Here are this week's releases on WiiWare, DSiWare, and Virtual Console!
Toribash Publisher: Nabi Studios Players: 1-2 ESRB Rating: T (Teen) – Animated Blood, Fantasy Violence Price: 1,000 Wii Points™ Description: Toribash is an online fighting game where you make all the moves. Use precision motion controls to create any move you want – the only limit is your imagination. Manipulate your fighter's joints for maximum impact and take out your opponents with precise hits. Boost your joints for added speed and strength to hit harder, then grab your opponents and slam them to the ground. Fight online and challenge players around the world using Nintendo® Wi-Fi Connection (broadband Internet access required). Want to make your own fight movies? Just jump into the replay editor. You can enter replays at any point in time and review your fight to catch that mind-blowing move you missed. When you're done, share with your buddies through WiiConnect24™.
Balloon Pop Festival Publisher: UFO Interactive Players: 1-2 ESRB Rating: E (Everyone) Price: 800 Wii Points Description: Balloon Pop Festival is a revolutionary puzzle game that's suitable for all ages. Point the Wii Remote™ controller at the screen to aim and link a series of balloons to create satisfying combos. Watch as the festival is beautifully animated, releasing different graphical elements to represent each month. The goal of the game is to score as much as you can before balloons cross the line on the bottom. Each festival has different graphical elements, animation and character costumes. The more you do through the festival, the more you will unlock graphics for playing other modes.
Primrose Publisher: Sabarasa Players: 1 ESRB Rating: E (Everyone) Price: 200 Nintendo DSi Points Description: Take your time, set your own pace, establish your own goals and adapt your play style however you like. Primrose rules are easy: There are no time limits, no levels, no arbitrary objectives and no constraints. Just place pairs of tiles on a game grid and attempt to corral groups of tiles with pieces of a different color. Surrounded tiles disappear and surrounding tiles change colors, allowing chain effects to trigger combos for massive points. You can play long matches and try to keep up with increasing levels of difficulty, or just go all out on a huge single-move combo for millions of points.
Pop Island – Paperfield Publisher: odenis studio Players: 1-8 ESRB Rating: E (Everyone) – Comic Mischief Price: 200 Nintendo DSi Points Description: Discover a fresh, fun universe with easy pick-up-and-play control themes. Join your team and race, surf or fly on three new islands. Get a maximum of flags to win in the "Race for flags" or "Capture the flag" modes. With the new "Magic Shooters" team, take control of eight land, sea and air vehicles (including tanks, hovercrafts and planes) or animals (surfing penguins, eagles and black cats). An impressive graphics engine runs fast and smooth at 60 frames per second. In Solo Mode, rack up points and unlock new playable vehicles and maps. Use DS Download Play to share Pop Island – Paperfield and compete joyfully with up to seven friends. If you own Pop Island on your Nintendo DSi system, you can get three new maps and four vehicles, including a helicopter and a submarine.
Music on: Retro Keyboard Publisher: Abylight Players: 1 ESRB Rating: E (Everyone) Price: 200 Nintendo DSi Points Description: Turn your Nintendo DSi system into a full electronic keyboard with a carefully chosen selection of sounds and rhythms from the mythic computers and consoles of the 1980s. Whether you're already an expert or taking your first steps, Retro Keyboard will help you capture your inspiration wherever you are. Features include an '80s-inspired interface and a selection of keyboard, console and computer sounds from the '80s, plus rhythms inspired by the first generation video games. You can also enjoy an automatic accompaniment function with chord recognition, up to eight user-definable chords, a six-octave keyboard (two octaves visible), pitch bend function, 16 instruments, an integrated sequencer, metronome, recording and replay options.
24/7 Solitaire Publisher: cosmigo Players: 1 ESRB Rating: E (Everyone) Price: 500 Nintendo DSi Points Description: 24/7 Solitaire features 24 variations of the most widely known and best-loved single-player card games including Klondike, Freecell, Spider, Pyramid, Yukon and seven versions of Peg-Solitaire. Most games have custom game play options so you can enjoy the game with your favorite rules. On-screen instructions can help you learn new Solitaire variations. Statistics are available for players who love to track their wins. Save your game status at any time. The game's style and interface have been designed for easy, intuitive operation with the stylus or the control pad. Sit back, relax and enjoy the endless challenge and fun of this Solitaire game collection.
4 TRAVELLERS™ – Play French Publisher: AGENIUS Interactive Players: 1-4 ESRB Rating: E (Everyone) Price: 800 Nintendo DSi Points Description: Challenge your family and friends in a new digital board game while learning your first words in a new language together. Compete in a foreign hotel where the goal is to acquire objects, money and friends. Strategy and fast learning are essential. The game is suitable for players young and old, and no previous knowledge is necessary. The more you play, the more your French vocabulary increases. The game is perfect to bring on your trip, including more than 240 carefully selected words.
I just want them to keep releasing VC games. Where's Super Mario All Stars, Star Fox, E.V.O. Search for Eden, Yoshi's Island, Earthbound, Contra, Contra Hard Corps, Castlevania Bloodlines, Splatterhouse 3, etc.?
Yeah, I'm still waiting for Castlevania Bloodlines, as well. Excitebike 64, too.
I think licensing is keeping Contra from hitting the VC. Same thing for Earthbound. And I have a feeling Nintendo wants you to spend your money on all the 8-bit versions of the Super Mario series than simply pay $8 for all of them. In 16-bits.
As for the others.... yeah, what's the deal? I figured maybe Starfox and Yoshi's Island might have trouble on the VC thanks to their reliance on their respective Super FX chips... but Majora's Mask (N64) required the 4MB Expansion Pak to run, and that ended up being fine on the VC. Stop holding out on us, Nintendo!
As one of many gamers out there who own a Wii, I wanted to ask you a question about the amount of games being released on the VC every Monday. When the Wii first came out, we received 3-4 VC games per week but for the past few months only 1 VC game has shown up every VC Monday. Many of us (old school gamers like myself) are still waiting for hundreds of quality VC games to come out of the Nintendo closet.
The VC was a wonderful selling point for me and with supposedly endless games waiting for 'approval' from Nintendo (according to various online gaming sources), it's a shame that only one is being released per week after two years of the Wii's launch.
Unfortunately a company of your stature will never please everybody and that is just the nature of how things are but given that there are at least six systems being represented on the VC, aren't you grossly misrepresenting them by giving each system a game every 3 months (on average)?
If you are unable to answer this question, please forward it to someone who may be able to help. Thank you for taking the time in reading my letter.
That was a letter I wrote on Jan. 12th 2009 and this is the reply I got:
Hi ___ your question is valid.
We love to hear from the many fans excited about the Virtual Console! So many of you have contacted Nintendo regarding the games you would love to see added. While we appreciate your excitement and support, decisions regarding which games will be made available come from several different companies and are influenced by a variety of factors apart from consumer suggestions.
For more details about the Virtual Console, including an updated list of available software titles, check out the following web page:
New Virtual Console titles should continue to be released weekly across all systems, so there's hope that the title you're looking for will eventually appear. Keep checking our website (www.nintendo.com) for updates!
BS (I used initials... fitting though isn't it??) Nintendo of America Inc
Many things have happened since then - I believe more systems are represented now and 0-1 VC games are being released.. A MONTH. Who's going to write a letter before I do? Maybe we should ask Reggie??
@GameDadGrant Why would licensing keep Contra from the Virtual Console? I hear a lot of speculation about this, but nothing really adds up. Some people speculate that Microsoft has an exclusive license for the original Contra on XBLA, while others speculate that Hard Corps: Uprising is called that because it's on other systems and Nintendo has exclusive rights to the Contra name. I really don't think either one is true. I don't think the Contra name is popular enough for any company to bother trying to get exclusive rights of any kind to it. I think it's just sheer stupidity on Nintendo and/or Konami's part that the original NES Contra (and Hard Corps for Genesis) isn't on the Virtual Console yet.
Yeah, I don't know exactly why licensing fees would apply here (since Konami still owns the brand, right?) but, like you, I've heard the rumors (excuses) about the XBLA game and whatnot. I'm *not* sure why all the games from the series aren't on the VC - I was just throwing that reason out there. *shrugs*
In any case, I agree with you. It's pretty dumb that the original (and Hard Corps) aren't on the VC.
I think a more likely reason as to why Hard Corps: Uprising is called that is because it looks so different from most Contra games. While the original Hard Corps sort of had an anime feel to it, it wasn't quite as overt as its prequel is. Also I've heard that there will be gameplay features such as dodging and blocking attacks, which is not something that has been in any other Contra game to my knowledge, so Konami probably wants to promote it as its own thing, while still letting people know that it's essentially a Contra game.
The XBLA rumor especially doesn't make sense, since the NES version of Contra is very different from the arcade version. They're almost completely different games. And the arcade Super Contra is on XBLA, but that didn't stop Super C from hitting the Virtual Console way back in 2007.
Yea, I mean I understand saving certain games like StarFox, Yoshis Island, etc to release later on but there are just so many games they could choose from to at least keep it at one VC a week. 1 VC game a week is 52 VC games every year and I'm down with that.
I have such a tremednous backlog (retail and dl titles) that I guess it's a moot point, but still I love seeing what VC game they release next.
Yeah, the VC has been dead for a long while now. WiiWare seems to be slowly dying, too. I can't find any logical reasoning behind this, since there's still a bajillion games across all the supported systems on the VC that haven't been released, some well known and some not known at all.
I used to at least be able to look at the VC list and say "hey, that might be interesting to try." Can't even do that nowadays.
That's not to say there's nothing left, because there's still a lot I haven't grabbed, but generally I get attracted back to the service by listings of new games. Hasn't been happening lately, at all.
I have to agree with Orbital on this entirely - NoA really dropped the ball in a lot of ways this gen.
VC dying is almost hilarious in a sad sort of way. When the service first came out, and it became obvious it wasn't a true "iTunes of games" like service, I could see it dying out after Nintendo put all their games on the service...but certainly not before. And we aren't even just missing the "Why the fuck would you want that?" or "Uhh...what?" titles. Yoshi's Island is a HUGE game and one of the best, if not THE best, platformers ever and we still haven't gotten it.
Nintendo, despite "failing" with the VC, still has done a lot better than Sony with its PSOne Classics or Microsoft with the Game Room (so far). Obviously getting ahold of the legal owners of these old games is tougher than it looks (as for Nintendo's own games, I'm sure they'll all make it eventually).
It's really not that you can just point to a backlog and say: Hey, the [insert] system had a lot of games where are they? It doesn't work like that. A great number are licensed (easily > 30% of any library) and this poses a problem. It's not really worth the trouble to renew a license especially when it's not making that much money. Old celebrities, cartoons and sports figures fall into this. The next part are games that are hard to release for other reasons, like Earthbound or Mario Party. Someone might own chunks of the game or only in certain territories and it can be a legal mess that's also going to cost more that it would be worth to get it. The 3rd is publisher support. We have a reasonable idea who the VC publishers are, most of them have committed a good deal of their backlogs, others have not for whatever reason. These are perhaps some of the most maddening because there really is no good reason for it. Why no Mega Man X? This is a good question, and the answer is that Capcom must not want it up there. It's not really about Nintendo sitting on their asses. Maybe in terms of Yoshi's Island and Starfox this is true but in general it's a publisher specific thing.
I have little doubts that the teams responsible are more likely putting their time into WiiWare and DSiWare because the good chunk of VC games are already there (There's approximately 635 unique games across all territories released). It's probably not an internal priority anymore.
What I guess we should look forward to is how 3DS factors in. Will it be the same VC system or will the 3DS ports effectively create a split system? It's hard to say. I hope for the former but while VC on the Wii is fizzling out, I have a feeling this is not the last we will see of this concept.
@Pandareus Well, it might be different now, but from what I heard about a year ago developers were courting Nintendo to get on the system, not the other way around. And there was supposedly a huge backlog of submitted titles waiting to be ok'ed by Nintendo.
I have the feeling that the stupid ESRB rating process is the limiting step. As far as I know, it is the only significant cost of putting games on the VC. If companies aren't sure if they can recoup the rating fee, then the game won't get released. So niche games are a harder sell. Stupid ESRB.
@Zero I don't remember where, but I've heard that DSiWare is a bit more successful than WiiWare. Strange, since the interface is even shittier. But I've also heard that the best-selling games on WiiWare do as well as the best-selling games on XBLA, but the games that don't sell well just tank completely. That's not too surprising, though, because there is a lot of shit on WiiWare. I'm sure the shit on XBLA sells just as poorly.