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  1. #1
    Member Corey's Avatar
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    Taking stock of Wii… and the virtual console wish list

    Happy New Year. Hope your 2007 has been a good one so far, barely a quarter month in. Chances are many of you have been enjoying the wonders of Nintendo's little white machine. Also chances are many more of you haven’t, through the inevitable and well publicised problem of low stock. Something that has been on my mind the past week where extended gaming sessions via my own personal Wii has forced the following utterances from the mouths of close friends and family:

    "When can I get one?"

    "How much are they?"

    "Can I have yours?"

    "We've no money but… we really should get one."

    "Is there anywhere at all I can get one?"

    "Are you sure I can't get one now?"

    "I'll fight you for it."

    "Seriously, I think you better sleep with one eye open because I'm having yours."

    And so on. The Wii effect is well and truly in play right now, and over the holiday period there's been a large amount of desire to own one from those who've played mine. At the very least, they've expressed interest while on the other end of the scale they've wanted to own one as soon as possible, unable to put the Wii remote down and leave my living room for neither love nor money. Which makes it all the more a shame that they can't get walk into the shops and easily buy a unit any time soon. Recent reports of Wii being out of stock until February may be a tad overzealous, but it's clear that there's a real scramble out there to satisfy demand. Whether or not that same fervour for it will still be there when new machines are available is a question mark that lingers without a certain answer in sight.

    The current high demand is symptomatic of a new machine around the holiday period which has natural appeal to the mainstream. Especially during a time of year where families are together and mingling more often than usual. It's fair to say that given a month of frustration, desire may wane. After all, it doesn’t matter so much if interest drops when the cash has already been handed over, but if it starts to wander before the purchase then Nintendo loses a potential sale.

    At the same time, it's probably not as much of a problem as we may think. One thing that's become quite apparent in the numerous threats of having my Wii taken off me is that this craving has been something slowly building since the machine's launch. All of these people have been teased into curiosity by Nintendo's presence around various stores, demo booths and multimedia adverts. They've been asking me about Wii weeks before they got to actually play the thing recently, where for many of them the deal was sealed. What was before a wish to play has transformed into a strong longing to own, which is quite a feat given 'playing' and 'buying' are not always synonymous. The delay may be annoying for this audience of wannabe Wii owners, but you'll notice a certain type of behaviour for anyone who has their heart set on buying something, especially consumer electronics. If there's little money in the coffers, feeble justifications are made. And if there's a wait involved they'll merely say something along the lines of "well, that gives me more time to save up for one". If they're a bit more games industry savvy, they'll remark that by that time more viable software will be available. It's a barrier of want that's been passed and once convinced they'll be willing to jump through the necessary hoops to get a Wii. The only real coin Nintendo misses out on based on the lack of supply are users who may be sitting on the fence, either from the lack of playing or just a lack of interest. But ultimately, these are not the audience in need of 'conversion' so early on in the machine's life cycle. Those targets are necessary during dry periods where dips in sales are more evident. Until then, Nintendo's "GameCube Turbo" (as dubbed by hardware fiends) will continue to sell huge numbers through a potent combination of clever marketing, killer apps and mass appeal. All factors any games machine would be happy for.

    For those of us who are lucky enough to own a unit and may have exhausted the delights of Zelda and Wii Sports, our attentions may have turned to the future. Personally, my thoughts have drifted towards the potential offered by Wii's virtual console capabilities, which -even in 2007- still has me excited by titles I either played and loved or never got to truly enjoy Back in the Day. And although not officially announced, there are several games in particular that have my eyes twinkling in the prospect of revitalisation.

    Streets of Rage trilogy – MegaDrive/Genesis
    It baffles me why Sega has yet to revisit or even acknowledge its excellent scrolling beat 'em up series in the 21st century. Made even more galling given the recent and rather superb freeware PC remake (http://www.bombergames.net/sorr_e.htm) currently doing the rounds. The fact it was ignored over more obscure efforts in Sega's otherwise fantastic MegaDrive Collection is either a sign of something big around the corner or Sega simply not valuing the franchise as highly as fandom. Regardless of its plans, I'd like to see the company throw us a bone through some two-player fighting action backed by Yuzo Koshiro's wonderfully good soundtrack, all via the comfort of Wii. If not, how about letting the guys behind the aforementioned PC remake have a go - I'm pretty sure they like money.

    Final Fantasy III (nee VI in Japan) – Super Nintendo
    The role-playing game that helped change the face of the genre on consoles and consequently paved the way for FFVII to do the same on PlayStation. FFIII managed to marry a strong storyline to diverse characters, a truly epic quest, revolutionary gameplay and one of composer Nobuo Uematsu's most memorable scores. It broke many gaming taboos that existed at the time; approaching adult themes such as multiracial identity and child abandonment in a mature fashion, visually pushing the Super Nintendo in a direction rarely approached and capping things off with two legendary themes at the end of the game, running for around 17 and 22 minutes respectively (something unheard of for a cartridge based console game). There were even Street Fighter II style joypad inputs for some of the battle moves. Sadly, we're unlikely to see this any time soon on Wii simply because it's enjoying a remake on Game Boy Advance right now and I'd suspect Square Enix wouldn’t want the sales to eat into each other. However, given FFIII's roots as a CD title -originally due for the Super Nintendo's ill-fated CD expansion deck before that mutated into Sony's PlayStation- it wouldn’t be beyond the realm of plausibility that the game will find itself on Wii's virtual console in the shape it took when Square Enix re-released it on PlayStation a fair few years back. I only hope that if that becomes the case, the developer doesn’t bring over the painful loading times that came with it.

    Parasol Stars – PC Engine
    Third in the Bubble Bobble trilogy, Parasol Stars may not be as well known or as well received as its prequel, Rainbow Islands, but still manages to maintain endearing platforming gameplay that feels fresh today. It's perhaps the ideal compromise between its predecessors, with levels bigger than Bubble Bobble, but more contained and focused than Rainbow Islands' while using the latter's human forms of Bub and Bob. The titular parasols could be used for a wide range of tasks; stunning enemies, capturing them, throwing them, blocking from projectiles and even parachuting from higher platforms. The versatility, coupled with a two player mode, made for engaging 'dip in, dip out' gaming that would be perfectly suited for Wii.

    Earthbound – Super Nintendo
    Earthbound is like a barrel of hyperactive monkeys having a party on Absinthe. That's to say: It. Is. Freaking. Nuts. It's also one of the best role-playing games ever created, in all its quirky glory and tongue-in-cheek charm. Ape's kitsch slice of Americana may look like an 8-bit throwback, but the apparent simplicity belays a long and unique quest full of challenge, sharp off beat humour and fourth wall breaking commentary. To this day, Earthbound has one of the fiercest cult followings of any 16-bit game, which has still not been enough for Nintendo to publish its recent GBA sequel (Japanese titled Mother 3) in Western territories. But still, even with Nintendo's stubbornness, Mother 2/Earthbound is all but inevitable on Wii's virtual console, with a mooted mid to late 2007 release; although I can only hope it's sooner and strong sales make the rumoured Mother trilogy compilation a reality.

    Flashback - Super Nintendo/MegaDrive/Genesis
    Sequel to innovative Amiga title, Another World, Flashback was popular enough to be converted from its home computer roots into the console domain with a large degree of fanfare and critical acclaim. It was one of the few games that used the concept of stealth and misdirection long before it became the gameplay norm via Metal Gear Solid, punctuated by slick action scenes and great, if at times baffling, cut scenes. Perhaps more at home with the classic controller than Wii's remote, Flashback would offer a modest and distinctive charm to the virtual console catalogue.

    Shadowrun - Super Nintendo/MegaDrive/Genesis
    The forthcoming Shadowrun game coming to Xbox 360 may not turn out as bad as some may be hoping it will, but there's no denying it feels a little of a lost opportunity given the pedigree that preceded it. Both 16-bit versions were totally different yet offered a similar level of innovation and relatively non linear interaction. Non Player Characters could be killed at the expense of karma, terminals hacked for information and money (both of which could offer varying levels of help but were non-essential to your progress), AI driven team dynamics were commonplace, an intelligent and open ended dialogue and item system kept the puzzles and script fresh and involving, and your character's progression and trait building was often utterly different to anyone else who owned the game. In short, a brilliant RPG that more than stands up to some of its contemporaries. Certainly more inimitable than the first-person styled team shooter with benefits that it's seemingly morphed into via a next gen overhaul. Given its 360 presence, it would make sense to re-launch the originals to cash-in on the popularity boost.

    Chrono Trigger - Super Nintendo
    Sure, another RPG, but if you've played it you'll know why exactly it's banded around with such reverence. Gorgeous to look at with an amazing soundtrack, Squaresoft (pre Enix merger) really created something special that melded the better aspects of Final Fantasy and its sister RPG, Secret of Mana, while keeping a strong sense of identity to make something that stood apart from both. Despite being well crafted, subsequent sequels and spin offs never managed to capture the same elements of a cohesive time travel driven storyline, slick pacing and perfected combination attacks, leaving Trigger to be the lasting legacy of the franchise and ripe for virtual console inclusion given its strong hardcore following.

    Of course this is only a small selection off the top of the dome and everyone has their selection of must have virtual console titles, which is the point of having such a massive library to pick from. It also means patience is the key. Just because we've not seen anything of the above (or indeed your particular killer app) doesn’t mean it's not on the way. These are games that will be used to fill the gaps in any barren spells on the Wii's main release schedule, as well as tying in to any relevant promotional excess that is currently doing the rounds to help boost sales. It's all about waiting. Then screaming from the hills if that doesn’t work out. But be safe in the knowledge that regardless of how frustrated you may be that your favourite game has yet to come out yet, you're still doing a damn sight better than the unlucky thousands who are still waiting to actually own a machine in the first place.

    Now if you can excuse me, I have a Wii to protect from certain people with sticky fingers. I guess that ironically means at least I won't have to worry about the remotes flying from their hands into my TV...
    <script>
    digg_url = 'http://digg.com/gaming_news/Wii_Virtual_Console_Wishlist_2007'; </script>
    <script src="http://digg.com/api/diggthis.js"></script>

  2. #2
    Uss Clan ***** Major Tom's Avatar
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    Uhh I got mine at Wal-Mart Thursday. They had 2 more when I left.

  3. #3
    Still Here Bubbagump's Avatar
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    same here i got mine november 30th at walmart they had 6 more left but they gave me one behind the counter not out of the glass thing


    ^ Chicago... My kind of town ^

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  4. #4
    get crunk. blueradio's Avatar
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    I'm REALLY REALLY excited for Earth Bound and Chrono Trigger.
    Probably the two best RPGS of all time. EVAR.



    Well do you?

  5. #5
    twilight overlord twilight_link's Avatar
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    wat we talkin bout

  6. #6
    Moody Loner Rolex's Avatar
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    Hi Corey,

    I enjoyed your post but there is one thing which I feel must be said in light of this particular comment...and this goes out to all who wholeheartedly agree with you.

    "our attentions may have turned to the future. Personally, my thoughts have drifted towards the potential offered by Wii's virtual console capabilities"


    Being a very active gamer since the ZX80 no less (about 22ish years ago) I have owned my fair share of consoles and played many many superb games over the years.....my faves include, amongst others:
    Spellbound, Snowball, Skooldaze, Shinobi, Sega Rally, Virtual Cop (1&2), SSX(all), Resident Evil 4, Final Fight, Streets of Rage, Virtua Fighter(1&2), Sonic(1), Knightlore, Chimera, Paperboy......and the list goes on (apparently any game which starts with an S!! BUT I don't have a massive interest to pay for these games again to recover what magic at that period of time they may have had.

    Until recently I still owned my Sega Saturn and thought I would have a blast from the past, now whilst I got an hours enjoyment out of it - I wouldn't have gone out and bought the games again, and this; finally; brings me to the point....

    Has Nintendo took the piss here by charging for these games for use on a next-gen machine? In lieu of the fact that all you are essentially getting is an online copy of an old cartridge game?

    Whilst I applaud Nintendo for giving Wii - backwards compatibility, especially with GC games, is this a balls out case of money for old rope and to boot you have to buy another controller for the pleasure!?!

    I'll let you decide...
    ---Smithy...
    "This IS the difference over the other systems....graphics can make you believe you're there to some extent but motion gesture can make you believe you're doing it!"

  7. #7
    WiiChat Feature Writer cbrotherson's Avatar
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    Hey Rolex,

    Thanks for reading and the feedback; both are appreciated

    Quote Originally Posted by Rolex
    Has Nintendo took the piss here by charging for these games for use on a next-gen machine? In lieu of the fact that all you are essentially getting is an online copy of an old cartridge game?

    Whilst I applaud Nintendo for giving Wii - backwards compatibility, especially with GC games, is this a balls out case of money for old rope and to boot you have to buy another controller for the pleasure!?!
    Well there are several schools of thought, I think. Gaming, being among the youngest of mediums, is one of the few examples of entertainment which doesn't have an openly accessible back library for new users. While we can count on DVD remakes of old movies, CD reissues of old music classics, even reprints of comic books, when it comes to gaming the only surefire way of getting old games is to buy second hand. And usually for a vast price. The reasons behind that are often due to the complications that come with creating a videogame compared to a movie or what-have-you; developers and publishers can be divorced, licensing deals change and so on, but the main one being we have a 5 year change over of medium (across over 26 years of gaming) where whole storage devices are altered and formats jump. It's a chaotic mess by comparison to other forms of entertainment.

    While I'm not really happy to have to pay for something I've already owned -so I never do, mind, even disregarding the perks of being a games journo... I just keep my old gear if I love it that much- it's nice to have the option given new gamers will have likely missed out the first time. Whether they want it or not is their choice, but ultimately, they can pay the money if so or ignore if not. They're actually getting the best from this, I feel; no/less loading times, cheaper prices than original, cleaned up visuals and such (of course, only if they look past the archaic presentation compared to contemporary titles, heh).

    For people like you and me, the long time gamers, it's often a choice of just how badly you want to pay for these games, I guess. Some games I have no qualms about putting down my hard earned for if I don't already have in my collection, while others I either still have or just pass on by. Sure, it stings we're having to pay for something we paid over the odds for ten or so years ago, but at the same time, it's a choice, which is better than having no choice at all (or, in this case, the alternative being eBay or illegal emulation, both of which come with their own 'prices'). However, Nintendo could do what Microsoft has done and make them have demo modes, so hopefully that will come about eventually.

    The double/triple dip syndrome we're experiencing seems to be all over the place, too, and in truth much worse than what we're experiencing - to someone like me I find it distressing how many variations of the same film are out there just because a film company wants to fleece fans! At least we haven't quite got to that stage... yet

  8. #8
    Moody Loner Rolex's Avatar
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    I totally agree with you regarding choice - just look at Apple and drm for example - now that takes more than 1 biscuit!!!.
    I was actually playing devils advocate on this issue - a good thing as it broadens opinions.

    I agree with you on the issues surrounding Nintendos philosophy to include games ;which whilst not recent or technically innovative; do give a broader audience new chances of gaming enjoyment. Look at Sony - they are/have released Joust for players online (now that was a classic)

    Let's not forget that whilst they are porting old games online for sale, which may or may not do well - Nintendo / 3rd Party are taking stock of what sells and what doesn't - I'd assume that what does sell will make for an easy update and bang! you have a 3rd gen port - imagination limited. Will this happen, well I'm afraid it does in all walks of life not just gaming, sadly enough. Let's just hope that Wii with it's truly innovative approach won't suffer this as seemingly the PS3 is being feted to....
    ---Smithy...
    "This IS the difference over the other systems....graphics can make you believe you're there to some extent but motion gesture can make you believe you're doing it!"

  9. #9
    WiiChat Feature Writer cbrotherson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rolex
    I totally agree with you regarding choice - just look at Apple and drm for example - now that takes more than 1 biscuit!!!.
    I was actually playing devils advocate on this issue - a good thing as it broadens opinions.
    Totally - the only way forward sometimes, I think

    Let's not forget that whilst they are porting old games online for sale, which may or may not do well - Nintendo / 3rd Party are taking stock of what sells and what doesn't - I'd assume that what does sell will make for an easy update and bang! you have a 3rd gen port - imagination limited. Will this happen, well I'm afraid it does in all walks of life not just gaming, sadly enough. Let's just hope that Wii with it's truly innovative approach won't suffer this as seemingly the PS3 is being feted to....
    Yeah, good point - it's something that worries me to a degree, because certain games will have larger viability than others. In a way I'm glad Nintendo has dragged out some of the more obscure (if crappy) NES titles, though, as it shows just how cheap it must be to breathe new life into some of the dodgier games out there, lol, and gives hope to see some of the actual cult classics that exist in the back catalogue.


    That said, if Superman 64 emerges, there will be HELL to pay...

  10. #10
    Moody Loner Rolex's Avatar
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    Oh man you've totally given someone the idea of updating Superman 64 to become "Superman Wii" - a very apt name I think you'll agree!!
    ---Smithy...
    "This IS the difference over the other systems....graphics can make you believe you're there to some extent but motion gesture can make you believe you're doing it!"

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