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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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Why not sign up for a (free) account and create your own content?
The only game I own on one system but not the other that would tempt me with crossbuy is Super Mario RPG but that one hasn't even showed up on the North American nintendo eshop.

Now for a $1 or $1.50 transfer fee that list would grow considerably.
Posted: 04/26/16, 21:40:48

I should clarify I have bought A Link to the Past on my 3DS, but I never bought it on the Wii VC in the first place.

We're not talking 'rebuys' when you have an original physical game are we? (In my case LttP on GBA)
Posted: 04/26/16, 23:00:46

Right. I haven't rebought (or bought) anything. I'm not closed to the idea of rebuying, but I'll have to really feel like it.

…aaactually I'm totally lying, just remembered I rebought Blaster Master, for an RFN game club thing. I was traveling so it was the only way to play it in time before the planned recording.

Anyway, would I be $4 richer if I didn't have to play full price? Yes. Is Nintendo missing out on more of my money by not allowing me to rebuy every game for $1? I'm not so sure. If I haven't desired hard enough to play a NES game portably to pay $5 for it, I probably don't want to enough to pay $1 either.
Posted: 04/26/16, 23:06:29  - Edited by 
 on: 04/26/16, 23:09:07

Uh what? The original 3DS couldn't handle SNES emulation?!

Posted: 04/27/16, 00:41:53

I'm pretty confident the OG 3DS could handle SNES emulation. I got a Super Famicom game for free when I bought Dragonball Z: Extreme Butoden. It wasn't NEW 3DS exclusive. Runs fine.

That said, I presume the SNES emulator Nintendo cooked up wasn't up to their standards or whatever. Being able to have Suspend features, Miiverse integration, yadda yadda.

Or not. Who knows.
Posted: 04/27/16, 00:52:12

Love the comments on that vid about games crashing and not working properly.

The list of games that don't even run was particularly amusing.

But hey, getting SNES games to run is super easy! No effort at all! They should give them to you for free!

Posted: 04/27/16, 02:39:22
@GameDadGrant even in that video there are minor hiccups running Super Mario World and stuff.
Posted: 04/27/16, 09:12:05

Is that not an original 3DS emulating SNES games? Hell the DS could do it and we know the 3DS can emulate GBA games which were very similar to SNES games.

On a side note your tendency to try and find anything at all objectionable with my posts is adorable. You move from point to point frantically searching for anything you can use to try and undermine what I've posted before retreating away from your point when you've given up. You seem pretty bitter bro. I'd let it go. It's a bad look.
Posted: 04/27/16, 22:15:59

No, SL and GDG had it right. You did show a 3DS running SMW, but poorly. And while the 3DS can run GBA and DS games, it can't do so with all the features Nintendo wants to implement (Miiverse, save states, sleep mode, etc.), which is most probably why Nintendo has yet to sell them. They give them away (Ambassador program, Club Nintendo, my.nintendo), but they have so far refused to charge for them. Clearly the results don't meet whatever standards they've set.

At any rate, the point that the labor going into emulating these games at a high enough quality level isn't free, or as simple as flipping a switch.
Posted: 04/27/16, 22:23:30  - Edited by 
 on: 04/27/16, 22:30:07

Yeah that's not gonna work for me when what was said was that the original 3DS was not capable of emulating SNES games.

And yeah, I agree they need to put in work to make the games run on each platform. My point is for $8 for a 20 year old game I should be getting it on every platform it's being put on. Otherwise it's not worth it to me. You have expressed regret at moving VC games from the Wii to Wii U in the past these games only working on the one console and then needing to be rebought or upgraded for the consoles after devalues them and it devalues Nintendo products as a result. Nintendo launching a new console with VC games from previous systems stocked on it instantly has appeal and value for the consumer. When I got my Vita I instantly had a library of PSP and PS1 games. That was appealing. If they had asked me to rebuy all those games instead I would've seriously thought twice about getting the system. Policies like this leverage old buyers in to new ones and make people more inclined to invest in your service. Think about the news coming out about the Wii U today. Would it be wise to buy VC games on there now? Or are you spending money to play old games that they're just going to try and sell you again in 2017 on the NX?
Posted: 04/27/16, 22:55:18
Well your evidence of a poorly emulated SMW doesn't work on anyone else, so...
Didn't think I had to define "not capable". How shitty does the emulation need to be for it to qualify as "not working" for you?

As far as your other arguments re: "buy once, get ports forever" go, I don't have anything to say that SL hasn't said already. I'm of the mind that the $8 you paid for a SNES game on the Wii entitles you to play that game on the Wii. Want to keep playing it over and over: keep the Wii around.

Nintendo DID launch a new console with every single VC game you previously purchased. After that, they had to emulate each title specifically for the Wii U and added features, and charged a small upgrade fee, but it was all opt-in. Seems fair to me.

What DIDN'T launch with all the PS1 games people bought was the Vita: the ability to play PSOne Classics was added after launch, by batches, and last I looked some titles still aren't officially available on the system.

Sony's standards for emulation clearly aren't as high as Nintendo's, as many titles have issues depending on the system you're playing them on. The first Spyro had slowdown for me when played on PS3, I had to play it on PSP. And Final Fantasy V never worked properly on either system. Game-killing bug after a couple hours.

PLUS, Sony's largesse only goes so far, apparently, as you're definitely not getting the PS2 Classics you bought on PS3 for free on PS4.

Finally: clearly the consumer good will Sony got with PSOne classics working on Vita only went so far.
Posted: 04/27/16, 23:09:40  - Edited by 
 on: 04/27/16, 23:11:31
I wonder if we'll ever get a clear answer out of Nintendo as to why SNES games *HAVE* to be exclusive to the NEW 3DS. I suspect not, but I'd love to hear it straight from the proverbial horse's mouth.

As to the debate going on right now, I only have this to add. I will foolishly believe that everyone would agree with my thoughts. Let me know if you don't.

SO! Whether or not SNES games would work on the OG 3DS is irrelevant at this point. Nintendo - for whatever reason - has made these NEW 3DS-only. It is what it is. Now, I do see viable reason as to why Nintendo can charge $8 a pop to download an SNES game to a N3DS. Even if the MyNintendo account associated with the N3DS is the same as the one that bought those same games for Wii or Wii U. It's Nintendo's digital merchandise. It's their IP. They can sell it for whatever they want. On that point, I agree with Shadowlink.

That said, it's up to the consumer whether it is worth the money to pay Nintendo for the privilege. If it's not, then they don't have to buy what they're selling. To that, I agree with Stephen.

And is anyone going to argue that they DON'T want to get previously purchased digital content (Virtual Console or otherwise) for free on Nintendo's other hardware? Like, is anyone adamant about WANTING or NEEDING to pay Nintendo for previously purchased Wii or Wii U SNES Virtual Console games, in order to play those same games on N3DS?

Because while (generally speaking) I don't have a huge issue with re-buying stuff...*if* I could get those games I bought on Wii/Wii U Virtual Console for free on my N3DS? I wouldn't say no. Who would? I mean seriously.

And I think that's what Stephen is really getting at. Other companies allow digital content to be used on multiple devices by the same manufacturer, for one price/point of purchase. Why not Nintendo, too? I'm not against it.

That said, pffft. No $8 charge is gonna stop me from playing something like A Link To The Past on my handheld. (especially considering the fact, IIRC, I got that game for free on Wii thanks to Club Nintendo a few years back. So I guess I only paid for that game once anyway. Success!)
Posted: 04/27/16, 23:59:40
I guess on one hand, I do feel entitled that I'd want to have these games playable across my devices, but on the other, I can't help but (most likely) overestimate the amount of work involved with bringing VC games to different platforms. It probably is harder than I realize to do this and do it well.

What I'd imagine is that Nintendo would definitely utilize an account system more if they could more easily port games across platforms. If it was easier for them to port games across platforms (as it is with the iPad and iPhone, and similar platforms), I think cross buy and an account structure will be much more of a reality. We've seen them experiment with it already even with a couple games, across devices that really have different architectures.

So what i think we'll see is that NX, portable and console, will have an incredibly similar architecture. We can kind of assume as much given the merger of their hardware departments. Porting a game over could be as easy as moving a game from iPad to iPhone, tablet to Android phone. Once that happens, I think they'll be much more open to the idea of tying purchases to accounts so that people can access games across platform, since the expense of moving games around will be much lower.

STILL, think about it this way. A family of 4 wants to play Pokemon. Does anyone really expect Nintendo to let someone download Pokemon onto multiple devices? I could imagine them letting you transfer it to two (handheld and console) but not if a family of 4 has 4 3DS' or something. How do they get around that if they tie purchases to an account system? Selling multiple copies of the same game, at least with Pokemon, is largely a reason for that series' success.
Posted: 04/28/16, 00:13:49  - Edited by 
 on: 04/28/16, 00:15:44

I think they'll circumvent that situation by only allowing one account per handheld device. Considering that handhelds are typically only used by one person, I don't think that would be an issue.


You can transfer accounts between handhelds, but an account can only be activated on one device at a time. So one person could buy Pokémon, and it would be tied to that person's account. If they wanted to play that game on someone else's device, they would have to sign in with their account on that person's handheld, download or stream the game on to that, and disable that game on their own device.


Pokémon wouldn't even be an issue anyway, since those games only have one Save Slot. So who would want their friend or kid playing their file? No one, that's who.
Posted: 04/28/16, 00:48:22

Mere flawed emulation of games isn't the point as Gui has so aptly explained. And it certainly isn't an argument supporting your notion that you somehow deserve these games for free.

These things take effort, and effort costs. You're not entitled to squat.

PS. As for your side note, what's really adorable is your assumption that I'm subjecting you to some sort of special attention. Sorry bucko. You're not the first person on NW I've disagreed with, and you probably won't be the last. Heck, I had weeks of back and forth with JKR, denouncing the demon bird Fletchling, and that was completely tongue in cheek. So I invite you to contemplate just how ridiculous I find your bleating.

PPS. Gui disagrees with you too. Quick, accuse him of being bitter. That'll show him.


I agree that Stephen has the right to buy or not buy what he wants, I merely question the logic behind his decisions and opinions.

After all, he had no issues buying VC games back when the Wii first came out. There was no indication then that these games would be transferrable to any other system. Didn't stop him from buying them then. So clearly the value was there.

That hasn't changed. Nintendo hasn't magically become shitty. Rather it's Stephens expectations that have gone up (to the point of entitlement in my opinion.)

You're right, I don't think *any* of us would object to having our VC libraries fully transferrable in perpetuity But it's the sentiment that it's something that we're somehow owed (and if we don't get it, then Nintendo is shitty) that that I object to.
Posted: 04/28/16, 01:06:04  - Edited by 
 on: 04/28/16, 01:07:31

I can HALF agree with that. I mean, on one hand, you're right. We're not owed anything. Like I said earlier, this is Nintendo's digital merchandise, they can sell it for whatever they want. It's totally up to them. They never promised us anything.

However, I don't see being able to get previously purchased digital goods on separate devices for one charge as being unreasonable. It happens a lot in the rest of the industry. And it's clearly possible - Nintendo just doesn't want to do it.

Posted: 04/28/16, 03:07:25
Grant said:
And is anyone going to argue that they DON'T want to get previously purchased digital content (Virtual Console or otherwise) for free on Nintendo's other hardware? Like, is anyone adamant about WANTING or NEEDING to pay Nintendo for previously purchased Wii or Wii U SNES Virtual Console games, in order to play those same games on N3DS?
No, of course not. It would be nice to have. It's okay to want things.

But the argument, as I see it, is that Nintendo SHOULD do it because it buys consumer good will, etc. Well, it's a big "maybe". So far the evidence doesn't point to it being worth it.

The consoles with BC downloads from launch or early on :

- Wii U, flop
- Vita, flop
- 3DS, initial struggle

Meanwhile, the PS4 is the hot console right now and won't even play PSOne Classics.

What we know just doesn't support the idea that it's worth it. Better for Nintendo to focus on other things. And if NX has a VC, they can charge whatever. A small upgrade fee, if the NX proves powerful enough to easily emulate everything, or more.
Posted: 04/28/16, 05:47:43

Agreed, overall.

Though I'll say this; I'm of the opinion that digital purchases being backwards compatible/cross-buy *would* buy consumer good will. True, there's not much hard evidence for that...but I am of the opinion that it wouldn't HURT. It could only help, I think. Probably. Maybe. *shrugs*

On a slightly different but still similar topic; it is interesting to note that, in Nintendo's favor, they are the only company that offers backwards compatibility on their current gen machines with physical game purchases from last gen. Wii U plays Wii discs. 3DS plays DS carts. It was like that from Day One with both systems.

Pretty sure that wasn't the case for literally EVERY OTHER system this gen. Sooooo....Nintendo wins points for that at least, yeah?
Posted: 04/28/16, 15:00:11  - Edited by 
 on: 04/28/16, 15:04:24
I'm not saying it doesn't at all buy consumer goodwill. I'm saying it doesn't move the needle enough to matter.

And yeah, BC is nice! My feeling it that it probably helps software sales of the previous console more than it helps hardware sales of the new one.
Posted: 04/28/16, 17:14:57

Good points! Agreed on both.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to drop $8 on my N3DS so I can have Super Mario Kart on-the-go.
Posted: 04/28/16, 17:20:54
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