Originally Posted on September 8, 2006: Link.
Sure, there is a lot of excitement surrounding the upcoming Nintendo Wii’s launch and those Wiimote games that are sure to have those fanboys salivating, but I’ve been jumping up and down for an entirely different reason, and that happens to be the ability to play on the innovative, jubilation celebration that is the Virtual Console.
For those out of the loop, the Nintendo’s “virtual console” system is a video game download service that features classics titles from past Nintendo consoles. It is not known exactly which titles will be available, but so far, Nintendo has confirmed that from the pool of thousands of games to be chosen, the “best of them” will be available. Games downloaded will be stored directly to the built-in flash memory inside of the Wii, and the USB slots on the back will also allow the use of external storage devices, such as a hard drive. Thus far, Sega and Hudson Soft have also joined with Nintendo, and there are talks of other third-party developers joining the fray.
But enough of that bunch of hoo-hah. The reason I began this article in the first place was to give you, the audience, a glimpse into the games that I would pay the money to download and play for weeks, even months on end, provided my college education doesn’t get in the way (although I’m sure it will if I make it that way). What titles from these powerhouse companies have me all up in a tizzle? Why don’t we find out? I’ll throw a few RPGs and various other titles that I’m looking forward to the most. Here’s to hoping the the Sega Dreamcast, CD, and Saturn make the list (I want my NiGHTS, dammit!).
NOTE: These titles are in no direct order. I will try and stay away from the obvious choices, and ignore the whole licensing issues, because even if I could stray into the popular titles, which I do whole-heartedly appreciate, I want to give you my take on the titles that should be your second or third choices.
SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System)
Super Punch-Out!!– The best boxing game I have ever had the chance of playing (even better than Fight Night). Everything from the hilarious characters like Gabby Jay and Bear Hugger, to Dragon Chan (those mutha’truckin kicks…) and Narcis Prince. Anyone looking for a fun sports game from Nintendo’s past needs to start here.
Mario Paint – This would be the absolute perfect compliment to the Wiimote in Nintendo’s arsenal of classic SNES titles. Just think; drawing your favorite Mario characters, and using the same controller to play some of the best mini-games the title had to offer, especially my favorites, Fly-Swatter and the music-making machine, where you could create your own tunes using the moniker Nintendo sounds. There’s been nothing like it prior or after its release, which makes it a one-of-a-kind extravaganza. I’d love to see Nintendo give this a proper revival with full Wiimote functionality.
Earthbound – That little dude with the baseball bat was a huge hit for me back in my SNES days. I could really relate to the boy, except for that whole part of discovering a crater in a field where a dangerously strong fly named Buzz Buzz from the future tells you need to defeat this guy named Giygas. Other than that, I can relate to him. A true classic heralded in the golden age of RPGs, during the early to mid-90’s.
Uniracers – I remembered as a young Elementary School kid, I used to rent this game all the time, especially around my birthday. The point of the game was that you got to choose from a variety of different unicycles through different levels with loops, twists, dips, and the occasional catchy goop that slowed your little dude down. Anyone fortunate enough to play this game had a blast, and I assure you, any fan of Sonic needs to try this game at least once in their lifetime.
Mario Is Missing! – This was fun to figure out, although people got bored of it because of all of the text (and it’s probably the most forgettable game in the series). I used to lie down on the floor, writing down all of the clues, just so I could tell Toad the correct answers. For those that love a good adventure game, give this game a try; explain to your parents that it’s both fun and educational.
Honorable Mention: NBA Jam: T.E. (Who’s that in the sky? Is that Bill Clinton doing a Monster Jam? It is!), Secret of Evermore (a blast to play, and lived up to the series’ staple), Double Dragon 4: Super Double Dragon (best Double Dragon game out of the series, with a nunchuk to your skull for good effort), and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 4: Turtles in Time (again, one of the best and last great titles from the series
Pilotwings 64 – Again, a great use for the Wiimote. Controlling your characters as they float through the skies of popular United States locales would be a party-pumping experience if anything. I can see the mini-games get a good boost from this as well as you try and control your character and make that soft landing on the bull’s eye. I’m definitely crossing my fingers on this one in hopes that it’ll show up on Nintendo’s list.
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time – Okay, this is probably on every single person’s list, but why can’t I put it on here as well? I’ve always been a big Zelda fan, ever since I played the first Zelda back on the NES when I was but a wee lad, and this one really cemented my fanboy love for Link and his dashing good… uh, horse! My biggest joy was seeing him grow from a boy to a young man, and unlocking even more goodness for my heart to enjoy. This is definitely a grab for anyone who is interested in the virtual console.
Mario Kart 64 – This was a great game. My brothers and I used to drive all over the course just to mess around. We even rode around Princess Peach’s castle garden and pretended like we were in Mario’s world. It was a very entertaining experience.
Honorable Mention: Perfect Dark, GoldenEye 007 (big ole licensing problem with that one, what with Rare holding the rights and all, but I’d really love to see this title make it to the list, because it was a fantastic game, especially with the memorable multiplayer mode), and finally, Paper Mario 64 (proving you can still have fun with a 2D Mario in the world of graphics-focused lamers… I mean, gamers!
Shining Force – A classic RPG if there ever was one, Shining Force will always be remembered as my first strategy game addiction that began to take hold over my body at a young age. I compliment it by playing Disgaea any time I can.
Gunstar Heroes – As far as Genesis games go, this one’s a real beauty. This game consistently delivered on the fuel-pumping adrenaline I craved. The screen is literally covered in enemies, and you get these badass guns to blow their heads of Pick it up today, as not too long ago it was ported to the GameBoy Advance. If you get the chance, though, try out this great classic action title. You’ll be hooked seconds into the first level.
General Chaos – Perhaps the best multiplayer title on the Sega Genesis console for me, it also happens to be one of the most underrated titles of all time. Basically, you as a general get to control a squad of soldiers, who have jobs that range from machine gunners and grenadiers to my boys with their flame throwers and dynamite packs. The battles don’t last any more than a minute or so, but there’s so much going on, you won’t even bother to complain. What a great game!
Road Rage – What would make the Genesis list even better? How about throwing in one of the best action titles the system had to offer, a game where you beat the living sh*t out of your enemies while riding around on sport bikes? Sounds like fun to me. Excuse me while I knock my adversary out with my trust crowbar.
Earthworm Jim – Whether it’s swinging my head around to latch onto hooks or hitting that cow into a bathtub, Earthworm Jim was an enjoyable experience. This classic title was one of the best platform titles for the Genesis, aside from my furry blue friend
Honorable Mention: Altered Beast (didn’t make the list because I couldn’t get past the damn first level), Beavis & Butthead (wild and wacky fun that had you hocking a loogie onto unsuspecting pedestrians and torching some ants), and of course, Ristar (with all of its star-catching and air-hovering goodness).
And just for fun, and the obviousness that this system will never hope to grace the lineup of Nintendo’s consideration list…
Mario’s Tennis – I don’t know why, but I got really hooked on this game. I don’t know if it was the constant red/blue lights tearing at my retinas, but I had a strong connection to this title, as it was one of the first Mario sports games (aside from Mario Kart). The game was classic Tennis, where you could play singles and doubles against the CPU (there was no actual human multiplayer because the accessory to link two Virtual Boys together didn’t come to market). You can mix and match your team different ways with Mario and co. Definitely an underrated game.
Now, you may ask, “But Zack, where are all of the TurboGrafx games?” Well, I couldn’t include anything from Hudson’s system as I, unfortunately, never had the chance to play any games from it. However, perhaps one of you guys know a good game to try out, because if it’s worthy enough to garner a trip onto this fantastic list, then I want to try it out for myself as well. Also, I did not include a list for the classic NES console, because even if I do own one and played plenty of games for it, I didn’t really dig up enough of an opinion to make a list for it. However, I am obviously waiting urgently to play Battletoads, Zelda 3, SMB3, and of course, Final Fantasy. I also sort of broke my promise by including only wildly popular games on the N64, but honestly, just like with the GameCube, there were a limited number of great titles for that system, so I didn’t have a big pick from the litter, to put it lightly.
Alright, I’m done gushing over my nostalgia. For now, I’d like to know what you guys are looking forward to with Nintendo’s upcoming download service. Any titles strike your fancy that you’re willing to throw down that allowance for? This may be your only chance to play those really obscure titles that you can only find for 1.5 billion smackaroos on eBay. Let’s hear what you guys have to say.
[Writer’s Note: I would like to thank Wikipedia for their great source of information. Some tidbits and pictures from this article were taken from their site.]