Looking back at the Wii it was, in theory, the perfect Nintendo console. New games worked on it, Gamecube games worked on it, and the Virtual Console would give users access to any game older than that. In terms of Nintendo the Wii let users play the whole spectrum, from ancient to modern. Sure Nintendo’s slow trickle of older titles was laborious, and a few licensing snags got in the way of some classics – well, Goldeneye – but the system is now a bit if an Aladdin’s cave of Ninty’s past and present.
The Wii U will come with Virtual Console support and, of course, will play all of your old Wii discs. However the Wii U will not play Gamecube discs like its older brother, and when quizzed by Kotaku last week about Cube titles hitting the Wii U Virtual Console Reggie ‘meat hands’ Fils-aime dropped the (stink) bomb that there were no plans ‘at this time’. Sure, we were annoyed when we discovered we couldn’t enjoy Wii games on the throne, but we got over that. This is likely to sting for a lot longer.
Ok so ‘at this time’ could wind up meaning ‘later down the line’, but if the system isn’t going to read the discs then Cube games should be on Virtual Console, no questions asked. If they are not represented in any way then the Cube library is off limits to anyone who buys a Wii U new and doesn’t already own a Wii or want to go out of their way to pick up a used Cube.
This creates a gap in a Wii U owners historical library. A gap that should be filled with classics like Chibi Robo, Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door, Super Smash Bros Melee, Skies of Arcadia, F-Zero GX, Eternal Darkness, Tales of Symphonia, WarioWare Mega Party Games, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Viewtiful Joe, Metroid Prime, Super Monkey Ball, The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures. Honestly, the list goes on. And no, ‘the list’ does not include Doshin the Giant.
It makes very little sense for Nintendo to create this ‘missing chapter’ in the Wii U’s classic support. About as much sense as the 3DS not featuring Gameboy Advance games.
Anywho the point is that the console should support the Gamecube in some fashion. It should be a portal for all Nintendo gaming of the past as well as the future. Right now it’s missing a chunk, and that sucks.
But the more you think about it the more you have to wonder if the actual reason Cube games aren’t on the Wii U Virtual Console is because, well, they simply wouldn’t work…
Nintendo consoles, as we well know, are often designed around a controller’s innovations. With the SNES it was shoulder buttons, with N64 it was an analogue stick, and with the Gamecube it was analogue triggers (and that big, saucy A button).
The Gamecube controller sported L and R buttons that were sensitive to how much you pulled them (ooh err), with a final, satisfying click representing their full pull. Not every game used this feature but a number of exclusive titles did. Super Mario Sunshine let you adjust your F.L.U.D.D’s spray pressure. Luigi’s Mansion let you toy with your vacuum’s suction. Star Wars: Rogue Leader was perhaps the one everyone remembers – pull R to accelerate then click it all the way to close your X-Wing’s S foils and zoom around at top speed. Satisfying and fun.
The problem with the Wii U Gamepad, then, is that it sports two clicky shoulder triggers that are absolutely not analogue in any way. While not catastrophic – many games didn’t support them fully after all – it certainly throws a pair of un-sensitive spanners into the works. If the ultimate decision of whether or not we get Virtual Console Cube support comes down to a call of everything perfect or nothing at all, we’ll end up with nought.
It’s not a lost cause of course. The Wii U Gamepad’s touch screen is still there and should Nintendo really try then perhaps they could come up with some sort of crazy touch-y work around for us. But at the same time, it just wouldn’t be the same.
Right now, then, you’d be best off holding onto your Wii or Gamcube just in case you find yourself craving a spot of Melee. The Wii U Virtual Console really should feature Gamecube games, that’s not in question, but it might just be technically impossible. We can almost let Nintendo off for that. Almost…