The Virtual Console Conundrum

The current state of Nintendo’s relationship with its Virtual Console is a bit awkward.

On one hand, you have a platform that allows gamers to play their most beloved games from the past on Nintendo’s console of the present (ALTP, anyone?) On the other hand, you have a platform that allows gamers to play their most beloved games from the past on Nintendo’s console of the present – that Nintendo doesn’t really seem to care too much about.

Back in June, news broke that we could finally expect to see games from both the Gameboy Advance and Nintendo 64 eras on the Wii U. This was the moment we had all been waiting for. Finally we’d be to play some of the all-time greats on our shiny new Wii U! You know, Super Mario 64, The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Metroid: Zero Mission, Mario Tennis, Super Smash Brothers? And that’s not even mentioning GameCube games (but seriously, can we make that happen?) The wait was far too long, but that was all okay – our patience was finally going to be rewarded! It was okay that all of the aforementioned games were already available via the Wii Virtual Console because the games were finally coming. All we had to do was wait just a while longer and we’d finally have it all.

Then, nothing.

After all the hype, nothing. Here we are almost three months later and still, nothing. So what happened?  Sure, maybe it’s our own fault for getting overly excited. Could we have not set our expectations unreasonably high just to be disappointed? Sure. But as it often does, the silence from Nintendo says more than any words or announcements could. To us, the silence from Nintendo simply means that the update to the Virtual Console just isn’t ready yet. And in that lies the problem.

The Wii U is in a painfully evident game drought right now. The momentum that Mario Kart 8 kickstarted back in May has mostly died down, with no marquee games coming until Smash Bros at the end of the year. With it looking more and more like Smash Bros may get pushed into 2015, and not many other blockbuster IP’s on the horizon past that, the Wii U needs some help fast. Hyrule Warriors, while appealing, simply isn’t the game that will move the needle in either sales or consumer interest. So what could help to quench some of our thirst for new games on our Nintendo console? Well, old games on our Nintendo console.

This NEEDS to happen

This NEEDS to happen.

Nintendo needs to realize that consumer interest in the Wii U is almost non-existent in these dog days of summer. Sure, the other consoles aren’t packing a loaded lineup either, but they’ve got some heavy hitters just around the corner. Very simply, what Nintendo needs is to go back to its bread and butter. It needs to capitalize on the thing that it is better at than any other company in the industry – nostalgia. People come to Nintendo to get a fix on those franchises that they grew up on. While it’s not the main unit driver behind new consoles, the older entries into the staple franchises certainly draw significant interest. With a game catalogue unlike any other, Nintendo needs to tap into their history to help hobble the Wii U along into the future until the heavy hitters arrive.

Whether it’s ready or not, the Virtual Console needs to be that crutch that the Wii U so badly needs.

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About The Author

Feature Writer

Max is an Editorial Writer with Always Nintendo. His passion for video games started with The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past and hasn't slowed down since. While cliché, his favorite game in the Zelda series is still The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. When he isn't playing video games, Max likes to write, play and watch soccer, as well as spend time with his family and black boxer mix. You can catch him on Twitter @max_moll.