So last week Nintendo finally announced that Earthbound will be seeing a re-release in the West, you know, that one game Nintendo and intense Earthbound fans have been begging for since we get the Virtual Console service on the Wii. Even as someone who's only played what I imagine is a very small percentage of the game my heart skipped a beat when I saw the announcement, it even made me think of a brief period that I have to get my hands on a Wii-U so I can play the game then stop half-way through or something like the billion other times I've done with the game.
Celebrations aside I found myself with a tiny spot of irritation with the whole affair, at this point you probably want to punch me in the stomach and be grateful us Westerners are finally getting the chance to play the game, it's the only other legal alternative that doesn't involve people having to hop onto eBay and spend ridiculous amounts of money to get their hands on a copy. But I couldn't suppress this feeling, it erupted from my chest like H.R Giger Penis Monster ready to bare its fangs at Nintendo. You see no matter how awesome it is that we're finally getting Earthbound, I have to ask, why aren't we also getting it on the 3DS?
I don't know about the majority of gamers but these days I find myself preferring to play old games on handhelds, in age where HD TV's rule the living rooms this often threatens these old classic games as they clearly weren't made for such large screens. Put it on a smaller screened device though and suddenly everything feels just right, true with the Wii-U controller you can do exactly just that and play the game off-screen but the console isn't exactly selling like hot cakes right now, the number of people who own a Wii-U is sure to be lower than those who own a 3DS so that cuts out a significant portion of potential buyers and fans.
It's not like restricting it exclusively to the Wii-U is going to suddenly ramp up the sales of the system nor is releasing the game on the 3DS going to diminish the Wii-U's potential sales. There's literally no reason as to why the game can't be on the 3DS as well, if it can have some NES games, Gameboy Color games and for a few lucky foolish few Gameboy Advance games then why the little toe jabbing hell can't it also have SNES games?! Surely Earthbound would be the perfect start to this library of content, I don't want to dish out $374.99 for a Wii-U just so I can play a 19 year old game! We shouldn't even be in a place where it's only just now we're finally seeing the game re-released, this should have happened all the way back with the Wii in 2007, we shouldn't have been made to wait this long!
This all speaks to a larger problem that I have just not with Nintendo, but also Sony. The complete and utter incompetence of getting their amazing past gaming libraries is enough to make my eyes bulge out with pure rage.
Nintendo and Sony seem to have major issues with emulating games, it's an issue that baffles me, they're both major huge corporations, you'd be hard pressed to find anybody who hasn't heard the name of at least one of these two. Nintendo has shaped the world of gaming as we know it and Sony dabbles in just about everything, ranging from computers to your movies, yet they just can't seem to fully master emulation! Then you go on the internet and find lone groups of people with very little money giving out programs for free to emulate games on your PC and other hacked devices, I can't help but find that incredibly embarrassing.
To me that perfectly illustrates why there is next to no excuse as to why these two companies can't seem to fully master emulation, we should have Earthbound on the 3DS, we should have PS2 on the PS Vita, what the hell is going on? If it isn't programming complications then what else could it be? Are they simply holding back to build up hype and potential sales? Nintendo particularly are guilty of drip feeding digital titles on their systems to the point where you might as well wait till their systems are no longer supported to play the old games you actually want to play.
Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled to see Earthbound is seeing a re-release and that I can sit down and play Spyro 3 as pure joy oozes out of my every orifice. But I always know in the back of my mind that it could be better, that random people on the internet are doing a better job than the huge corporations do or even being unable to match the quality services of GOG.com.
With backwards compatibility becoming a thing of the past it's becoming even more important that companies nail down the digital offerings of these classic games, the PS4's cloud services holds promise to this idea but the case with Sony is that they often speak of great ideas, then deliver half-assed on them, I know Nintendo and Sony can do better than this.
All in all I shouldn't be here writing this post, I should be playing Spider-Man 2 on my PS Vita re-living awful Tobey Maguire dialogue, that my friends is the biggest tragedy of it all.