Fans of the Nintendo Switch hoping for a swift release of a ‘virtual console’ system received quite the substantial ray of hope in the past twenty-four hours. While a true virtual console doesn’t seem on the cards just yet, there are definite steps being made in that direction with the announcement that some arcade classics will be making their way to the system very soon in the form of Arcade Archives.
Previewed in the most recent Nintendo Direct, Arcade Archives promises to bring back classic games with crisper – though still faithful, for one can’t imagine the current nostalgia-obsessed Nintendo wanting to rock the boat too much – visuals as well as ‘subtle differences that can’t be found in their NES counterparts’.
What exactly this entails is difficult to speculate on at the moment; the Direct itself cheekily held off from providing any clues. Given the surprise inclusion of Starfox 2 (a game cancelled about twenty years ago, with many of its assets being rolled into Starfox 64) on the NES classic however, it’s possible that similarly cut features from famous arcade titles might similarly get their day in the sun with this new system.
Whatever the case, what has been confirmed that the classic Mario Bros. arcade is the first game slated for release, with the option for two-player gameplay through dividing up the joycons. VS. Super Mario Bros., VS. Clu Clu Land, VS. Ice Climbers, VS. Balloon Fight, and VS. Pinball were all also confirmed by name, albeit without a launch date. Footage from the Direct also showed off a bit of Punch-Out!, although the jury’s still out on whether this amounts to a guaranteed inclusion in Arcade Archives.
While this news is still very new, and will take a day or two longer for folk to digest properly, it’s worth noting that Nintendo has faced some criticism in the past for its handling of its virtual console systems. This criticism hasn’t always been unfair; perhaps the most egregious blunder in recent years was the fact that Pokémon Snap, a game almost perfectly suited for the Wii U, was only made available through the VC in January 2017 when the console was practically dead. While not quite a VC, the reveal at the Switch’s launch that the ‘free’ monthly NES or SNES game available to download was in fact just a rental didn’t do much to allay concerns either. Arcade Archives is a good first step, but it’s only a first step down a road Nintendo desperately needs to walk.
For my part, I certainly agree with pundits like Jim Sterling that the company has the potential for the best and most expansive virtual console of all – but only if they’re willing to put in the effort to make it a quality service.
As well as Arcade Archives, the Direct brought a variety of other news – including Doom/Wolfenstein II coming to the Switch soon, updates on Pokémon Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon, (and a matching Pokéball-style 2DS XL) as well as yet more on the upcoming Skyrim port in November of this year. But I’m sure you’re all as sick of me talking about Elder Scrolls by now as I am being sold a six year old game yet again.
Mario Bros. arcade will be arriving for Arcade Archives on September 27th.
At age seven, Jordan wanted to be a paleontologist. That went well. He now fills the void by writing on all manner of mildly-interesting topics - when he finds time in between complaining how everything was better in the 'good old days', that is.