If you’re a retro player, this generation we have lots of options available to us. Whether you own an Xbox 360 and use XBox Live Arcade, or a Playstation 3 and use the Sony Marketplace, there is the potential to see lots of old games remade. I’ll admit I am more partial to the Virtual Console, mainly because I like the idea of playing old games exactly like they were when they were released. I can see the argument of adding online play to some games for those who want more people to play with, I just don’t see that as a big factor for me.
The draw of the Virtual Console is the selection. With there talk of adding old Commodore 64 titles to the mix, I’m even more intrigued. Back when I was a kid, I owned an Atari 800XL (that I still own today) and it was by far my favorite computer of all time. Atari did a great job with it and I’m surprised it and my 1050 disk drive are still in good shape. However, as time goes on, I worry about whether or not my old games will still work. As of now, everything works fine, but with the Virtual Console, I see the potential of getting some of those timeless classics released in a format that is both legal and relatively permanent.
Of course, this doesn’t just apply to old Atari and Commodore 64 games. How many of us have had the batteries go out on their Dragon Warrior games? It’s frustrating to pop in an old cartridge to “relive the memories” only to find out that the save you pumped 40 hours into is gone. I know at one point, Nintendo was replacing batteries on old carts, but that doesn’t bring the information back.
All of this leads to dreams of games that I would like to see show up on the Virtual Console in some way. Here’s my list of personal favorites:
Alternate Reality: The City & Dungeon (Atari 8-bit, RPG) – Both of these games were released on the Atari 8-bit computers and the C64 back in the mid 1980s. I was a huge fan of the series and Philip Price is one of the guys who inspired me to get into games as more than a hobby. At one point, he was involved in a MMO project that was supposedly going to bring the Alternate Reality universe back to life, but somehow that fell through. I would enjoy seeing these games released on the Virtual Console as one big game. Being able to play the games without any disk swapping would be great. The only real problem I would see with that stems from the fact that it would need a keyboard. Shouldn’t be hard for Nintendo to add keyboard support for use with these games. I just hope that if someone did release these games on the Virtual Console, that they used the superior Atari 8-bit version over the Commodore 64 version.
Alternate Reality: The City
Traysia (Genesis, RPG) – There were lots of people who didn’t like this game because of its clunky control, but I thought it was one of the best RPGs on the Genesis. It was released by Renovation in the early ’90s and a game that I found by accident. At the time, I was starving for an RPG and happened to see an ad for it in a magazine. After some looking around, I was able to find a copy. Interestingly enough, I still own it. If this game was released on the Virtual Console, I would purchase it in a heartbeat.
Shining Force 2 (Genesis, Strategy RPG) – This is one of Climax’s best games in my opinion. Well developed story, excellent music, great game balance, and well designed fights. I don’t know how many hours I put into that game back in the day. Climax was able to continue with the Shining Force magic with Shining Force 3 (Saturn) and Shining Force CD (Sega CD), but Shining Force 2 is what really drew me into the series.
Shining In the Darkness (Genesis, RPG) – How many people still remember this game? When I first got my Genesis all of those years ago, this was my first game. Sadly, I did not own it for long as I returned it to the store to get some game I can’t even remember. Luckily, I was able to borrow a copy from a friend a few months later and was able to beat it. To this day I’m not even sure why I returned it. Perhaps it was one of those moments where we can’t think straight. Needless to say, that after beating it two or three times, I find this game to be one of my favorite dungeon crawling RPGs. I have always been partial to Climax games as you can tell, and this particular game really shows their stuff.
Wizards Crown and The Eternal Dagger (Atari 8-bit/Commodore 64, Strategy RPG) – This is the series that started the old AD&D Gold Box games. We owe a lot of Paul Murray and what he was able to accomplish. Another one of my personal favorites from the era. I was a huge fan of SSI games. This particular one stands out because it was revolutionary at the time. You had ultimate control of what you wanted your group to be and the combats were intense. I can’t remember how many times I had one of my guys go down and bleed to death because I couldn’t get to him fast enough. Lots of great times playing those games and though I doubt we’ll ever see them on Virtual Console, I can hope that someone out there at least sees the value in brings games like this back.
ZorK 1 & 2, Planetfall, and Starfall (Atari 8-bit/Commodore 64, Text Adventure) – It’s funny to think that even in times where the endless debate of which graphics card can push the most polys, or what system has the best shader support, I can still whip out my old copies of Zork and enjoy them. I doubt many people could appreciate their design these days, but I would still like to see them re-released on the Virtual Console. Of course, there would need to be keyboard support. How many people would love to run through these games again?
Blaster Master (NES, Shooter) – Over the years Sunsoft has tried to capture the magic of the original Blaster Master with varying degress of success. However, there is something timeless about the original which will be hard to recapture. I remember trying out the Playstation version at an E3 a few years ago and it just didn’t feel right. I remember my friend and I spending days trying to beat that game. We’d leave the system on and come back to it after we got some sleep. Brings back lots of memories.
Golgo 13 and The Mafat Conspiracy (NES, Action) – I’ve always enjoyed Golgo 13 comics. During my stay in Japan, I spent a good amount of my time visiting bookstores trying to find all of the comics. I remember when I graduated from high school renting Golgo 13 and spending all night trying to beat it. The graphics were simple, but I loved the cutscenes. A few years later, I picked up The Mafat Conspiracy and fell in love with the series all over again. The adoption of the Ninja Gaiden cutscenes was a major improvement. It was this game that gave me the inspiration for The Assassin. A great set of games overall and I believe would make a great addition to the Virtual Console.
The Mafat Conspiracy
I could go on forever, so I’ll cut the list short. There is a lot of potential here and while not every game we played back then should be revisited, I’m sure we all have some personal favorites we would love to see again. The games I mentioned above I think were good games that hold up even today. With the announcement of The Last Ninja and Impossible Mission for the Virtual Console, I’m hopeful that other classics will make it as well. With that, I’ll leave you with some other games that I would like to see. Feel free to make your own suggestions as well.
- Section Z (NES, Shooter)
- Lifeforce (NES, Shooter)
- Miner 2049er (Atari 8-bit, Action)
- Loadrunner (Many, Puzzle)
- Batman (NES, Action)
- Order of the Griffon (TG-16, Strategy RPG)
- Rolling Thunder 3 (Genesis, Action)
- Ys 3 (Genesis, Action RPG)
- Ranger X (Genesis, Shooter)
- Shadowrun (SNES/Genesis, RPG)
- Broadsides (Atari 8-bit/Commodore 64, Strategy)