Thursday, March 26, 2009

Think Nintendo doesn't care about you? Think again.

So called "hardcore" gamers and the internet at large (there's a big crossover) would have you believe that Nintendo no longer cares about people who got them where they are today. The people who stuck with them through the lean N64 and Gamecube years. The old school gamers. The ones like myself who were raised on the NES, and developed some kind of weird Stockholm Syndrome with Nintendo during the aforementioned lean years. And yet, I haven't cultivated this opinion.

Good thing, too, because if I had, Satoru Iwata's keynote speech at the Game Developers' Conference yesterday morning would've completely shattered the little microcosm full of nerd rage I'd fashioned for myself. In case I've caught you unawares, yesterday Mr. Iwata made a few announcements that were clearly aimed at the "hardcore" crowd. That whole storage space issue with Virtual Console and WiiWare games? No longer an issue. The Wii now recognizes SD cards up to 32 gigs, and games can be booted directly from the SD card. Retro gamers rejoice!

Retro gamers can rejoice further at the news that arcade games are now coming to VC. And "now" means right now. Both of the new firmware update and a few arcade games were available before Iwata's speech was even over. I have downloaded Gaplus and played it directly off of an SD card and... it works like a charm!

Oh, yeah, and Square's actually going to put the Final Fantasy series on VC and WiiWare. Final Fantasy IV: The After is coming to WiiWare, and all the (localized) NES and SNES entries are coming to VC in America (that's I, IV & VI, if you weren't sure). Now, you're probably saying to yourself that that has nothing to do with Nintendo, that's a Square-Enix thing. Well, dear reader, I don't know for sure, but I've got a theory to postulate.

Sqeenix has been renowned for their myriad excuses as to why these games would never come to VC. They came up with all types of crazy reasons (including a thin excuse about not having the source code anymore), but basically just ended up saying, in a roundabout way, that they make money re-hashing them and selling them for full price, so why let them go at the bargain basement rate of five to eight bucks? This leads me to believe that it was Nintendo who convinced Square (Blackmail? Endless cajoleing? Who knows?) to put these games on VC because the fans demanded it.

You see? Nintendo hasn't turned their back on us. These announcements weren't for my sister or my wife-to-be. They don't care about this stuff, they care if there's a sequel to Wii Fit coming out. We care about this. Nintendo knows we're the ones who kept them going during the Era of Darkness (N64/GC). So, I hope you're convinced now, in case the fact that a new Punch-Out!!, Sin & Punishment and Rhythm Heaven DS are coming out this year somehow didn't already have you convinced before yesterday's press conference.

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