Virtual Console Might Be A Hit With Retrogamers


by Calvin Yeong



The Virtual Console ability of the Nintendo Revolution should prove to be a big seller to those who haven't bothered with purchasing a new system for a while. Let's face it: ROMs (of commercial games) are illegal. We know ROMs are floating around out there on the Internet, but they aren't always easy to find, however, fans of oldschool games should be pleased that they don't have to search all over for those games that aren't produced anymore.

When it comes to gaming, it is an expensive hobby. Unless you have disposable income, you are not likely to own an extensive game library. Factor that with the rate in which new consoles are released and you already have a situation where you have to be selective about the type of console you want to buy, as well as the kind of games that are going to be released for it. One of the factors that I looked for when I purchased a console was the kind of games and/or titles that will be released for that system.

The Virtual Console should allow the new generation of players (as well as oldschool gamers) the ability to access game titles going as far back as 20 years (25 by the end of the Revolution's life span) - even if the only games to be available are those released previously for a Nintendo console. If these titles are going to be available via a download service, then searching for old titles will be convenient for those who only play games via emulators. If this service provides anything like the ROMs that emulator users download, then gamers could also have access to "never-released-in-North America" titles as well as the rare titles (which is one of the reasons why emulators are a hit in the first place; because some of the original game cartridges aren't available to the public in the first place).

Should the Virtual Console aspect of the Revolution be a success, the one problem that would be eliminated altogether (which is something current emulator users have to contend with) is bad "dumping". A problem with emulators is that a dump may work for one emulator, but not another. This is due to the fact that there is no "standard" emulator, thus the codes of the emulators change with each version released. These changes aren't necessarily for the better. On the other hand, the Revolution is one piece of hardware with its standard features. Thus, games to be released for the Virtual Console must then be made to work within the confines of the system's specs. This standardization should eliminate users' fear of downloading bad dumps. In the end, gamers spend less time downloading and more time playing.

Of course, since the Revolution is the next generation of consoles, the "confines" in which these old games will run in shouldn't be an issue in the first place. Like some emulators, we shouldn't see decreased performance due to information overload like we see in the old systems (such as platform games where there is too many sprites on the screen at once) - which is another reason why emulators are a hit in the first place. Then again, some emulators aren't that well written and actually run slower than the original system it is emulating. Again, this shouldn't be an issue with the Revolution.

These factors alone should be a selling point for current emulator users. One wouldn't have to search all over seedy sites just to find ROMs; in fact, we might have access to the rare or never-released games, now released in the manner they were intended. No one would have to worry about bad dumps, as proper and official code will be used, and we can probably rely on the performance of the Virtual Console. All of this will be legal, so emulator users can rest assured. The Virtual Console aspect of the Revolution may be a major selling point by attracting those who only play oldschool games. Those who haven't purchased a system for a while might actually be interested in picking up the Revolution upon its release for this alone.