Nintendo recently released another firmware update to the Wii software

that all Wii owners are forced to download if they wish to keep

shopping in the Virtual Console, the retro heaven for Nintendo gamers.

Lately the internet has been buzzing with excitement revolving around

the new DSi and its capabilities. While official confirmation of the

DSi’s Virtual Console remains behind sealed lips, the Wii software

update along with a Japan-only announcement bring about a curious

detail that suggests the VC is no longer strictly a Wii-thing.

dsi-cat.pngAccording to GoNintendo,

the Japanese Wii owners have received a message apologizing for the

recent downtime of their VC service caused by maintenance. During this

break, all mentions of Wii points will be changed to Nintendo points.

Some improvements to the purchasing form will also be made by further

clarifying which controllers are suitable for which games as well as

some cosmetic changes. My European Wii received the controller updates,

but Wii points remain Wii points.

As all gamers know, Japan is

always first in line for everything Nintendo, which is why so many

gamers look to the land of the rising sun to get a glimpse of the

future of gaming before it hits our shores. But calling Wii points

Nintendo points, doesn’t necessarily mean that the points system is

becoming a universal Nintendo credit. Even if it did, why would I be

raving about the possibility of a portable Virtual Console at this


Details about the yet unreleased DSi reveal the

surprising absence of a GBA slot. The new handheld is also said to

feature much more and far more sophisticated downloadable content than

its predecessors. Earlier, VC Reviews

speculated that GBA games along with older Gameboy titles may be the

first content available for download. We already know there’s going to

be DSiWare available for purchase, though the details at this time are

still vague. As usual, Nintendo is silently savoring the moment as they

sit back and watch us squirm in excitement. What ever the case may be,

so far signs point to a DS Virtual Console being around the corner.


the VC to the handheld market naturally allows for any type of handheld

games to be ported over. What I’m personally especially looking forward

to is seeing the handheld Zelda classics to stop collecting dust and

get introduced to new generations. But what’s even more interesting, is

the possibility of seeing the first ever handheld Zelda re-released in

its two-screened glory.

In 1989 Nintendo released Zelda Game

& Watch as the final part of their first venture to the handheld

world of gaming. The earliest Game & Watch games were released as

early as 1980, nine years before the Gameboy, making them the first

ever portable video games. Each unit had only one game, which used one

or two LCD screens, similarly to the Nintendo DS. The Zelda game was

later featured as a hidden bonus game in Game & Watch Gallery 4 for

the GBA. The port however suffered from the limitations of the GBA as

everything had to be crammed on one screen.

phantom-hourglass-multiplayer.JPGRetro fantasies

aside, the new features are also paving way for much more than just

re-released classics. The as the DS and DS Lite have already shown,

handhelds today are about more than just playing Tetris on the way to

school. Wireless multiplayer is no longer science fiction, but instead

part of everyday gaming. Even Zelda jumped in with the release of

Phantom Hourglass. While the game made a brave attempt to make the most

out of the DS’s capabilities, in the end the multiplayer turned out to

be nothing but a minigame, that was merely a byproduct of the actual

game everyone wanted to buy in the first place.


Hourglass wasn’t the first Zelda to try its luck with the portable

multiplayer concept. The first ever multiplayer Zelda, The Four Swords,

suffered from insane hardware requirements. To play the game, each

player needed their own copy of the game, a GBA unit, and a hoard of

cables to connect them to one another. While the game received praise

for being a fresh experience and bringing the multiplayer aspect to the

franchise, it quickly slipped under the radar and was completely

ignored by a majority of Zelda fans. Many don’t even count it as a

legitimate Zelda game. One can only hope that Nintendo sees the

potential this game could have as a downloadble game in the DSi’s

Virtual Console, with the multiplayer turned completely wireless.


second game, Four Swords Adventures, was a far more approachable

concept as you no longer needed four copies of the game. The fallback

this time was that the cables you used to connect the GBA’s together

were useless with FSA. You needed new cables that connect to the

GameCube. The few people who actually managed to rake together enough

cash and have a couple of friends ready to do the same in order to play

Four Swords were forced to buy another set of cables, which just like

the other ones, weren’t really useful for anything else. One has to

wonder just what was Nintendo thinking.


Phantom Hourglass

thankfully only required one game cartridge to give people a chance to

try out the multiplayer. Though, not all content was available without

two cartridges. While the PH multiplayer pales in comparison to the

greatness of the Four Swords games, it was clearly a step to the right

direction, making the games affordable and accessible. Now that

Nintendo has gotten their feet wet with the whole concept, it’s time

they finally deliver what everyone seems to be waiting for. Sure,

nobody minds seeing classics like Link’s Awakening re-released, but

what I really want to see is what Nintendo can do with the concepts

they’ve been toying with for years now. I want innovation, dammit!

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