a thank you is in order.
3. Super Mario Kart (SNES - Original Release - 9.1.92)
You gave us “Mario Kart 64″ within a couple of months of the Wii’s release, but the game that started the kart-craze has been consistently absent. Sure, it’s not as advanced as the 64 version, and many would argue that it’s just not as fun, but I’m positive there’s a few gamers out there, myself included, that would would really love to take another lap around Koopa Beach, or hit that extra bump after the jump on Mario Circuit 2, or, dare I say, tackle the original Rainbow Road.
2. Earthbound (SNES - Original Release - 6.1.95)
“Earthbound” is yet another one of Nintendo’s classics that only lives on outside of Japan courtesy of “Smash Bros.” The irony of this of course being that the series was actually popularized well after the only version of the game was released in the States. If you put two and two together. that means the only way that someone’s going to be able to investigate the history of Ness is if they still have a working SNES, and are willing to shell out at least $100 on eBay (or use an emulator, but TrueGameHeadz does not condone such activities). I realize that the game appears to be caught up in some weird licensing issues right now, but shouldn’t things like that have been addressed when the game was originally released? Right now, I feel like Nintendo is depriving us of one of the greatest games ever made, and I die a little inside every week when I see that “Earthbound” isn’t being released on the Virtual Console.
1. Super Smash Bros. (N64 - Original Release - 4.26.99)
Seriously, why hasn’t the original version of one of Nintendo’s most successful franchises been released yet? I know, both superior versions are available on the Wii, but c’mon this game needs to be on my Wii right now. Just the thought of going back and being able to pummel Link with Mario blew minds in ‘99, but, ten years later, Nintendo has yet to let gamers in the states relive their past, in its original, 64-bit, blocky form. It’s really a shame that such a truly groundbreaking, classic fighter has yet to be released on the V.C. Japan got it a few weeks ago, but us Americans still have to sit and wait patiently… just like we’ve had to do repeatedly for the last 25 years, in order to play almost any other game worth playing. All I ask is that Nitnendo, please, give us your mascots so we can beat them again and again.