(Update: Now available, it only took two years.)
Why didn’t Nintendo release
Mariokart on the Virtual Console alongside
Mariokart Wii for a
double-whammy of handling goodness? I saw a
SNES + Mariokart
bundle at a local game shop going for £45. The demand is immense.
Sonic The Hedgehog (Master System)
(Update: This is now on the U.K. Virtual Console)
Already released in America, but held up here in Europe. This is not the same as Sonic The
Hedgehog on the Mega Drive. What the 8-Bit
Master System couldn’t
do with graphics, it made up with gameplay. The levels are creative and well designed, adding
clever additions like the auto-scrolling Bridge level and my personal favourite the vertical
waterfall level that (a bit like Super Mario Bros. on the
NES) would not allow you to go back; which when
climbing a waterfall meant that if you missed a jump, you died – there was no retracing your
steps. The Game Gear
version of the game however left this facet out as the screen was too small to do the tricky
The only letdown with the game is the lacklustre bosses. The 8-Bit system was just unable to fill
the screen in the same way the 16-Bit Mega Drive could.
The strength and longevity of the 8-Bit systems even meant that it remained commercially viable
for some time to release new games on the older Master System as Sonic The Hedgehog was followed
up by a number of Master System-specific games that did their own thing, rather than trying to
imitate the Mega Drive releases; most notably
Sonic 2 and
Sonic Chaos. (Both of which
of course should be on Virtual Console)
What are you afraid of Nintendo? That somehow Virtual Console sales will prevent people from
Love or hate Pokémon, the original games
(Pokémon Blue /
Red) stand alone as superb RPGs in their own right, before all the Pokémon craze took off.
If anything, the over hype / marketing / craze of Pokémon that followed soured the image of the
games in some people’s minds.
Much like how Tomb Raider lost the plot when the marketing-men ran with the idea that everybody
liked the game solely because of Lara Croft©, when the truth was that the first Tomb Raider was
I.M.O. the nearest to perfect game ever created. Ignore what
you don’t like about the Pokémon brand, and you will find an RPG that will truly grip
That said, I am still of that crowd that swear by the
151 and refuse to get with the times. Just keep remaking Pokémon Blue every five years, and
I’ll be happy, thanks.
- Metal Gear Solid (Gameboy Advance)
Everything that made Metal
Gear Solid great, in a Gameboy. Sheer 8-Bit brilliance.
- Ys (Master System)
(Update: The Turbo
Grafx 16 version of
Ys Book Ⅰ &
Ⅱ is now on the U.K. Virtual Console, but it lacks the difficulty level of the Master
System version, and what took me weeks, only takes a few days)
Just the most immensely big RPG for the Master System. Huge. How it was crammed into a Master
System cart I will not know. The combat would be considered very weak now, but it struck a balance
between Zelda-esque exploration and stat-based battles without being turn-based. Yes, you just
“bumped” into each other until HP≤0, but the
world you had to explore and the equipment upgrades made it worth it.
- Commodore 64 games that matter
There’s about 6’000 games for the Commodore 64. During late 80s the U.K. was the centre of the
gaming world, with America having to wait to get games released in Europe first (imagine that!).
During those years, you could quite literally code a game in your bedroom and it become a
top-selling game overnight. Many of the companies in the industry now came from those days of
idea-tolerance. Your game’s hero could be anybody or anything —even if it was ridiculous. You
didn’t need millions in venture capital, a strong “brand” and “attitude” just to make an
entrance into the market.
Do you honestly think you could get away with “James Pond” now?
Here’s some “missing” C64 games in the Virtual Console from my stand-point: (In no order)