It’s time to bring Virtual Console to the Nintendo Switch
In many ways, the nintendo switch is an improvement over its predecessors. Its modular design is still odd compared to most consoles, but the Switch manages to cleverly combine the convenience of a handheld console with the performance of a home console, and as a result, it’s one of the consoles Nintendo’s most successful to date. Yet, it has yet to inherit all the beloved features of Nintendo’s other consoles. Although the Switch’s fifth anniversary has passed, it hasn’t inherited the Virtual Console library which has greatly expanded the selection of games available on the Wii, Wii U, and Nintendo 3DS.
Virtual Console was a brilliant addition to those previous Nintendo consoles. Not only did it make tons of classic Nintendo games available to emulate, but it brought together games from consoles made by other major developers like SNK and Sega. Unfortunately, Virtual Console games can no longer be obtained on the Wii, and with the closure of the eShop on the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, Virtual Console will soon disappear from those platforms as well. That’s why it’s time for Virtual Console to join the Switch. The console may be five years old, but it apparently still has several years of life ahead of it, which means users have time to use the Virtual Console.
The Value of Virtual Console
Nintendo’s roster of Virtual Console games isn’t just impressive because of the sheer number of games; the list also came from a striking variety of consoles. Naturally, eShop and Wii Shop Channel users could get NES, SNES, Game Boy and N64 games, among other Nintendo consoles, but the Virtual Console list also included games from Sega Genesis, Sega Master Drive , SNK Neo Geo, and even the Commodore 64. On top of all that, Virtual Console also had a list of arcade games.
Virtual Console was undoubtedly a valuable part of the Wii, Wii U, and 3DS in their day, expanding each console’s library of games by the hundreds. Plus, by emulating so many games on so many consoles, the Wii Shop and eShop have preserved so much of the game’s history. Fans can make their own emulations of some retro titles, but nothing beats the convenience. an official way to emulate a classic game on your favorite console. With all of these benefits in mind, adding Virtual Console titles to the Nintendo eShop on Switch seems like a great way to extend the life of the Switch.
Why Virtual Console May Not Return
Of course, there’s one major hurdle preventing Virtual Console from shining on the Switch: Nintendo Switch Online. The online subscription service for the Switch has its own collection of NES and SNES games. Nintendo continued to slowly add more games to the NSO library over the years. Just recently, older Virtual Console titles Earthbound and EarthBound Beginnings premiered on NSO, much to the delight of RPG fans everywhere. Nintendo also recently added N64 and Sega Genesis games to NSO via an expansion pack, which could suggest that Nintendo intends NSO to fill the Virtual Console shoes on the Switch permanently.
There are certainly advantages to NSO over Virtual Console. NSO makes it easier and cheaper to play many classic Nintendo games in sequence, because fans don’t have to buy games individually. Unfortunately, NSO’s game library is still not as large as the list of games included in the Virtual Console program. There are tons of classic titles from every point in gaming history that aren’t available on NSO. Fans of Game Boy, Neo Geo, Commodore 64, and other older consoles can only hope that Nintendo either significantly expands NSO’s library or moves to a Virtual Console model in the console’s later years.
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