The Virtual Console is one of my favorite aspects of the Wii. Never before was Monday something to look forward to. Now I can’t wait for Sunday nights to end. Nintendo loves to tease us about VC games. They may tell us that certain games are coming to the VC at some point, but they don’t give specific dates. Somtimes they surprise us with titles that we didn’t even know were coming our way. For instance, yesterday’s selection offered up 4 titles. We usually know that these games were either a) released on the VC in other regions, or b) coming to the US at some point. Streets of Rage, New Adventure Island, and Donkey Kong Country is a pretty nice collection for a VC update if you ask me (I am ignoring Legend of Kage on purpose!). Still though, there is one thing I want that, as of right now, I am not getting. I am yet to wake up Monday morning and see a press release discussing the Game Boy VC releases of the day.
The Game Boy kicked ass from the day it was launched. I remember getting that bad boy for my birthday, and spending day and night with it fixed to my hands. I think by the end of the week my hands were molded perfectly to slide a Game Boy in. The puke greenish/yellowish colors didn’t matter to any of us one bit. We now had real gaming in the palm of our hands, ready to take on the go. No more boring car rides, no more waiting for your parents to stop using the TV…you could play a game anytime you wanted. Just to make sure that the Game Boy really dominated, Nintendo packaged it with Tetris, the ultimate puzzle game. Put those two together, and you have a never-ending time sucker. As time went on, hit after hit kept coming. Console franchises made the jump to the even smaller screen, new IPs were birthed on the Game Boy, and ground-breaking products like the Game Boy Camera called the portable home.
Game Boy had everything going for it possible. With the huge support from almost every developer, the system brought gamers hundreds of titles to choose from. Portable competition came and went, all being shot down by the Game Boy. The other guys had color screens, better sound, backlighting, and a number of other superior features. It didn’t matter in the end though…Game Boy had the games, and the fun. The Game Boy really was the first system to show that graphics didn’t have to match the competition…gameplay was what mattered. We are actually going through the same thing with the DS as of right now, but that’s for another discussion.
Unfortunately, the Game Boy software lineup has gone mostly forgotten. This isn’t the fault of gamers; it is just hard to find games anymore. Sure you could sift through on eBay, but that isn’t how it used to be. Stores like GameStop and EB used to carry a ton of used Game Boy games. Today you will find a handful at most, and that’s if you are lucky. Game Boy games have been relegated to the smaller game stores, the specialty shops, and the online world. I used to have an absolutely massive Game Boy game collection, until the one day where I traded them all in. Those were back in the days where I wasn’t thinking straight. I would give anything to have all those titles back. I have tried to collect them again through the internet, and various game stores…but to no avail.
On top of that, there are the gamers who never even owned an original Game Boy, let alone play any of the software. We are living in the Game Boy Advance generation…the days of the original Game Boy gamers have come and gone. We are all “old” gamers…at least considered to be old in the gaming world. These new gamers missed out on a huge amount of amazing titles simply because you can’t find the software/platform anymore. They never got the chance to experience the boom that was the Game Boy. This may be one of the reasons Nintendo is undecided on bringing Game Boy games to the VC.
Will the new generation of gamers be tolerant of original Game Boy’s shortcomings? Graphics are “worse” than what the NES could do. Sound didn’t match the NES capabilities either. Games had next to no color, if you even consider what the Game Boy could do as a color scheme. It was more like shades of green than colors actually. Sure, there were Game Boy Color games, but not nearly as many as original Game Boy. Would these new gamers want to spend time playing Contra on the Game Boy when they can play Contra III: The Alien Wars, or the Genesis/NES versions that are hopefully on the way? Why play Donkey Kong Land when it is a watered-down version of Donkey Kong Country? The point of a good handful of Game Boy games was to bring the console experience to your pocket. Now we have seen the release of a ton of SNES titles on the GBA…would gamers want to play the Game Boy versions that tried to bring the console experience to a portable?
I really hope Nintendo decides that Game Boy games are worth their time. For every pocket-sized port of an NES title, there are even more original games. The Game Boy had some amazing titles that still stand out in my mind today. The most obvious ones being The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, as well as The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages/Seasons from the Game Boy Color. 3 excellent Game Boy Zeldas that a huge group of gamers haven’t had the pleasure of checking out. How about Bionic Commando: Elite Forces for the Game Boy Color? Did you know there was a Metal Gear game for the Game Boy Color? Metal Gear Solid: Ghost Babel mixed what we saw from Metal Gear Solid on the Playstation with the original style of Metal Gear on the NES. Hell…Wario, one of Nintendo’s classic characters, got his start on the Game Boy through Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins. I can’t possibly go through all the Game Boy/Game Boy Color games that are worth a look, just trust me when I say that there are plenty to keep you busy.
There is no doubt about it; the Game Boy library needs to come to the VC. Bring me the original titles in their lack of color, I don’t care. Colorize them if you think you have to. Release special borders for the screen so images aren’t super stretched. Put out one game at a time…it doesn’t matter to me. Nintendo needs to do whatever it takes to get these games out to us. There are plenty of gamers who yearn for those classic titles, as well as others who never had the chance to play them. Remind us all how the world of portable gaming really got started. Don’t let these titles disappear forever. There are way too many to be ignored, and just as many amazing titles that deserve to be in the spotlight again. I will be hoping for a surprise addition to the VC very soon.
That ends the day for me, another “End of day” post in the bag. Time for me to get some rest. I’ll catch you guys in a few hours, you know the deal. Have a great Tuesday morning everyone.
Damnit…now I want to play Ghost Babel…
Damnit…now I want to play Ghost Babel…