We Should Get Classic PC Games on the Virtual Console Too…
As any Nintendo fan with access to the eShop knows, the Virtual Console on the 3DS and Wii U is filled with games from all kinds of different systems. You’ve got games from the NES, SNES and Nintendo 64. Handheld titles for the Game Boy and Game Boy Advance. Heck, you’ve even got games for what used to be rival systems, like the Sega Genesis or the TurboGFX-16!
But one group of games hasn’t ever appeared on the Virtual Console, or any other console based digital download service for that matter. And that group of games, is that of classic PC games. Games from both the DOS era and earlier computer based systems like the ZX Spectrum.
The first group, is an interesting one. You see, while a lot of people were growing up with consoles like the SNES and Genesis/Mega Drive (especially in the US), European gamers and various others had their own interesting games in the form of PC exclusives. These included ID Software’s Commander Keen series, a series of Mario inspired platformers that actually started out as an attempt to make a computer port of Super Mario Bros 3:
And Jazz Jackrabbit, a series of 2D Sonic style games that were extremely impressive in terms of technical capabilities, even for the time:
These franchises, along with many other PC only platformers and games of the day (other notable examples including Speedy Eggbert, etc) were never released on consoles. So just about everyone who enjoyed Mario, Sonic, Mega Man or various other console only franchises, never got to play them. Perhaps the Wii U could finally change this, with the game’s being available for Nintendo fans just as they were for old school PC gamers. After all, they definitely seem like the type of games that fans of NES and SNES era platformers would enjoy playing, right?
The other type of old school computer games that should be available on VC, are not DOS or early Windows PC games. Instead, they’re titles for old British systems like the ZX Spectrum or BBC Micro or Amstrad computers. These include some of the very first games made by Rare, then called Ultimate Play the Game. Like Knight Lore and Sabre Wulf:
And these aren’t the only games either. Dr Ashens and Guru Larry on Youtube have made tons of videos showing these old school UK only games on systems like the Spectrum. For example…
And so while many of the games they mention are the less impressive ones (because they’re internet comedians, and poorly done games make funnier videos), they do remind us how many games were released for these systems way before Nintendo struck it big with the likes of Super Mario Bros. Seriously, the wiki page for the Spectrum says about 25,000 games were released for the console. And even with Sturgeon’s Law in full force (and about 1% of that total being good games), that still leaves hundreds or thousands of titles that could be seen as great classics if they were finally released on a modern console with an audience outside of the UK.
So let’s try and get some of these titles rereleased on the 3DS and Wii U Virtual Console, so that the a whole new generation of gamers (plus anyone who’s only played Nintendo titles in general) can experience such gems for themselves.