Weekly News We Care About Wrap Up – 2.23.07

New Virtual Console consoles
It looks like Wii owners will now have the chance to download Neo Geo and MSX games. I’d like to see the original Metal Gear, which is supposed to be significantly cooler than the NES port, and Master System favorites (that were ports from the MSX) Miracle Warriors and Golvellius. Of course the West may never get the MSX emulator because most (or all) of the system’s games are in Japanese. Maybe after Nintendo translates Fire Emblem 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 I will believe there’s a possibility they translate super obscure Japanese computer games on a system 99.8% of Americans have never heard of.

Speaking of Master System, why not give us a Wii emulator for Phantasy Star, Wonder Boy, Zillion, Alex Kidd and company? Or at least a Sega CD emulator so we can play Dungeon Exploer in style. The TG16 version looks like crap (not to mention plays like crap). With a Sega CD emulator, we could sink countless hours into Shining Force CD, Dark Wizard, Lunar 1 and 2, and maybe even Snatcher (plus I guess Vay and Popful Mail for you Working Designs faithful).

God damn that’s one pretty Dungeon Explorer.

As for Neo Geo, well there has been a lot of talk around the virtual water cooler about how impractical it will be to download such large games. This brings to attention the severe storage problem of the Wii. Forget Neo Geo roms, those arcade games will mostly get old very quickly (besides those 2d fighters I care nothing about), the lack of on-board memory means a Saturn emulator can never happen, and that’s a damn shame.

Nintendo actually revealed that they planned on selling the Wii for $200 but pressure from retailers made them jack the price by 50 bucks. Couldn’t they have thrown in another gig of internal hard drive space to facilitate the Virtual Console’s expansion to more systems? It may be painfully clear I’m a Sega fan, but even the Nintendo faithful would be happy to see Panzer Dragoon Saga and Radiant Silvergun available for download. Unless Nintendo charged eBay prices. And what about the indie game downloads? How will they even be possible with so little space?

Microsoft defends Live Arcade
Forget most of this interview (or read it if for some reason you insist on checking primary sources instead of just believing and agreeing with everything I say), what startles me is the claim that MS values quality over quantity. Sure some of the Virtual Console games suck (my $5 spent on Solomon’s Key is gone forever) but it takes pretty big balls to call Root beer Tapper, Ms. Pacman and Paper Boy quality. Actually, these are classics and still pretty good, it’s the comparison that bothers me.

Link to the Past, Mario 64, Gunstar Heroes, Toe Jam and Earl, Super Castlevania, Contra 3, Mario Kart 64, and Super Mario World are some of the best game’s ever made (yes, Toe Jam and Earl is awesome). And they aren’t classics in the same sense as Pong — a historically important game you’d never actually want to play — they are still a hell of a good time today. Microsoft claiming they have better quality either means they have really horrible taste and should not be trusted when it comes to video games, or that they have the same bullshit PR tactics as Sony (tactics which consist of mostly being assholes and/or lying).

Vista expectations too optimistic?
Microsoft made a huge mistake with XP — they made their operating system stable. Windows 98 sold because it was slightly less shitty than Windows 95. But with XP they fixed too much too quickly. Why would anyone pay hundreds of dollars to upgrade if what we already use works (almost) perfectly? Sure, you probably don’t need to run Ad Aware and Spy Bot Search and Destroy daily with Vista, but that’s not enough to sell an operating system.

It’s also slightly perplexing that most companies don’t follow the route Nintendo seems to have taken. Instead of developing more bloated OS’s that demand stronger systems, why not work on making the OS more slick and elegant? Vista should be a slightly better looking XP that uses half the resources. Provide me with a slick stable OS and let me decide what I want to do from there, please. If I want to watch movies, or burn DVDs, I’ll handle the software side. Instead of making Vista naturally fit into the background, MS decided to make it scream, “Look at me, I’m a new fancy OS! Upgrade your graphics card, you peasant!”

New X-Com may be coming
If you have never played X-Com UFO Defense, immediately take one of the two following route, both of which are complete pains in the ass:
1) Download the game after finding it illegally or purchase the PC version (if you’re one of those “law abiders”) then download a program that will slow down your system. Without it, assuming your computer isn’t worse than mine (1.4gh Athlon), the game will run at a speed that makes it impossible to play. Good luck, I have not gotten this route to work.
2) Buy the PS1 version of the game, the PS1 mouse and prepare yourself for huge load times. This is the route I took back in 1996. Oddly enough, the PS1 introduced me to many PC classics, including X-Com, Diablo and Discworld.
OK, so now that you’ve played the game and seen how amazingly deep it is, and how it manages to expertly integrate both the battle and management portions of the game and make them both satisfying, you are also very exited about the prospect of a new X-Com. We are excited together!

You think the PS1 mouse was a waste of money? Try saying that to the faces of the three games that used it.

The drawback is the brothers who designed the original game haven’t had control of the license…well, ever it seems. Microprose sold it to Hasbro, who sold it to Atari, who sold it to my mother, who sold it on the street corner to Take Two. My standard stick-in- the-mud reaction to sequels that are being created without the visionaries behind the originals is basically “bah humbug.” Who gives a shit if someone bought a logo and decided to make a game and slap the purchased name on the front? The Shining series is a perfect example of how little names matter if the developers change. And look at the new Heroes of Might and Magic. John Van guy who made the series wasn’t involved so they decided to just remake his last design (which was 3, he came into 4 late to salvage the game) with 3d graphics.

Without the original designers, X-Com is as good as dead. So now I hope I’ve made you unexcited about the prospect of a sequel. It was stupid of you to be psyched in the first place.

WiiLite coming eventually
What better way to punish early adopters and company loyalists than by improving your product then charging full price for it again? The DS was cheap enough that I wasn’t that offended by the DSLite (although I remember being at least somewhat offended). It also helped that I bought my DS as a gift to my girlfriend, knowing I’d get a Lite for myself in a few months (I also got her a bowling ball with the name “Homer” on it).

The Wii, on the other hand, costs a good bit more. More importantly, I waited outside a store for the first time in my life. I know it was lame, you know it was lame, the Target employees who worked that morning knew it was lame, but at least I could believe Nintendo was proud of me (and isn’t that really what matters in life?). By re-releasing the Wii (eventually), now Nintendo seems to agree wholeheartedly with the rest of the world.

If they do re-release the system, maybe they’ll add some fucking memory so I can download more than one Neo Geo game.

Nintendo slow to work with Indies
So I won’t be getting a development kit any time soon? Well screw you Nintendo, I’m porting my game to Dreamcast!

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17 years ago

Nintendo seemed pretty confident that they were going to release a new Wii-Lite at some point, but they have never really released a stream-lined/Lite home console before. They did remake the NES and SNES, but they were well after the system’s time. N64 had none, and the GameCube had none, and I’d assume the GC was most in need of one. And what else can they do with the Wii? The damn thing looks great as it is. I can only imagine it adds more internal flash memory, and has all the channels built in, with maybe with that proposed DVD player (which should be a firmware update, as it does play DVD’s already, right?). I say this is one of those things that will probably never happen, just like the SD card reader for GC, online for GC, and a whole slew of things Nintendo planned, but will never come to fruition.

17 years ago

Ah, Diablo on ps1.  Good times.  I didn’t even know it had mouse suport.  That would have made the two player mode a pain, though.  I always wondered, after playing the sequel on PC, did the original PC vesion of Diablo have monsters that respawned after you reloaded your game, or could you go back and always see them laying there dead?  I also ended up playing a bunch of PC classics on PS.  Descent, Magic Carpet, Syndicate Wars (it’s great, don’t listen to the haters)…

17 years ago

I always liked the PS1 Diablo better than the PC one, because you could run it on Fast mode.  Never had a PS1 mouse, though.There was an SNES version of Syndicate.  It might’ve had mouse support; I don’t really remember.  What I do remember is that Syndicate was a lot of fun but I never owned a copy of the games.I didn’t even know Discworld was a PC game until a few years ago.  Played it looong ago on the PS1.  A local Hastings had like 30 copies of the game for $3 a piece, but as luck would have it I got one of the crappy non-worky ones. 

17 years ago

It is funny you mention X-Box’s virtual arcade. In a story on Slate.com, Chris Suellentrop talks about his LOVE for the virtual arcade. He acknowlegdes that the Wii’s VC is good, but it does not carry the type of games his age type really wants. You should check it out. http://www.slate.com/id/2160643?nav=tap3