Nintendo's Virtual Console Choices Sure Are Strange

Nintendo's Virtual Console Choices Sure Are Strange

Today, Nintendo released the fifth downloadable Wii game for Wii U in North America. It's not what you might expect — the new release isn't Mario, nor is it Zelda. It's Pandora's Tower, a niche action game published by XSEED and released here for the Wii in 2013, way toward the end of the console's lifespan.

Now, there's anything wrong with Pandora's Tower — by most accounts it's a great action game — but man, Nintendo's Virtual Console strategy continues to be baffling.

In January, Nintendo declared during a Nintendo Direct that they'd be releasing Wii games for download with native support on Wii U, starting with Super Mario Galaxy 2, the Metroid Prime trilogy, and Punch-Out. This was great news! Then nothing happened for six months.

No Zelda: Skyward Sword, no Zack & Wiki, no Donkey Kong Country Returns, and none of the other classic Wii games we saw over the past decade. Last month Nintendo released Kirby's Return To Dream Land, and now, today, we get Pandora's Tower, making for a total list of five Wii games you can buy digitally on the Wii U and play using the newer console's features, like GamePad support.

Combine that with the paltry list of software for other consoles, the baffling lack of GameCube games, and the fact that there's still no unified account system, and we've got a service that continues to be inadequate. Meanwhile, look at all the N64 games you can play on Xbox One!

Still, enjoy Pandora's Tower.


    Pandora's Tower was rare, so when you look at it like that, it makes sense.

    the baffling lack of GameCube games

    While their here decisions are weird, I'd say lack of GameCube titles can probably be chalked up to the triggers. It's a minor change but stuff like Mario Sunshine gets weird without a GameCube controller.

      They could probably patch in support for the GameCube adaptor. But it would be a little extra work. I guess if they added it in the emulation layer, they'd only have to do it once.

        I'm not sure if Nintendo would be comfortable with that. I mean they've done required add-ons before but they keep things pretty simple. They'd have to make it so you couldn't accidentally buy Mario Sunshine without already owning the add-on which makes it more complicated, and given how slow they are with this complications are the last thing they need.

        I'm hoping they release their next console with a modern version of the GameCube controllers. Proper GameCube style triggers, a left hand Z button, a modern C-Stick instead of the nub and wireless functionality. It's not the best controller ever made but it suits them.

        Last edited 14/08/15 4:14 pm

          It was their most complex controller to date and yes, it was pretty good. I have to say, at the time I think it was the most comfortable as well.

    Baffling!? Really?

    It’s 2015, Nintendo released a fully backwards compatible console with a harddrive over 3 years ago and they’ve put up FIVE Wii games for download since.


    It’s unfathomable that Nintendo didn’t put their full 1st party Wii library up for download within the first year, it’s unfathomable why they charge over $5 for a broken Gamegear version on Sonic the Hedgehog on the 3DS store, it’s unfathomable that they charge $50+ to download Starfox 64 3D when it’s a 5 year old remake of a 20 year old game…… but none of it is baffling.

    Baffling would imply some kind of inconsistent behaviour. When it comes to the online store, Nintendo are nothing if not consistent.

      Nintendo have a fully backwards compatible machine. Microsoft haven't even launched backwards compatibility yet and I've got at least half a dozen 360 games downloaded from the marketplace and installed on my XBOX One. Sony have cross-buy working with the PS3, PS4 and Vita to make account wide purchasing work brilliantly. If the three of them would just copy each other's ideas here we'd be in heaven.

        Or they could all copy each other and we’d get the Frankenstein of Nintendo’s overpriced, poorly stocked store, Sony’s terrible ‘pay against the clock’ streaming service and MS’s need to ask permission from the developer to make games BC. =)

    Donkey Kong Country Returns was released on Wii U VC.

    Uhhh. Pandora's Tower alongside The Last Story and Xenoblade Chronicles were all incredibly rare games that were part of the same operation to get them translated/localised to the west.
    I have them all physically, but it does make me happy to see some actually GOOD games from the Wii get some possible love on a more popular console through digital sales.
    So I suppose they felt that it was the safer choice for selecting what Wii titles get sent over to VC.
    Although I do understand the annoyance in regards to low amount of titles for VC in general >

    Amusingly, Pandora's Tower has been out for a month or so in the PAL territories already. Xenoblade Chronicles came out last week and Nintendo are running a deal where you get a $13 discount on Xenoblade Chronicles X (Digital) if you purchase the original before it comes out. The PAL territories also have 10 Wii titles available and we've been getting a ton of great DS and GBA games along with some really good games from the older systems.

    Maybe Nintendo just likes the PAL territories because we don't complain about what we don't have and are thankful for what we do? ^_-

    Last edited 14/08/15 7:51 pm

    Yeah, they could do more, but I'm happy to finally have the opportunity to play Xenoblade.

    IT's not a strange choice at all. It's one of the only Wii games not in the bargain bin. Even the first party titles can't make full price anymore, but Pandora's Tower does.

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