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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Virtual Console Alternatives

You're itchin' to get a Wii Points card to buy retro games on Wii's Virtual Console, but hold on! You might save some money by considering a few ways that you can play the very same games offered on Virtual Console and possibly save some money.

Alternative Numero 1. Certain games may be available in a "collection" or "anniversary" game disc for the GameCube. Examples are Sonic: the Hedgehog Mega Collection and Megaman Anniversary Collection, which are essentially a bunch of retro titles in the series on one disc. GameCube Discs and Controllers and Memory Cards are compatible with the Wii.

Pros -Get a bunch of retro games on one disc instead of having to buy them individually
-May have games not yet offered on Virtual Console

Cons -May have to unlock other games on disc by completing the first games presented on the disc.

Et Cetera -Only really worth it if the disc costs less than what it would cost to buy the games that interest you on the disc on Virtual Console

Alternative Numero 2. Games may exist as GameBoy Advance (GBA) Titles. Nintendo released a few NES (original Nintendo) games in the GameBoy Advance cartridge format such as the original Mario, Metroid, and Zelda titles.

Pros -can take with you on-the-go on the GBA and DS (the latest Nintendo Hand-held gaming system)

Cons -you're limited to the GameBoy or DS's handheld screen unless Nintendo releases a device that allows one to play GameBoy games on the TV through the Wii--which they may do because it came out with such a device for the GameCube.

Et Cetera -Only worth it if the cost of the game in GameBoy Advance form is less than the price ($5 for an NES game) on Virtual Console, and you have a GameBoy Advance or DS of course!

Alternative Numero 3. Alright I feel a little guilty mentioning this one. Using an Online Console Emulator. An emulator is a program that allows you to download and play many illegally copied retro games on your computer.

Pros -Free

-" is illegal to download and play a Nintendo ROM from the Internet." -says Nintendo's Legal FAQ
-Have to sit at computer.
-From unofficial and even untrustworthy sources. Because you have to download programs from unofficial sources, could be dangerous (virus, spyware coming with the game, etc.)
-Downloading the game for free doesn't support the game publishers.

Et Cetera -It is illegal. Even if you already own a copy of the game! I personally do not advise this practice, but I included it in the list because people have been doing this for years including at times when the only way they could get the retro games was through this method. It is worth noting that Nintendo also says in their legal FAQ:

"...the current availability of a game in stores is irrelevant as to its copyright status. Copyrights do not enter the public domain just because they are no longer commercially exploited or widely available."
Also, they say that I can get into trouble if I make a link to an example of an Online Emulator, so here's a link to a Wikipedia (online encyclopedia) entry about Console Emulators.

Alternative Numero 4. On the original retro system console

Pros -if you got it and it works, nothing beats playing retro games as they were originally played, authentic feel

Cons -that's the thing about old systems... they're old, and they may not be in as pristine a condition as they were when they came off of the assembly line.

Et Cetera -If you are considering getting a title from Virtual Console and you have a retro gaming console, it is worth trying the game one more time in its original format before shelling out those Wii Points for a game you already have.

Lastly, commentary on the Virtual Console itself!
The beauty of it is being able to play games of old, not off of a game cartridge which may freeze mid-game or get dusty, but off of the memory of your Wii. This means that the hassle of maintaining an old system or game is eliminated, though you should probably take good care of any game system no matter how new it is.

The convenience of being able to sit down and enjoy a retro game without trying to find it at a store is a great feature, and a great option. Plus, games can't be sold out.

I encourage those who may already own the game in GBA, GameCube, or the original format to check to see if they already have the game they're considering, and to consider if their Wii Points, and money, would be better saved or spent on a game they haven't experienced yet.


Dweezle said...

Good article. All viable methods as well. Personally, I own all the Nintendo consoles up to N64. I used to have a Gamecube but don't any longer. I think if I could grab the game for the original console for about the same price or just a tad more I would opt for that option. The thing I find exciting about the old games being available on the Wii is that you could download games like Chrono Trigger, which is impossible to find (without a lot of $) and enjoy the game without forking out the dough.

Anyways, good read, keep 'em coming!

SDtektiv said...

Thanks for the comment!

Since I was so curious, I looked up Chrono Trigger on Wikipedia. I can see why it was so popular with all the graphics, and isn't that Akira Toriyama's (a la Dragon Ball) animation?

This game also a features an ESRB Rating that I would like to see come back, which the rating "KA". This rating means that it is entertaining for peoples of all ages, not just younger kids.

Wouldn't it be nice they had a secondary rating system alongside the ESRB's (who doesn't play the games they rate) that graded things based on who they say they're trying to attract as well. This way, game developers could say the age they're trying to attract and not cram it full of junk in order to ensure a "Mature" rating.

Lexi said...

Square-Enix is planning to support their older titles for the Wii Virtual Console. They just don't know which ones yet, but make sure to keep an eye on their Wii-related press articles.

SDtektiv said...

Thanks for the tip lexi!