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[ Writer ] = BAD
[ 04/08/06 ] = The Long Drive Home

For the past few weeks the talk has been all about the Virtual Console feature for Nintendo's new system (AKA Revolution), which allows players to download NES, SNES, and N64 games, in addition to recently announced TurboGrafx 16 and Genesis games! To some, this may not seem noteworthy, but this is great news, and for numerous reasons. Nintendo has once again found a niche to prove that although the odds are stacked against them, they're here to stay.

First, with the Virtual Console feature, we'll finally be able to get titles that slipped through the cracks over time; ones that we never got around to buying or couldn't get for one reason or another. And we'll be able to get them with ease. This feature is particularly convenient not only for those who have just recently taken interest in classic games, but also for those who have nice libraries with a few missing titles here and there. In my case, I have a nice library of classic games (because I didn't trade great games like everyone else did), but I am definitely looking forward to taking advantage of the feature to get the titles that I missed. The games I hope to acquire through the Virtual Console Service are listed below:

[ Wish ] = List

[ Console ] = Nintendo 64
[ Title ] = Resident Evil 0
[ Title ] = Robotech: Crystal Dreams
[ Title ] = Contra Spirits 64
[ Title ] = The Mystical Ninja: starring Goemon
[ Title ] = Goemon's Great Adventure
[ Title ] = Yoshi's Story
[ Title ] = F-Zero X
[ Title ] = Ridge Racer 64

[ Console ] = Super Nintendo
[ Title ] = Tenchi Wo Kurau
[ Title ] = Fatal Fury: Special
[ Title ] = Sengoku
[ Title ] = Dracula XX
[ Title ] = Super Castlevania IV
Title ] =
Gradius III
[ Title ] = Contra III
[ Title ] = The Legend Of The Mystical Ninja
[ Title ] = AeroFighters
[ Title ] = Space MegaForce

[ Title ] = Donkey Kong Country 3
[ Title ] = Donkey Kong Country 2
[ Title ] = Super Metroid
[ Title ] = StarFox 2
Title ] = StarFox
[ Title ] = Hagane
[ Title ] = Power Instinct
Title ] = Brawl Brothers
Title ] = The Peace Keepers
Title ] = Rival Turf!

Title ] = Ninja Gaiden Trilogy

[ Console ] = Turbo Grafx 16 | Turbo Grafx 16 CD | Super Grafx
[ Title ] = Street Fighter
[ Title ] = 1941
Title ] =
Dracula X
[ Title ] = Gradius II
[ Title ] = Shinobi

[ Console ] = Genesis | Sega CD
[ Title ] = MegaMan: The Wily Wars
[ Title ] = Sonic CD
Title ] = Castlevania: Bloodlines

[ Title ] = Robo Aleste
[ Title ] = Musha
[ Title ] = Sparkster
[ Title ] = Grind Stormer

[ Console ] = Nintendo
[ Title ] = 1942
[ Title ] = G.I. Joe: Atlantis Factor
[ Title ] = G.I. Joe
[ Title ] = Legendary Wings
Title ] =
Little Nemo: The Dream Master
[ Title ] = Ikari Warriors III

[ Title ] = P.O.W
Title ] =
Castlevania III
[ Title ] = Castlevania II
[ Title ] = Castlevania
[ Title ] = Contra Force
Title ] =
Super C
[ Title ] = Contra
[ Title ] = Bayou Billy
[ Title ] = Laser Invasion

[ Title ] = Wrath Of The Black Manta
[ Title ] = Target: Renegade
[ Title ] = Renegade
Title ] = SkyKid

[ Title ] = Kung Fu

These are just a few of the titles I can think of offhand; hopefully we'll get both common and rare titles. It would also be supreme if Nintendo and developers got together to release canceled or beta titles, as well! I would love to play Resident Evil 0 in its original form, Contra Spirits 64 would be a new experience for Konami fans, and Squeenix fans might like to play Final Fantasy 64, as well. The possibilities are endless! It would also be a lot cheaper and convenient getting most of these titles through the Virtual Console service than on eBay. Which leads me to my second point...

The purchasing ease of such a service could very well drop eBay prices for the original cartridge, card, and/or CD versions of featured titles. Some argue the service won't deflate high eBay prices because downloaded digital versions of both games and package contents cannot replace the complete original versions, but it is still a strong possibility. If the service offers the original package contents (the instruction manuals and such in digital form) for download with each game, some might not think that buying the original from eBay is worth it. After all, not everyone is a completist, and it would be cool to have the artwork from some of the instruction manuals (like Final Fight 2) in digital form. Sure, for "hoarders" this service could spell disaster (just like when Squeenix re-released Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy III on the PlayStation), but it will spell relief and fun for everyone else. Not only that, but there are spatial advantages in being able to store games in the hardware's memory. Now, shelves need to be rearranged and space needs to be allocated every time we buy classic games, but with Nintendo's new hardware we can store them within the small confines of the hardware. This convenience also makes travel and moving a lot easier (for those of us on tour). The advantages and benefits are endless, unless of course, you're what some refer to as a "hoarder." In which case, it must be said that games are meant to be played, not stored in closets.

Plainly put, the inclusion of this feature was a smart move by Nintendo, and it shows that they still know the market. Sure, Nintendo's not following Sony and Microsoft's online gaming emphasis for the next generation, but they've found another profitable avenue, and it's not something entirely new (literally). It is in the recent popularity of "vintage" game stuff (classic hardware, games, and T-shirts) that Nintendo has found its newest niche. Undoubtedly seeing that their classic properties and consoles are the center of the "vintage" trend, Nintendo quickly capitalized on it. How could they not? Look at all the shirts with Nintendo properties (NES, Mario, etc.) plastered on them, all the places they are sold, and all the people who wear them; if this is any indication, the NES portion of the Virtual Console service will be a hit by itself. This in particular is one area where Sony and Microsoft could have trouble matching Nintendo, simply because the contents of the Virtual Console service are unique to Nintendo hardware. Microsoft also has plans with several key developers for XBox Live Arcade, but support will have to be really good to match Nintendo's ambitious Virtual Console plans...