I think the Big N missed the memo that was sent around the office (or rather, world) on what their fans want. Nintendo apparently forgot to include any code in their emulation software to simulate the N64 Memory Pak peripheral. This means that any game that utilized it will have to forgo it completely. As of now, only Mario Kart 64 uses it for saving time trial ghosts, but there are games out there that use it far more extensively.
Games like WinBack, Shadowman, and Extreme-G all used the memory pak for single-player game saves. The peripheral, which would connect to the expansion bay on the N64 controller, was integral to the enjoyment of these otherwise great games of yesteryear. So what does Nintendo have to say for themselves? Apparently that we shouldn’t have even asked in the first place. In regards to the Mario Kart problem:
“Due to unavoidable technical reasons unfortunately it is not possible to save ghost data from Mario Kart 64’s Time Trials in the Virtual Console version of the game,” reads the statement issued to Pro-G.
For its part, Nintendo does say that it has “placed messages advising users about this before they download the game both when the Wii Shop Channel is first accessed and in the More Details tab on the individual game page.”
Not exactly a complete write off, but it doesn’t seem to bode well for support of the peripheral. And we have to remember: this is a flagship Nintendo title. If they won’t add the extra five lines of code (give or take) for their own games, they probably won’t even bat an eye when considering 3rd party titles.
Nintendo may just decide to not even release those titles that used the memory pak. But that is a complete disaster in my mind.
I can’t imagine it being very hard to implement the extra code. Emulators on the Internet have already implemented a system to bypass the memory pak. Some have even included Internet play. Is there an added benefit for Nintendo not to do it, perhaps security reasons?
Hopefully this all gets resolved really quickly. The VC service is dead to me if I don’t gets me my WinBack.
I don’t get what Nintendo’s problem is. I can’t fathom it being something other than politics, but how is completely unclear. If it’s really just laziness or unwillingness to give a shit about VC games, well then damn, what a slap in the face to stupid people (me) who buy games they should just emulate on a PC.
Just to balance the argument, and speaking as a developer, the reasons may really be technical. While very little to do with programming is "unavoidable", they may go to the core of the virtual console implementation, which could make emulating memory paks pretty much unfeasible. Simply because others have successfully emulated them doesn’t mean that it’s easy to do it within the framework in which nintendo is working. Are they stupid for not making memory paks a requirement from the getgo, and engineering so that they could be easily implemented? Yes. Is it an intentional slight to the customers? Possibly not.