Friday, September 22, 2006

Virtual Console Support - And My List of Demands

This photo comes from the presentation speech by Nintendo yesterday. It shows the extensive support among third-party publishers for Wii's Virtual Console.

Currently, there are only a small number of titles set for release on VC at the time of launch, around one or two dozen. Nintendo is promising a steady stream of releases among various consoles. It seems most of the major NES players are present. And is that the Masya logo I see? Will we see M.U,S,H.A. and Target Earth on Virtual Genesis?

At the very least, I'm hoping that Nintendo and the third-parties will release titles a lot quicker than Micorsoft's trickle with XBLA.

Now, minna-san, here's what I want to see from the Virtual Console: online multiplayer. I want online multiplayer games on this thing. And I'm not opening my wallet before I get it.

Here's my angle: I have a computer, and on my hard drive are emulators for nearly every major games console ever released. At any time, I can fire up and play Atari 2600, Atari 800 computer, NES, SMS, Turbografx/PC Engine, Genesis, Super NES, Sega CD, Jaguar, Nintendo 64, Lynx, Gameboy, GBA, and, for a time, Saturn. There's also this little thing called MAME, which runs thousands of arcade games.

Why should I shell out $5, $8, or $10 for a sinlge game, when I have all of these same games on my PC? Why should you cough up your hard-earned money when compilation releases like Midway Arcade or Namco Museum offer far more games for a low price? Nintendo, you see, needs to bring something more to the table. Merely offering existing ROMs for download isn't going to work.

$10 to play Mario Kart 64 sounds too expensive, especially when I'm having to pay $60 for extra Wii controllers. But what if Nintendo offers online multiplayer? Mario Kart 64, four player games, against anyone in the world? That's a deal! Sign me up; I'll be the first in line.

A cursory glance at the greatest multiplayer games - Herzog Zwei, Super Bomberman 2, Warlords, M.U.L.E., NES Ice Hockey - shows the immense opportunity that Virtual Console could offer. From a technical standpoint, it's a cinch to achieve; emulators have been including online play for years. In fact, it's something that Nintendo could implement at a future date in time, reworked into their emulator program code.

Microsoft bleeds consumers dry with Live Arcade, but they've figured out how to tap into the online world successfully. Nintendo always lags behind these trends, preferring to stay in their own world and call the shots. That isn't an option here. Software publishers are eager for the added revenue stream VC and XBLA provide, but will consumers pay up for their old games again, without any new extras? You already paid for Super Mario Brothers on NES, SNES, Gameboy Color and GBA. Think it's worth another five bucks?

So there are my demands. I want online multiplay on VC, or no dice. I'll simply wait for the emulators to appear (and they will, I promise you that), and then burn a few disks. I already bought these games once when I was a kid, and I'm not getting suckered like the rest of the chumps.

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