Thursday, July 19, 2007

Should Virtual Console games be online?

Sorry for the late article! Saw Ratatouille today and it totally messed up my schedule. ON TO THE ARTICLE!!!

Ever since the Virtual Console was first announced, people thought "Hey, wouldn't it be great if we could play our multiplayer VC games online?". Well, here's my take on that popular question.

When Nintendo first announced the Virtual Console last March, they said that the point of the Virtual Console was to deliver classic gaming experiences to the homes of Wii owners. Wouldn't adding online functionality to the software then destroy the game's classical structure? Well, I suppose many could argue that it is still feasible, since Kid Icarus and The Legend of Zelda both received minor tweaks, such as changing some passwords and correcting a typo or two. So if those games can be edited, why not Mario Kart, Mario Party and Star Fox 64, then?

For starters, these would not be "minor tweaks". Nintendo would have to add new menus, status screens, name entries and more to these classic games, pulling them very far away from their original form. The massive reworking would also cost Nintendo much more than usual, and most likely result in a higher download fee. Some people complain that Virtual Console games are already overpriced, so do we really want to make the games cost more?

There's also the problem that Nintendo is already extremely busy making new games for the Wii and DS. Do we really want Nintendo to divert developers busy with Mario and Smash Bros. to add functionality to games that have already been around for over ten years? Sure, this wouldn't take too big a chunk out of the developers' time, but still, every little bit of time making a game counts! A mere week extra of production time can help a game greatly, and taking that week instead to slap online onto Mario Kart 64 could harm the new software's quality.

Finally, there's the issue of how much space these additions would take up. The Wii's paltry 512 MB internal memory is already bursting at the seams with saved game files, channels and other Virtual Console games. Do you want it to get even MORE cramped in there?

No, online isn't the way to go with Virtual Console games. There are just too many problems with it. If not the fact that it tarnishes the games' original format, it also takes developers away from much more urgent and awaited projects.

Could it happen? Maybe. But I just don't think it will. What are your opinions on the matter?

The Duck Has Spoken.


Sloprano said...

the games are emulated, so the could code a lobby and tunnel the gamepad ports through the emulator...
the dont have to do this for each game, only one time for each emulator (and the can use most of the tunnel code in each emulator...)

this is a work of 1-2 weeks ;)

EternalGameNation said...

Virtual Console games should be online, that would be crazy awesome and would definitely be a good idea for Nintendo. Having said that, it isn't likely to happen, if anything Wii-ware games might be online though.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows comes out at midnight tonight. Are you excited Duck? And do you have it pre-ordered?

ryanrab1 said...

nice article

another reason y the wii needs a external hard drive

Spectral said...

No because I think the joy of old school multiplayer games comes from when you're actually next to the person you're playing to laugh and talk with to bring back memories.

I don't think I can play Tecmo Bowl online by myself and laugh at it. I would have to have a friend with me so I can point out stuff.

PsychoDuck said...

That's why I really appreciate comments, Sloprano: I'm almost 100% clueless when it comes to how electronics work! I'm obsessed with them, but know next to nothing about how they function! I'm a weird one, that's for sure...

I agree, Eternal, it would be pretty cool to play some old games online, but all the problems in the way make it totally improbable, plus another factor (See next paragraph) (BTW, my brother-in-law's getting Harry Potter 7 tomorrow morning, so I'll be done it by this time next week :) )

And Spectral, I really agree with what you said just there. Mario Party is just so much fun playing with friends, but pretty boring VS CPU. To me, online feels like I'm just playing a really advanced AI. But at that party I went to today (See latest article) I had some of the most fun ever playing mediocre game on a PS2 because I was in a room full of people cheering, laughing and competing. And when it comes to classic games, this factor is increased tenfold by the fact that these games weren't originally online.

In the end, online in a VC game would be nice, but I really wouldn't go too nuts over it personally.

The Duck Has Spoken.