At long last, Nintendo has announced that the Switch will include, for an extra twenty dollars a year, an online service that will allow you to back up all your saves to the cloud. Along with this information comes the news that twenty NES classic games will become available to play at any time. More games will follow. The list includes the likes of Super Mario Bros 1 and 3, The Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong, Ice Climbers, and more. This online service also includes the ability to play these games online with friends. Sadly, with this “Netflix-like library of games” coming to the Nintendo Switch, this does not mean that the Virtual Console has finally returned to Nintendo consoles. While one can now play these games that they previously could not, according to a Nintendo spokesperson in an email to Kotaku:
“There are currently no plans to bring classic games together under the Virtual Console banner as has been done on other Nintendo systems.”
Never Say Die About The Virtual Console
Very important pieces of information become more clear if one knows how to read the above statement. The spokesperson stated that no plans to use the banner of Virtual Console currently exist. This may insinuate the idea that plans may still come to fruition in the future, if not now. You truly never can say never. It also insinuates that the Virtual Console may still exist now under a different name. Buy the subscription, and one may get even more choices in the future. For all anyone knows, Nintendo may obtain plans later, to rerelease games for even newer systems than just the NES.
The importance of preserving old games for future generations has always existed. The Virtual Console, considered clunky and flawed by some, still offered a great way to enjoy games of the past. Even if navigating the interface did not always yield the game one searched for.
The Roads Nintendo Could Go Down
The Nintendo Switch could very well go the way of the Playstation Store. During the Playstation 3 generation, one could go online and buy games that previously only lived on the original Playstation. A few choices even included games such as Psychonauts and God Hand, previously only available on the Playstation 2. Certain early iterations of the Playstation 3 also included backwards compatibility. One could truly see the potential Sony had to keep on preserving the past.
During this newer generation, however, the only preservation of the past from Sony comes in the form of HD remasters. Microsoft, on the other hand, sees more games of the original Xbox era available to rediscover as time goes on. Nintendo appears to have chosen the modern Sony route.
The Question Of Nintendo’s Preservation Future
Even if Virtual Console has died, this doesn’t mean that there are not other ways to play old Nintendo games. But consoles that near fifty years in age can only last so long. Preservation societies such as VAPS (The Video Game & Arts Preservation Society) only preserve games. They cannot physically get these games into the hands of new people who wish to play them.
Whether the Virtual Console stays dead or not, there will always exist different ways to preserve old games. This includes keeping one’s old systems, HD remasters, and as downloadable content on new systems. The unfortunate reality remains that if you love a video game, you should not get rid of it. Hopefully, the youth of today may grow up and preserve the new and old games that they love as well.