Back when the Wii was first announced, one of the things Nintendo used to entice gamers was the Virtual Console. The Virtual Console was touted as a service where we could download and play all of our favorite NES, SNES, and N64 games. Later, they even added Sega Master System, Sega Genesis, TurboGrafx-16, and Neo Geo games. Classic gamers loved it.
Without a doubt, a number of great games have been released for the Wii's Virtual Console, but overall Nintendo dropped the ball and was very inconsistent in releasing new titles. Because of this, many people's favorite games were never released.
Fast forward to now. We are in a very similar situation. Nintendo has just announced the 3DS, the next iteration in their insanely successful handheld line. They have also mentioned that the 3DS will get a Virtual Console of its own, this time with games that were originally released on Game Boy and Game Boy Color. In anticipation of this and as a follow-up to our top five most anticipated 3DS games, we have thrown together a list of the top five games we’d like to see released for the 3DS’ virtual console. Listen up, Nintendo!
#5. Game and Watch Gallery (Game Boy)
When it comes to Nintendo properties, you can’t get anymore old school than Game and Watch. Before Nintendo was the video game juggernaut that you know today, they made handheld LCD “Game and Watches”. Each unit contained a simple game along with a clock/alarm, hence the name. After the advent of the Game Boy, Nintendo started rereleasing these bite sized games in collections known as Game and Watch Galleries.
The first of these, Game and Watch Gallery, is an elegant and simple collection of addictive games. It includes four Game and Watch classics, each with a traditional and modern mode. The traditional mode presents the games exactly as they were on the LCD Game and Watches, but the modern one updates the graphics and puts Mario and other Nintendo characters into the gameplay. Releasing this game on the 3DS’ Virtual Console is the perfect way to introduce the series to younger gamers or those that missed it the first time around.
#4. Wario Land 3 (Game Boy Color)
Back in 1994, Nintendo released Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3, which gave Mario a vacation and provided Wario with his first starring role. With the success of the first Wario Land, several Wario games were released over the next six years. Each game improved upon its predecessor and was an enjoyable experience, but the series reached an all time high with Wario Land 3.
Wario Land 3 is a unique platformer. Instead of the normal platformer antics which consist of destroying enemies and dodging spikes, Wario Land 3 is more focused on puzzles. Wario is invincible and cannot be killed by enemies, however, players are forced to use the enemies to their advantage. For example, certain blocks must be set on fire to pass through, thus Wario must collide with a specific enemy and catch himself on fire in order to traverse that area. Wario Land 3 is one of the most flawless games made for the Game Boy Color.
#3. Shantae (Game Boy Color)
Some gamers may recognize Shantae from her recent outing on DSiWare, Shantae: Risky's Revenge, but to most she is a complete unknown. Shantae originated as a Game Boy Color game, but came out after the handheld’s life cycle, when most publishers were releasing Game Boy Advance games. Because of this unfortunate timing, the quirky Shantae was overlooked by many and is something of a hidden gem.
In Shantae you can whip enemies with your hair and perform dances that transform you and give certain abilities such as flying and climbing. These special abilities are then used to reach hidden areas and complete puzzles. There is a lot of backtracking, but it never feels tedious. In fact, as far as the joy of back tracking goes, Shantae rivals Super Metroid.
The game is filled with charm and never fails to impress. It is an excellent platformer that incorporates clever puzzle elements and top of the line graphics for the Game Boy Color.
#2. Pokemon Red/Blue/Yellow (Game Boy Color)
Wow. What can I say about the Pokemon series that hasn’t already been said hundreds of times? They are amazing games in every aspect. My experience with the series began with Pokemon Yellow, the slightly updated version of Red and Blue, and has continued ever since then. As with all of the core Pokemon games, Red, Blue and Yellow are a blast to play and some of the most addictive RPGs ever.
Some people may think a Red/Blue/Yellow re-release on the 3DS' Virtual Console is unnecessary considering the upcoming release of Pokemon Black and White, but I beg to differ. These games hold an incredible amount of nostalgia for those who cut their teeth on them, and also offer a great gameplay experience for newer gamers who have never played them.
#1. Zelda: Oracle of Ages/Seasons (Game Boy Color)
Everyone loves Zelda games, so why not release two at the same time? This was Nintendo’s logic with Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons, and it's hard to argue against. Each game is a finely tuned adventure game in its own right, with unique locations, items, and style.
Ages tends to focus more on puzzles while Seasons is more action packed, yet neither one is unbalanced. The interaction between the two games is clever and can be used to trade or upgrade items between titles. Additionally, after beating either of the games you receive a password that unlocks an alternate version and allows the other game to be played as a sequel. These two games could also implement the 3DS' Tag Mode very well.
Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons together create the best Game Boy Color experience and it would be a crime to not release them on the 3DS' Virtual Console.
That wraps it up for our top five games for the 3DS' Virtual Console. After going through two entire systems worth of games, I am reminded of how many great games Nintendo has released on their various handhelds. In fact, I want to fire up my old Game Boy Color and revisit some of its premier titles. I was already excited about the 3DS, but the more I think about the Virtual Console, the more I hope they do it justice and release games consistently. Hopefully, we will see the above games again soon.
What games do you want to see on the 3DS Virtual Console? Do you agree with all of the games mentioned above?