The more I notice some retro titles come to Nintendo Switch and also in the form of the ‘Classic’ console series, the more I get convinced I don’t think there’ll be a Virtual Console, only re-releases.
I’ve said it before, but nostalgia is a powerful thing, and 2017 have seen massive examples of it.
Crash Bandicoot. Tekken. Sonic Mania. 10 years of iPhone, and Nintendo with the SNES Mini.
But as Crash’s re-release has shown, the remake of the levels re-inforce your memory of a time from long ago, but when you actually play the game, you notice things aren’t exactly the same, with more effort needed to make those important jumps.
Simply upscaling the original games and releasing them on the PS4 wouldn’t have worked well, and it would have then raised hopes of more games from the era appearing.
I believe we’ll see games from the GameCube next year, but as re-releases.
Microsoft have done it very well this year with their backwards compatibility platform, while Sony are non-existent with it, bafflingly.
One example I can see more than any other game, is Super Smash Bros. Melee from 2001.
It seems tailor made for the Switch. You could easily play it with one joycon, or to a stretch, a similar control method that ARMS took.
Emulating it would be more effort for a 1:1 match to its original release, with no way of taking advantage of what the Switch offers.
What if the re-release would have it in native widescreen, and if someone came in as you were playing a match, they bring out a Joycon and enter the match.
Even with its future online service launching soon. It would be easier to have a port work with this service, than to emulate its GameCube networking capability, alongside adding the further network protocols in 2017/2018. It seems to be the obvious one to go for first, yet one that very few would oppose.
Just to add, I’d love to see the Rogue Squadron series on the Switch, but there remains big questions on the rights and if Disney is even interested in this, is another story in itself.
But the other side of the coin is; what about the games before?
As Nintendo usually do, about twice a year, they miss a trick that’s blindingly obvious; release a store on the SNES Mini and NES Mini.
The hardware can easily add a networking capability, and with its storage, you could swap and keep multiple games. Have it akin to when you used to swap games with your friends for the odd week, or when you rented games from Blockbuster for 3 days.
You want Final Fight instead of Secret of Mana? Done.
You want Ocarina of Time instead of Majoras Mask? Done.
What a lot of people seem to forget, is that it’s not just the games that bring the nostalgia from long ago. It’s the console itself and how you used it, where it sat in your bedroom or house. How you had to run to a Curry’s store one time to buy that extra controller for GoldenEye, or another Memory Card for your PlayStation 1 as Tomb Raider 4 takes two blocks of space instead of the usual one.
It’s incredibly powerful for the customers of today to bring back that image for their front room.
That’s where I feel Nintendo hit a home run there. The simple image of a SNES Console sitting in front of your HD, 4K, HDR 60 FPS etc etc etc TV adds more nostalgia.
Instead of paying £279 for a Switch with a Virtual Console, they pay £69 for a dedicated machine that plays retro games from their era only.
If they only added a store to buy more retro games for it, you’d be set, while the Switch would be for GameCube ports and their latest releases.
I could completely be wrong and we’ll be seeing another Virtual Console on the Switch, similar to how we saw SNES games appear for the 3DS.
But as we go near and near to the first year of the Switch’s release, I’m doubting that appearing on the eShop anytime soon.