A staple of Nintendo’s recent systems, the Virtual Console allows users to purchase vintage titles from a myriad of past systems. Naturally, the Wii U has one of its own, currently featuring games for the Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, and GameBoy Advance. As of now though, the offerings are fairly slim. Nintendo has mentioned the plans to bring Nintendo 64 games, as well as DS and GameCube games to the Wii U’s Virtual Console. Not much is known about these plans, but they’re essential if Nintendo wants to get its Virtual Console library up to snuff. Here are ten games across all systems that Nintendo absolutely needs to get out there. Here’s hoping we get confirmation of at least some of these at this week’s E3.
1. Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance
While Nintendo also needs to get on adding N64 games to the Wii U’s lineup, the promise of GameCube games is also tantalizing. The GameCube was the first system I owned, but even so, there were some titles that I missed out on, and are now ridiculously expensive online. Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance is one such title (its Wii sequel Radiant Dawn is even worse). The first title to star Ike, famous for also being in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and the upcoming fourth game, Path of Radiance is the first Fire Emblem to boast 3D graphics. Fire Emblem games are somewhat uncommon on the Virtual Console; most of them have been exclusively released in Japan, so that holds true of the Virtual Console. However, members of the 3DS Ambassador Program have the option to download Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, so it’s not unheard of for Western Virtual Consoles to have Fire Emblem. But that’s just one title. Fire Emblem has become one of Nintendo’s biggest franchises, especially after the success of Fire Emblem: Awakening. It would be foolish for them to not bring more of them to the service.
Like Eternal Darkness, Geist is one of the few M-rated games published by Nintendo. That alone is worthy of attention, even if the game itself is a bit lackluster in some areas (mainly technical issues from the game engine). Metroid Prime would be an obvious choice to bring to the Virtual Console, but for those who already own it in some fashion, Geist could be an interesting diversion. And if Nintendo could modify the game so that some of the issues were ironed out, the game would be that much more worthwhile.
3. Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem
And here we have Nintendo’s other mature outing. Eternal Darkness has received appreciably more acclaim than Geist, and for good reason. It’s a horror game, but its chills are psychological rather than cheap scares. The biggest problem I can think of is that some of the mind-twisting quirks of the game were so reliant on how the GameCube’s hardware worked, that it might be difficult for those same moments to be as effective on Wii U. Or maybe they’d be even more unnerving…
4. Mother 3
Admit it, this one was going to come up sooner or late. The Mother series, or EarthBound as it’s known in the West, is fairly popular in Japan, but a cult classic over here. Only one game from the series has been released in the United States, and it took almost twenty years for Nintendo to acknowledge it again outside of the Super Smash Bros. series. EarthBound’s Virtual Console release potentially bodes well for the rest of the series, especially since GBA games have launched for the Wii U’s Virtual Console. The biggest hurdle to Mother 3 is localization, but then, somebody’s already done that. Nintendo could always localize the game themselves, but what a gesture to the fan base that would be if they used the fan translation as the official release?
Now this entry in the Mother series doesn’t have the same obstacle as Mother 3, because the game was already localized for an English release. But by the time Mother was ready, the SNES was going full steam ahead, so Nintendo decided to focus on bringing the sequel to America. The game might not have aged well to some people (the final area is notoriously unbalanced), but if Sin & Punishment can make it to the states (its original intended audience), there’s no reason Mother can’t too.
6. Sonic the Hedgehog
Or any Sega Genesis game really. The Genesis was one of the big announcements of the Wii’s Virtual Console, but it’s nowhere in sight for the Wii U. Sega and Nintendo have gone from bitter rivals to close allies in the modern gaming world. Their absence from the new Virtual Console is strange, especially when Genesis games are already on the 3DS Virtual Console as 3D Classics. If Genesis ends up coming to Wii U, then Sonic needs to be at the forefront, as always.
7. Metal Gear
Now this one’s a little tricky. I could mean the NES port of the first Metal Gear, which a lot of people hate. Or I could mean the Japan-only MSX2 game, which would mean that I think MSX and MSX2 games should be on Virtual Console. But then there’s this: Hideo Kojima has said that he would like to remake just about every game in the Metal Gear series. If he were to remake the first two, I think I’d rather those new versions come to a Nintendo platform than a port of the original version. So I’m not too sure about how this should go, but Metal Gear is a fantastic franchise, and it would be great to see more of it on Nintendo platforms.
8. Yoshi Topsy-Turvy
There’s really just one reason I have this GBA game on this list: it’s perfectly suited to the Wii U’s tech. The motion sensitive controller could serve as the perfect stand in for the specialized cartridge Yoshi Topsy-Turvy released on.
As with Sonic, this entry could also go to just about any Nintendo arcade game. Nintendo has a strange habit of ignoring its video game roots. It tends to act like the only thing before the NES was Donkey Kong, and even then they’re more likely to reference the NES port than the arcade original. I honestly have no idea why this is, but it’s a wasted opportunity to not bring games like Sheriff, and the original versions of Donkey Kong and Punch-Out!! (which is tailor-made for dual-screen systems) to modern platforms.
10. Color TV-Game
Much like the arcade games listed above, it would be kind of neat to see the Color TV-Games ported to Wii U, even if most of them are Pong clones. But they’re such a milestone for Nintendo! Their first home console deserves a bit more recognition.