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NES games on 3DS. How do you feel about having to re-buy them? [roundtable]
 
Hey-oh there, Negative World.

So, I've got a question for y'all. As we all know, 3DS's Virtual Console has not only classic portable games for download, but now also NES games as well. And while I'm pretty sure the topic of having to re-buy digital copies of Virtual Console games we already own on Wii has come up before in various threads, I don't think there's a thread strictly dedicated to it. I wanted to get your thoughts on the subject, how you feel overall about it, and whether or not you've downloaded any NES games yet, or plan to in the future. (Ambassador games don't count, since we got 'em all "for free" anyway)

I bring this up mostly because of the recent (re)launch of Punch-Out!! on Virtual Console. I enjoy this old classic quite a bit. But I've already downloaded it on Wii - I was a little disappointed that to play it on my 3DS, I'd have to buy it on 3DS.

Well, "a little disappointed" maybe isn't the right term. I was actually kind of upset about it. Like seriously, Nintendo? What is this garbage? You really expect me to purchase a game I already own? Why can't I just transfer my Wii VC library to my 3DS library? Is it really that hard? Sony allows Playstation 3 users to transfer their PSOne games to their PSP (and now Vita) and back again at no charge. Why can't you be the same?!? This is ridiculous.

But then I also considered something else. Nintendo has actually given me this game (Punch-Out!!) for free before; it was an unlockable in the Gamecube version of Animal Crossing. Maybe throwing Nintendo an extra $5 isn't all that bad - I mean, they let me play it for "free" before, maybe I can kind of "pay them back" this way? And hey. It's only $5. It's not like it's gonna break me. Right?

Hrm. I guess if I followed that line of logic I could justify the re-purchase in my mind. But c'mon, it's the principal of the thing. Right? And so what, Nintendo gave me a "free" version of the game last gen, does that really give them a free pass at my wallet THIS gen? What have they given me for free this time around?

Ok, well, I guess we can count the pre-loaded games that come standard on every 3DS. The StreetPass Mii Plaza's Puzzle Swap and Find Mii/Find Mii 2 are very fun and very social games that are really addicting. And there's actually a surprising amount of stuff to play with those AR cards. Even Face Raiders is more fun than I care to admit. So there are those. And I suppose we could also count the Pokédex 3D? It's not really a game, but kind of a cool app for Pokéfans. Oh! And we can't forget they gave us 3D Classics: Excitebike for free, too. And The Legend of Zelda: 4 Swords Anniversary Edition - despite the fact they could have charged us all $10 and we all likely would have bought it. .....aaaaaaaaaand I guess we can even count the redeemable codes from Club Nintendo that allow us to download games for "free" from the Wii's downloadable service, as well as the 3DS's. (yeah, they are free. Unless you're going out buying games *just* to earn Club Nintendo Coins, you're just getting rewards for buying stuff you would have bought anyway) And speaking of redeemable codes, I should also mention Nintendo's giving me 3D Classics: Kid Icarus for free next week too. Simply because I pre-ordered Kid Icarus: Uprising - again, something I was going to do anyway. So yeah, there's another free game, and it's not even a simple ROM dump.

And that's all without taking into account the 20 Ambassador games. Hm. Looking at it this way, the $5 for Punch-Out!! doesn't seem all that bad. Right? Or... maybe not?

I dunno. It's kind of a strange situation to be in, personally. I can find ways to make it "OK" in my mind to buy Punch-Out!! on 3DS - even though it's not a 3D Classic entry, which is baffling in and of itself. How is THIS game not in 3D, yet freakin' Urban Champion is? That makes no sense whatsoever. But is thinking this way making me some kind of irrational Nintendo fanboy/apologist? I don't really know.

So anyway, what are your thoughts, Negative World? Are you going to buy NES games on 3DS? Are you upset that you can't transfer your Wii Virtual Console games to it?

tl;dr version: Just answer the question in the subject title!

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Posted: 03/18/12, 04:45:53  - Edited by 
 on: 03/19/12, 05:31:44
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@PogueSquadron

You are not discovering America with that revelation my friend. The eShop is lacking in organization, pricing, ect. To be fair, it has been steadily inproving.

Steam uses that model and it seems to be working out for them (games tied to accounts I mean). Besides, it is shameful that Nintendo is trying to sell us games like Metroid that are the same game. They might be able to get away with the "3D classics" line with games like Kirbys Adventure, although it does not seem like much of an upgrade. And it is more expensive than the Wii version as well.
Posted: 03/19/12, 04:09:14
I rebuy old games on new systems all the time. It's just more convenient than having to lug out my old systems. Heck, my NES doesn't work anymore anyway, and I don't have to blow into the Wii or 3DS to make Super Mario Bros. work. Plus, with the 3DS I have save states and can also play some of my old school favorites on the go (or in the bathroom ). In fact, it's because of the save states in the 3DS version that I finally played through the original Metroid and beat it. There's really a lot to love about having old games in new systems.
Posted: 03/19/12, 04:13:50
VofEscaflowne said:
There should be no reason to try and justify why they're making us re-buy these games.

Agreed. The problem is, I *CAN* justify it.

Mop it up said:
Quick question for the room: How many people bought Zelda Ocarina of Time 3D and/or Star Fox 64 3D? Do you think those games should have been free or discounted if you owned those games on the N64 or VC? Yes, they offer updated graphics and a few new features, but they also cost eight times as much as the NES eShop games do.

I bought both, but I also bought them both with either a discount, or when they were on sale. And mostly I got Ocarina of Time 3D because I was able to get the soundtrack CD via Club Nintendo. Having said that, I don't think these games should have retailed for a full $40 - updates or not, these are old games. But... it's the market that decides the acceptable price for a product or service, and it looks like people were willing to buy these games, either for the first time, or again. Apparently $40 isn't too much for most people. *shrugs*

Oldmanwinter said:
It's 2012. You would have to be incredibly high to purchase a game made in the 1980s at this point.

I completely understand the way you feel. The problem I think, is that these pieces of software, however antiqued they are, are still owned by a company. They are that company's IP, and if you (or anyone) wants to play these games, then you need to pay for a copy of the game on whatever system they put it out on. It sucks, but that's the business world for ya.

And I think it was mentioned in this thread earlier, but these games aren't exactly the same as the NES versions. They're portable now, for one. They have Save States and Suspend features, things the original copies never had. We like to think of these as simple ROM dumps (and I guess they are) but we must consider we're not only paying Nintendo for their IP, but also for the work they did to put an emulator on the 3DS, as well as pay for the server they have so they can host these games for download. Again... kinda sucks, but again, that's business.
Posted: 03/19/12, 05:56:17
@Tranquilo Haha, I know it's not new territory, but I'd like to take an in depth look at it. Maybe it has been getting better (they do have SOME demos on there now), though I haven't owned a 3DS since launch so I can't compare it to the launch of the eShop.

May make for a good future podcast rant though.

Edit: Also, let me be very clear in this again - I have no problem with Nintendo charging money for Virtual Console games or what have you. There are plenty of legit reasons why they should do this, as GameDadGrant mentioned. They're certainly not the only company that charges money for old games. I can go on Steam right now and check out classic Genesis games, or go to Good Ole Games and browse a game library that goes back decades.

I do still think that their prices are too high and that they should offer some way to unify our purchases. I also just get vibes from them that they're living in this bubble, trying to ignore what the rest of the industry is doing, hoping that they will help keep games at higher prices, but I don't think they have as big an effect on the market as they hope.

Again, I also think that they're utilizing these classic games in the wrong way. I think we're well past the point where the novelty of getting these games is a big factor. It's a standard now. Why roll out Punch-Out on the 3DS like Halley's Comet is passing through? Especially when you have many other old handheld gems that have previously been unavailable? Either get all of these games out now and put them on sale once in a while, or make way for a library of new Classic games. And certainly don't let these old Virtual Console games (previously available on Wii) get in the way of 'new' classic content.

In the back of my head though, I'm just thinking "Well surely this is the best way to promote a new digital game store. Super Mario Bros., at the same price that it was on the Wii, which you may have already bought." What Nintendo has done with the eShop hasn't exactly made it a fun shopping experience where I'm excited about buying games so far. It's better than it was, for sure, but it still feels 5 years older than almost every one of their competitors.
Posted: 03/19/12, 06:46:21  - Edited by 
 on: 03/19/12, 06:59:25
Mop it up said:
Quick question for the room: How many people bought Zelda Ocarina of Time 3D and/or Star Fox 64 3D? Do you think those games should have been free or discounted if you owned those games on the N64 or VC? Yes, they offer updated graphics and a few new features, but they also cost eight times as much as the NES eShop games do.

To me that's a fair enough thing to charge for. Those were real development projects that had assets redone, and significant changes to the UI. Those things have a very real cost to them. I view that as justifiable and even if I don't I can simply not buy it. The charging for separate versions of the game on different platforms of a 20 year old game with no major redesigns of it just strikes me as trying to screw over your fanbase for a quick buck. It's akin to locking content on the disk as paid DLC. Sure legally you have the right to do that but they are doing it to just wring every dollar they can out of their most ardent supporters. I remember being flabbergasted that Super Street Fighter IV required you to have bought the costumes from the original to use them in this new game. Like, it's not enough I bought the game from you again you want more money for this pre-existing content too?

What's ironic to me about this whole thing is that all these measures they take to ensure maximum profit from these services might actually be backfiring on them. The high prices, the artificially stretched out release schedule, the lack of extra features, and the locking of the content to one machine just make it more trouble than it's worth. Early on the concept of Virtual Console was likened to iTunes. Could you picture how much of a flop iTunes would have been if old content was artificially held back, you had to buy it for either a computer OR a device (or both if you wanted too) and if they didn't even let you preview the music? It's two totally separate things I realize but I think the mistake was to look to selling the games instead of the service as a whole.

I can't speak for everyone but if I was able to demo games, play them on 3DS and Wii, and if I had a larger selection to choose from the beginning I probably would have been a lot more invested in it than I am. The result would be me spending more time with my Nintendo products which breeds familiarity and makes people more prone to buying new products.
Posted: 03/19/12, 10:12:57
@Stephen

"What's ironic to me about this whole thing is that all these measures they take to ensure maximum profit from these services might actually be backfiring on them. The high prices, the artificially stretched out release schedule, the lack of extra features, and the locking of the content to one machine just make it more trouble than it's worth. Early on the concept of Virtual Console was likened to iTunes. Could you picture how much of a flop iTunes would have been if old content was artificially held back, you had to buy it for either a computer OR a device (or both if you wanted too) and if they didn't even let you preview the music? It's two totally separate things I realize but I think the mistake was to look to selling the games instead of the service as a whole."


Pretty much exactly. Between iTunes, the App Store, Steam, GoG, Origins, XBLA, PSN and Gamefly (previously D2D) I own thousands upon thousands upon thousands of dollars worth of digital content. There is a right way and a wrong way to do this, even amongst the services I listed above. Bilking customers over and over and over again for the exact same games over the course of decades is ridiculous, especially if they are in digital form and all published by the same company. Obviously they do it because people are willing to pay still, however I think in the long run this kind of approach is going to stunt the proliferation of their DD services when it is so, so antiquated compared to what is expected.
Posted: 03/19/12, 15:15:02  - Edited by 
 on: 03/19/12, 15:15:15
I don't feel like we should have to pay a dime for them if we purchased them on the Wii. If the games are tied to my Club Nintendo account, this shouldn't be an issue.

For example: I owned a Droid Eris in 2009 and 2010. I bought several apps from the Android Market (now called Google Play). When I upgraded to a new phone, every single app I paid for was able to be redownloaded for free. Different devices, same apps. They even look better on my new phone because of better resolution.
Posted: 03/19/12, 16:15:50
@PogueSquadron

It is one thing to charge for virtual console games or old NES games you may or may not own a hard copy of and another entirely to have to pay again for content you already own from that same company. Somebody already made this comparison, imagine if you have an iPOD and invest over $100 in content on that iTunes store. Then you buy an iPad and want to access that same content, (music, movies ect.) but as it turns out you have to pay for that again if you want to view it on your iPad. That is what Nintendo is doing with the NES games on eShop right now. Nintendo is greedy, yes, but a big part of the problem is that they just do not know how to conduct a serious online marketplace.

Even Sony knows better than to charge for downloading digital copies of games onto a new console (although hard copies is another story). It seems Nintendo is the only one living on a bubble like somone already mentioned.
Posted: 03/19/12, 17:02:27
As long as there is some DIFFERENCE. It's ok to charge for it. People can then quite literally vote with their wallets and decide if the DIFFERENCE is worth the price asked. In the past and up until now, this is most commonly done with visual overhauls (8 vs 16 bits, SD vs HD, 2D vs 3D, old assets vs new). Some less impressive than others... but that's for the consumer to decide the value.

However, in this case, you are paying for the chance to either play the game on your nice big TV or play it "on the go." Two separate experiences. Would it be nice if one purchase allowed for both? Absolutely. Will we likely get that very feature when the Wii U comes out and we pay a little more for the extra R+D that went in to creating that kind of interface? Probably!

The Wii's Virtual Console simply was not created with this in mind. When that service launched, no one knew 100% it was going to be a success! Maybe it would have died on the vine... everyone would say "why buy these? my NES still works fine." So, there was no future-proofing.

We can sulk about this now if we want, but in one generation's time (at most) new hard/software should make this a non-issue.

~~~

Also, let's please not hope that Nintendo be more like Sony. They aren't exactly poster-children for backwards compatibility (anymore) and even the PSOne games transfer is not 100%.
Posted: 04/10/12, 03:50:36
@NinSage

Backwards compatibility is going to die. It was a pain to implement on every system other than the Wii, for obvious reasons, and the HD remake phenomenon has done nothing but prove to publishers that people will pay good money for last generation's games.

As far as the topic at hand is concerned... I think it's shitty to have to re-buy them, but I'm not surprised.
Posted: 04/10/12, 18:50:15
Wut... Nintendo fully supports backwards compatibility. They just took it out of the Wii recently when nobody cared anymore.

How was it not a pain to implement on the Wii? There is a Gamecube inside your Wii, it's a separate thing. The disc reader even reads the different disc sizes and they built in controller ports and memory card slots. If anything it was more difficult to implement on the Wii.
Posted: 04/10/12, 18:57:50
Yeaaaa.... the 3DS just came out and it plays DS games. The Wii U will play Wii games. So, at least as far as Nintendo goes it seems alive and well.
Posted: 04/10/12, 22:15:41
@anon_mastermind

It was easier and best from an end user perspective on the Wii. And I would wager for Nintendo as well; software emulation would have been harder than hardware compatibility.

@NinSage

I don't think there's any doubt that all backwards compatibility, both at Nintendo and otherwise, has been a result of hedge betting. The DS was initially the "third tier" and was going to exist with the GBA, hence the slot. It shouldn't come as a surprise if subsequent revisions remove DS compatibility.
Posted: 04/10/12, 22:38:57
@Kal-El814

Yeah, they'll remove DS compatibility so they can charge us to download them digitally on the next DS...!
Posted: 04/11/12, 02:04:39
@Kal-El814 The Wii and DS revisions which removed backwards compatibility didn't come out until many years after the system had already launched. Backwards compatibility matters only to those who own the previous system, and anyone who cares about the feature has most likely already bought those systems. It's not a feature that matters 4 years down the line, but it matters in the beginning, so I don't see it going anywhere.

Nintendo's "third-pillar" talk was simply so that they could fall back on the Game Boy brand if the DS was not successful. If Nintendo didn't intend for the DS to succeed the Game Boy Advance, we would have seen a new Game Boy by now.
Posted: 04/11/12, 02:51:34
Posted: 04/11/12, 09:26:54
I don't re-buy anything unless the re-release offers significant improvements over the copy I already have, and even then I don't always re-buy (e.g., I only own one copy of OoT: the N64 version).

I can't think of anything that I've rebought, come to think of it... I got the Ambassador's versions of a few games I already had, but those were free, so they don't really count.
Posted: 04/11/12, 10:51:53
@V_s

You should really play the new 3D version of Ocarina of Time! It's really great, and the best way to experience that classic, IMO.

Except for the Fire Temple. The original soundtrack for that "stage" was, and remains to be, the best background audio for it. The new song kinda sucks in comparison.
Posted: 04/11/12, 15:59:54
In a way, I hope that Nintendo continues to put a priority on Backwards Compatibility, even though it may not mean much to most consumers. In another way, it might be kind of holding them back.

Anyway, I don't think I'll repurchase any games. I promised myself when the VC came out that I wouldn't buy any games that I already owned, and I've been pretty good about that, with the exception of Super Mario Bros. I'm definitely not triple-dipping on the 3DS. I wish they just stuck to frigging handheld games, since I NEVER owned any of that stuff.
Posted: 04/11/12, 22:05:30
I might buy a couple of them if the price is right, namely Castlevania II and III, Rygar, and maybe Ninja Gaiden II. The right price is less than $2.99 including tax.
Posted: 04/18/12, 07:04:59  - Edited by 
 on: 04/18/12, 07:05:43
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