Saturday, September 15, 2007

Turbografx CD Games Coming to Virtual Console

Another excellent piece of news for fans of the Virtual Console. According to Joystiq, who cited a Japanese web source, PC Engine CD titles will start appearing on Nintendo's Virtual Console in Japan in October. No doubt this will translate into North American releases from the Turbograxf/TurboDuo library.

The first two releases are Y's I & II, Falcom's legendary Action/RPG series; and Chou Aniki, which can gracefully be called the Gayest Videogame Of All Time. Suffice it to say, I don't think there's much chance of seeing that one here, though it would make for an interesting spectacle. Games will sell for 800 Wii Points, the same as Mega Drive/Genesis titles.

Now, this is where things really start to get interesting. As the Virtual Console comes into its own (and we'll just have to make our peace with not having online multiplayer), more Japanese games that never saw an American release will appear for download. Battle Loadrunner was one example; Treasure's Sin and Punishment will be another.

Those games will be crucial for bringing in the hardcore gamers, many of which still aren't impressed with Wii's emphasis on casual games. This is a skillful method of roping that crowd in. And now that the TurboDuo CD is arriving, that means everyone will be smacking their chops at the prospect of finally, at long last, getting their grubby mitts on That Game....

You know what I'm talking about:

Believe me, there is a significant crowd of hardcore fans who will buy a Nintendo Wii, just to play this game on their television screens. Heck, I would.

Joystiq raises an issue on the feasibility of bringing CD games onto the Wii, which has 512MB of on-board memory. Aren't CD's capable of storing much more memory? Won't they fit onto the console? Would Nintendo eventually have to offer some form of memory upgrade?

Well, folks, issues like this are exactly the reason why every videogame blogger and website writer should have a full collection of emulators and roms. You should be able to pull up your games library at any moment. After reading they Joystiq post, I went to take a look at the memory sizes of my Sega CD games for comparison. Fortunately, I was reminded of a little-known-at-the-time fact about the first generation of CD games - they don't use anywhere near all the memory space of the disc. True, these games offered full-motion video (ugh, still gaming's worst idea ever), recorded voice, redbook audio, and the like. But they are still manage to take up a small space.

Let's take a look. Sonic CD takes up 163MB. Snatcher sits at 173MB. Panic, one of my favorites, is pretty multi-media heavy, but it still only comes to 254MB. Lunar 2: Eternal Blue is the largest in my collection, weighing in at 324MB. The first Lunar is much smaller, 52MB.

So, clearly, there's no worry about fitting onto the Wii's memory. There's plenty of room to spare. Heck, even most Sega Saturn games could fit onto the Wii. And I really don't expect to see any later consoles on Virtual Console, anyway. Saturn would be a tremendous coup, but there's still issues with emulating that console. So, for all practical purposes, the Wii has enough room for everyone.

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