RIP Virtual Console

This is more of a follow up to my recent post: My thoughts on Switch Virtual Console which at the time of writing I had no idea Nintendo planned to announce their paid online service in early May (yesterday).

For those unaware of this, however I’m sure everyone reading this would be aware. The information about the online service is here. As I’m from Australia, it’s the Australian Nintendo Online web page, however it’s all much the same (except for pricing).

In the most part it appears to be a pretty good service. Notably with cloud saves and exclusive offers and deals to those who sign up and of course:

Play a growing library of classic NES games anytime, anywhere – with added online features!

Which actually sounds really good!

Well what’s the problem then? 

In an email from a Nintendo spokesperson to Kotaku:

“There are currently no plans to bring classic games together under the Virtual Console banner as has been done on other Nintendo systems,”

Which is a statement that could be taken many different ways. It could mean anything from the name ‘Virtual Console’ is dead but classic games will come back under a different banner like ‘Nintendo Classics’. Maybe it will be like said in my last post about Virtual Console, a Netflix style of classic gaming which appears to be the case with the classic NES games coming for online subscribers.

The Nintendo spokesperson says more in this email saying:

“There are a variety of ways in which classic games from Nintendo and other publishers are made available on Nintendo Switch, such as through Nintendo Entertainment System – Nintendo Switch Online, Nintendo eShop or as packaged collections,”

Which lends one to believe that Nintendo is moving on from the Virtual Console banner and the Virtual Console delivery method of classic games and focusing on a few different alternatives. Almost as if they are attempting to remove the divide between classic games and modern games and integrate them better into the delivery methods people are more familiar with like a Netflix style, or like the way modern games are delivered, ie. via packaged collections or in the eShop in amongst all the other games. I mean imagine if the games you would normally expect in a Virtual Console started just appearing in amongst the eShop.

The Nintendo Switch needs some help to play Super Mario Bros.

I guess they already are, at least the arcade version of a few. But I think it’s obvious that Nintendo are not removing support for their massive back catalog of games on the Switch. They are just trying to make their back catalog a little more accessible by a wider audience and a little more relevant.

Now obviously many people just don’t care and just want virtual console. Some won’t want to sign up to the online service, and some won’t want to buy them in bundled sets of games. Potentially Nintendo will have other options. All that is obvious is that the classic game delivery method we are familiar with from Nintendo is no longer and it’s kinda sad because we all loved it!

Me personally I don’t know if I really care anymore about the Virtual Console banner, nor the delivery method per se. I just want the games already. I’ve had a Switch since March 2017 and all I can play is VS. Super Mario Bros. and Punch Out.

However I appreciate the added online features to their classic games. I can imagine a small development team working with these old games adding these features porting them to the Switch, reviewing, testing and debugging them. This isn’t a company disregarding their classic games. It’s a company cherishing them and holding them, some might say ‘a little too close’ to their chest. Like a deck of Uno cards with a few wild draw fours they just keep refusing to play.

I will be signing up for the online service, mostly for access to the NES games and hopefully games from other systems down the road. The Switch is an incredible system for Nintendo’s classics to be on, it’s half the reason I bought the console and it bothers me it’s mostly still not possible with a few exceptions. However I’m confident at this point that the reason there isn’t any Virtual Console, is because Nintendo has been working hard to change things and this takes time, and whatever they come up with may or may not be as good as the Virtual Console was (on the Wii). But it will be decent and full of great games and will be an awesome experience on the Switch.

Featured Image – Adapted from this image.

Post Image – An image I took for my instagram trying to be clever juxtaposing the Switch with the NES whilst playing VS. Super Mario Bros.


    • I’m definitely intrigued. the prospect of playing NES games in online multiplayer is very interesting! Yes the switch eshop is a mess! I’ve made the habit of adding every game that sounds interesting to me in the ‘coming soon’ to my watch list. Because if I dont I’ll probably never see it again!


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