Sunday, September 18, 2011

5 Games NIntendo Should Put on Virtual Console

Over the years Nintendo has made some great games, but not all of them were available to a very large amount of people, so in the end they were lost to the abyss of time and obscurity. Some of these games weren't even made for a regular console or released outside of Japan, and that's left a lot of fans hanging dry. To the relief of many old timers, Nintendo's attempt to rival the X-Box Live Arace, the Virtual Console, has made a lot of these games available, sometimes with a few small updates. Still, things are missing, so I've taken it upon myself to help Nintendo fill in the gaps.

1. Duck Hunt

Duck Hunt was a pretty innovative game back when it was released in 1984. It was the first game to utilize the Nintendo Zapper product, which would be the forefather of the many numerous plastic-molded, pixel-murdering guns crafted by Nintendo, a tradition which is still somewhat carried on. The game also hosts a notable cast of imaginitavely colored ducks, and the prickiest pooch ever to paw his way into my heart.

But man, if I had a copy of Vs. Duck Hunt...
The Duck Hunt legacy carries on into today, even without Nintendo. The game's place as a pioneer and a legend has made it a household title into the modern generation, and almost everybody can recognize both the dog and the fruity-flavored fowls who pester him. Despite this, Nintendo has never made an actual sequel to the game, nor have they ever shown an interest in porting it to one of their more recent consoles. Occassionally the game will receive a cameo of some kind, such as being one of the many Micro Mini Games featured in the WarioWare franchise.

The Ducks also got a pretty sweet trophy in Super Smash Bros. Melee.
The most obvious reason for the lack of a port is that technology has moved on, or there isn't an appropriate light gun system for the current consoles. However, the Wii came along and made any of these excuses completely obsolete. The system is practically designed with Duck Hunt in mind, as Nintendo themselves proved in a tech demo. A pretty damn sexy tech demo, I might add. I want that shit in my game library right now.

Knowing this, I can't see a reason why Nintendo would keep their classic masterpiece lurking in the dark any longer. Nintendo, it's time to free the ducks!

2. Wario's Woods (SNES)

"Hang on, Nate. Wario's Woods is already on the Virutal Console, and it was in Animal Crossing. We've seen this shit so many times I'm being put to sleep just thinking about it."

That may be true, but have you seen this shit?

"Oh, well, I guess that's a little different... Please, go on."

Why thank you, good audience. You see, there were actually two versions of Wario's Woods developed right alongside each other, though they have some differences. Unfortunately, Nintendo apparently hates the SNES version of the game, which is the better of the two. It was the first (and I think, only) game to actually star Toad as the leading man, and he came with a slew of interesting supporting characters and adversaries that we, regrettably, have not seen since.

Katsini, oh Katsini. Where the hell are you, Katsini?
This was also the first major appearance of Birdo as one of the good guys, as she served as a kind of cheerleader for Toad. Additionally, the little known character Wanda made this her final act. It can only be assumed that at some point prior to the game's story, she was shot down by Wario's might warplane.

"I'mma da Red Baron, bitch!"
Wario's Woods was one of the first puzzle games I actually gave a damn about, because it was Mario, and because it was more than just one color block falling ontop of other color blocks. It was one color block falling ontop of other color blocks and then me picking that shit up and putting it in its place! It also featured all those other characters I mentioned, and at the time, Vs. style gameplay in a puzzle was simply unheard of.

Keeping this piece of Nintendo history hidden from the world is simply an injustice. To combat this, you should all painstakingly dig through every yardsale until you find a copy and a working SNES.

3. Joy Mech Fight

Joy Mech Fight is one of those obscure, Japanese NES games with an absurd cult following in the US the likes of which should encourage any gaming company to invest the minimal effort of translating and emulating the title, a task which is made easier by the fact that this has already been done, and all anybody would have to do is literally copy that ROM file.

Regardless, Nintendo still hasn't done so, which is a terrible, terrible marketing move. Joy Mech Fight doesn't have an audience simply because it's an obscure Asian game, it has an audience because it's a badass obscure Asian game. The concept of the game is to steal all of the basic plot concepts from Mega Man but turn into a fighting game with one of the most oddball protagonists this side of Canada.

The best cure for comedy is a punch in the face!
Sukapon is a robot that wasn't designed for combat, he was built for the sole purpose of making people laugh. His one primary function was comedy, until all of his brothers were kidnapped by Nintendo's version of Dr. Wily, and Nintendo's version of Dr. Light had to retool his lighthearted little friend into a deadly war machine.

Just because Nintendo couldn't think up their own plot doesn't mean the game is condemned to be a gigantic rip-off failure. On the contrary, actually. As a fighter of its age and platform, Joy Mech Fight is pretty advanced. The characters are all interesting, and they all have a unique playstyle that reflects their specific adaptations. Enjoy some gameplay you'll never see on your TV:

4. Mario Kart Arcade GP

I recently put some serious praise out for the Mario Kart franchise with the exception of one utter failure, but I had neglected to mention a pair of titles that followed the Mario Kart tradition and were both worthy and unique successors to those that came before them: Mario Kart Arcade GP, and Mario Kart Arcade GP 2. While there are two games in part of this mini-series, I'll only be discussing the first.

That would be this one.
Right off that bat you're going to notice something odd about this game, in a pretty awesome way. If you haven't seen it yet, go take a look at the picture two lines up. Oh, who might that be taking aim at Nintendo's beloved mascot? It's his industry predecessor, of course! Before Sonic tried to muscle out the mustachioed man, he was hopping his way over the old timers. While Pac-Man really hasn't aged well, he's in it to win it, and he's not alone. Ms. Pac-Man, and their arch-nemesis Blinky join the kart races alongside the Mario Big 8, and they don't seem out of place in the least. Actually, they fit right in, and I'm kind of disappointed these two have never had the opportunity to team up in other spin-offs. It's almost as if Pac-Land is some weird neighboring country to the Mushroom Kingdom.

Typically the Mario Kart games have one or two big gimmicks that carry them as a unique title. Double Dash had twin racers, Wii had motorcycles, and Super Mario Kart was simply an innovative title. While the game itself doesn't really offer too much new to the franchise, Mario Kart Arcade GP does handle like an arcade game, which it should, but it isn't because it was built into a cabinet. The game's engine, camera angles, sound effects, visuals, everything about it screams "arcade," which is all a gimmick in its own right. But it had one other ace in the hole that wasn't another left field crossover:

It took your picture.
Mario Kart Arcade GP came with a built in camera that would take a picture of your face and use that in place of the standard mugshot. While the current incarnation of the Wii doesn't come equipped with a camera, it does have two features that could take its place: the Mii channel, and the photo channel. By allowing the game to draw possible resources from these channels, players could still put their faces inside of Mario's stinking, thirty-year-old hat.

Aside from Namco's own mascot showing up to keep Mario on his toes, this game has one other thing separating it from the rest of the franchise: it's only available in the arcades. Because of this simple fact, I've been hoping for the title to show up on Wii ever since the Virtual Console was first announced, but alas, no such luck. For a while I lost hope, but that was reinvigorated when Nintendo unveiled the Virtual Console Arcade. And what a better place to use as a launch pad for their own arcade games? Unfortunately Nintendo doesn't seem interested in providing much outside of the 8-bit realm, so the wait carries on.

5. Donkey Kong 64

Donkey Kong 64 was the second member in the sisterhood of the Rare titles released on the N64 back in the late nineties. It was intended to have a tie-in with Banjo-Kazooie's famously unfinished Stop-n-Swap feature, but whatever this was going to do has long since been forgotten. Regardless, Donkey Kong 64 is a great game with a lot of depth and charm.

Really, how much more charm could you ask for? You got Lanky Kong!
This game was less of a follow-up to the Donkey Kong Country trilogy that blessed the Super Nintendo, and more of a game all its own. There was clearly a great deal of influence from Rare's previous title, Banjo-Kazooie, but DK64 did a lot to personify itself and embrace the fact that you were controlling a family of primates in a partially civilized jungle environment. While it is a bit of a collect fest, the collecting is always fun, and most of it is optional. Plus, there's something special about seeing all the oddly colored bananas and hearing that satisfyingly soft noise when you pick them up.

Unfortunately, I think there's one real key reason this hasn't shown up on the Virtual Console: because Nintendo would have to replace a small portion of it.

This portion.
Rare has always been big on referencing their own past endeavors, and the past of their parent companies, and they just love dropping in little cameos wherever they can. Or at least, 90's Rare did. That was part of the charm of the set of games they developed for the N64. They all had little nods to themselves and other cool titles. Donkey Kong 64 contained two specialty games that were required in order to progress within the main game. In one instance, you have to crash the big ape's party old school by actually besting the first three rounds of the Donkey Kong arcade cabinet. To make things even, Rare added Jetpac, one of their own arcade games, later on, which was required for a prize that I can't quite recall at the moment.

Unfortunately, Nintendo sold Rare and most of its licenses to Microsoft at the beginning of the last generation (which is actually ages ago, now that I think about it. Damn, I'm old.) Because of this, Nintendo would either need to go through legal hell to get the game up as it is, or put some effort into modifying the game to include one of their other arcade titles in place of Jetpac, and honestly I don't know if they even have the capabilities to do that since they weren't developers.

But if they could, man, I'd jam with the D.K. Crew. Yeah.

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