Lost to History; Five Classic Nintendo Games Unlikely to Ever See a Rerelease…

With the 3DS and Wii U eShop having a Virtual Console that lets you play old games on modern systems, you’d think the days of a game being lost forever are well and truly gone.  After all, who in the industry wouldn’t want easy money?

Unfortunately, you’d be wrong, since quite a few otherwise good games have been lost to the ages due to either business issues, legal issues or technical issues, many of them on Nintendo systems.  So here they are, five classic Nintendo games unlikely to ever be rereleased on any modern system…

5. All Third Of a Gen Pokemon Games


Above: One of many games unlikely to be released in the Pokemon series.

Because if Game Freak hates doing anything, it’s just releasing old Pokemon games on the Virtual Console insteas of as full price remakes with a ton of new content.  This is usually good, but…

It means the third versions usually suffer, since their content is too ‘different’ to be brought over to the remakes and Nintendo never usually follows up their ‘main remakes’ with a ‘third edition remake’ like they do for new games.

So Pokemon Yellow and Crystal (along with all the great ideas included within) may as well be now lost to history.  And the future ones?

Well, won’t that be an interesting situation?  Pokemon Emerald and Platinum involve all new storylines, characters and settings.  Will they be brought over to the ‘main’ remakes?  Or will the likes of the Distortion World, Juan and Charon never be seen again?

Pokemon Black and White 2 as well.  Wonder how that’ll be remade.

Either way, the third gen Pokemon games make the list, with Yellow and Crystal versions now nothing but a distant memory that most people will never experience.

4. Pokemon Stadium + Sequels

Pokemon stadium box

But if it the prospects of a rerelease on Virtual Console (or anywhere else) already seemed slim for the likes of Pokemon Yellow and Crystal, the situation Pokemon Stadium and its followups are in makes those games look positively blessed by comparison.


Because Pokemon Stadium and its successors use a certain type of technology that to all extents and purposes is basically impossible to emulate well.

Namely, the transfer pak and other features designed to send data from a handheld video game console game to a home console one.  You know, the type of feature which is handled differently in every single Nintendo console to date and in which no practical solution exists for the 3DS and Wii U.  This means Nintendo would have to do one of two things to make these games work:

1. Allow you to transfer from ‘real’ Pokemon games, which would mean bringing Pokemon from X and Y back to Stadium 1 or 2 (or Colosseum, XD, etc).  They’d have to filter out not only Pokemon that didn’t exist back then (so in other words, about 567 different species)  but also impossible abilities, attacks, forms, held items and other things too.  And cope with the massive changes in the data structure between games, which would be damn near impossible between gen 1/2 and anything else and still fairly tricky for the first Colosseum (gen 3’s data structure was still very different to what it is today).   They’d also have to somehow trick the game in treating a 3DS connected to a Wii U as a Pokemon game inserted into a Nintendo 64 transfer pak or a GBA connected to a Gamecube by physical wire. Pretty big tech challenges there.

2, Allow you to transfer from virtual console versions of the earlier games.  Is this possible?  Good question, I don’t think any VC games have been made that let you transfer games from other digitally downloaded titles on the same service.  So in other words, more massive technical hurdles to jump.

And for a game which at best will sell a few million copies (ports and remakes do bad at the best of times, and none of the Stadium games are exactly the Super Mario Bros or Wii Sports of their day), it’s just an insane amount of work that Nintendo will probably never bother with.

3. Mario Party 1

Mario Party Box

Above: Killed by analogue stick rotation mini games.

Not included because of technical issues (although a fair amount of technical modification would be required to release it anyway), Mario Party 1 is included here because of one very worring issue:

It’s not going to ever be rerelease due to legal risks/issues.

Basically, back in the Nintendo 64 days, people ended up using their palms to play those ‘rotate the control stick as fast as possible mini games’.  These were practically impossible in any other way.

Above:  The mini games that caused much hell (for both players and Nintendo)

They also caused serious issues with players getting painful blisters due to the ridiculous speed of which you’d need to rotate the analogue stick to win said mini games.  And as per you may expect, Nintendo got sued.  Hard.

The result of the class action lawsuit meant Nintendo had to issues gloves to people who bought the game, lost thousands of dollars and according to speculation… meant the company may have lost up to 80 million dollars on giving out gloves to players and paying legal costs.

And as a result, Nintendo has pretty all but said they’re not touching the game with a barge pole, and has completely skipped releasing it on any Virtual Console services.  Probably a wise move really, given that another court case would be almost inevitable if the mini games were left intact (especially if anyone read tips from old gaming magazines or websites).  So unless they’re willing to either completely remake about five mini games to use a new control scheme (this list includes Tug O War, Pedal Power, Paddle Battle and that Fly Guy mini game) or remove them from the game entirely, Mario Party 1 will likely never be rereleased until the game goes out of copyright.

2. Donkey Kong 64

Donkey Kong 64

Above: MIA since the Nintendo 64 era.

If you’ve looked ahead to the next entry as well as this one, you may have realised that the general theme to many of this lists games can be summed up in one word:


Their buyout has caused endless grief to just about everyone over the last five or ten years, and damn Donkey Kong 64 is one of the games most badly affected.


Jetpac.  A game that Nintendo doesn’t own is required to be beaten to complete a Donkey Kong game.  Cue legal hoops that Nintendo would have to go through to rerelease it.

Of course, that’s not all.  Oh no, how about?

The expansion pack being needed, and precisely because Rare encountered a glitch that caused the game to crash constantly.  So instead of spending a ton of time trying to find the cause of said glitch, they just threw more RAM at it so it wouldn’t kill the system.  This and other things (like the huge scale of this title) likely makes emulating it a complete and utter technical nightmare.

Add a rather unfair backlash towards the game and its literally TONS of collectible items, and you’ve got a game which Nintendo probably just doesn’t consider worth the hassle to ever rerelease.

1. GoldenEye 007

Golden Eye 007 box

Above: A classic now lost to the ages due to rights disputes.

And now, we get to the holy grail of ‘lost’ games.  The classic First Person Shooter that defined the Nintendo 64 generation and has become seen as the best licensed game of all time.

A title that’s now probably lost in legal limbo because of the ridiculous licensing battle going on between its makers.

You see, this game was developed by Rare (back when they were second party), published by Nintendo and used the James Bond license (obviously).  Unfortunately, Rare got bought by Microsoft and got stuck making crappy sports games on Xbox systems.

And just like that, the chance of this game ever getting a rerelease fell apart. Nintendo and Microsoft are competitors, they don’t particularly want to give their rival a game that could sell systems/gather interest, so both companies are in the state where they’re not going to approve the game’s rerelease on any digital distribution service.  Besides, if they did, they’d need to come up with some sort of fee sharing/profit sharing scheme to decide who makes what from the eShop and Xbox Live versions.

It then gets even more complicated.  Neither own the James Bond license rights for video games.  So this mysterious third party (who most recently was Activision) also has to agree with the other two.  It’s why Activision made a GoldenEye remake for the Wii, Xbox 360 and PS3 with mostly new content instead of a straight HD port/remaster.

So just like that, one of the best games of an era is now unavailable to millions of people who likely want to try it for themselves.  Isn’t the messed up legal system in gaming just grand?

Well, that ends the list.  Did I miss out any obvious cases?  Do you have fond memories of any of these lost Nintendo classics?  If so, post your comments below or at Nintendo 3DS Community.com today!


Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
6 years ago

I noticed the top 2 are from Rare. Man I miss rareware, back in the days when everything they made was gold… If Nintendo were to buy back rare with the old team, it would make my year.

Michael Ocampo
Michael Ocampo
6 years ago

Those games wouldn’t hurt on a Wii U Gamepad control stick so…. (Mario Party)

6 years ago

You’re wrong… The third of a gen pokemon games didn’t get a remake which carried their names, but still most, if not all ideas were carried over to the franchise. HeartGold and SoulSilver are great examples, they included almost all new things Crystal offered, suicune stationary, story behind the unown, celebi and inlex forest. The games are lost, but their ideas are carried over to the other games. They don’t have to be remade.