Not Thrilled About SNES Games Only Appearing On New 3DS? You’re Not Alone

by Jeff Cork on Mar 05, 2016 at 07:00 AM

Nintendo announced yesterday that Super Nintendo games were finally coming to its handheld systems via the Virtua Console. There’s a catch, though: Only owners of the New 3DS would be able to play through games like Super Mario Kart, EarthBound, and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past again. Today, three of us are sharing our thoughts on the news, now that we’ve had a little time to digest it.

Jeff Cork: Nintendo’s announcement that Super Nintendo games were coming to the 3DS seems to be rubbing people the wrong way. I should clarify: Super Nintendo games are coming to the New 3DS, which leaves a significant chunk of the fanbase on the sidelines... 

Dan Tack: Well, I guess I’ll be the one to say it. This is ridiculous for a number of reasons. Are you trying to tell me that the “regular” 3DS can’t handle SNES games? Because I don’t believe that for a second. That’s actually ridiculous. Is this just some kind of bid to get folks to pick up yet another piece of hardware? Yes, yes, it is. And then you add the cherry on top to this lunatic sundae, which is the fact that many gamers have probably already purchased these titles, and here they just get an “opportunity” to pay for them yet again.

Brian Shea: I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve purchased these games over and over on the different consoles they’ve been offered on, and I’ll definitely do it again at some point. I’ll even admit to checking prices on the New 3DS XL when I heard the announcement, but then I stopped to think about the impending announcement of the Nintendo NX. We have no idea what this thing is or what it could mean for both the Wii U and 3DS. We don’t know if Nintendo will continue to support these systems as the NX’s official announcement and eventual release pass, and I don’t want to shell out over $200 for an updated version of a system I already own that could potentially be rendered obsolete by year’s end.

Jeff: I think there are plenty of reasons to take a hard pass on this nonsense without bringing the NX into the conversation. I have a lot of fond memories from some of these games, but the thought of buying A Link to the Past yet again is baffling. They’re approaching Digital Leisure levels of port overload, only it’s Link that’s being trotted out instead of Dirk the Daring. And I completely agree with Tack – this doesn’t have anything to do with technological limitations. Look at the homebrew scene, and you’ll find examples – illegal as they might be – of the “inferior” baseline 3DS hardware handling games that are approaching a quarter of a century in age just fine. The only thing that would possibly redeem this in my mind would be if Nintendo took a stance similar to Microsoft’s recent backward-compatibility strategy on Xbox One. When someone buys something on their Nintendo account, let it move between generations. Why should anyone buy these Virtual Console games, knowing that if they upgrade or want to play on several systems there’s a very real possibility that they won’t be able to without opening their wallet. Again.

Brian: Well, Nintendo has done that to an extent with the Wii Virtual Console, but you’re absolutely right. We see Sony doing this with cross-buy capabilities between PS4 and Vita, and it would be nice to see Nintendo embrace this with more than just the occasional game (Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars was cross-buy, for instance). I think that with the digital storefronts and digital capabilities being what they are – and publishers knowing what their fans want – publishers should begin planning to move their content forward. That’s especially true if they’re just going to offer the exact same version of that game for purchase again. You brought up Microsoft, and I liked Phil Spencer’s quote about how on modern PCs, he can play the newest games, but he can also go back and play the classics like Doom and Quake from long ago.

Dan: Hopefully some of the new things rolling out for Nintendo to go along with their mobile push allows for cross-platform purchases and capabilities moving forward. But that’s neither here nor there; the whole “having to buy it again for a new platform thing” isn’t nearly as offensive as having to buy a New 3DS in order to play games that are like a century old. I mean, I guess that’s cool if you don't already have one, but these constant cycles of iterative hardware are frustrating to deal with. I don’t want to buy a new 3DS. I’m not going to. Eventually they’ll force me to I guess when something like Fire Emblem or Etrian Odyssey goes over to whatever the new hardware of the day is, but until then forget it. I’ll pull out my SNES.

Brian: It all goes back to Nintendo not providing a compelling enough reason to buy the New 3DS at this point (unless you’re a die-hard Xenoblade fan), and now, theoretically late in the cycle, they give fans what they’ve been clamoring for since the original 3DS launched, but you have to upgrade to the New 3DS. Even though I’m complaining and making arguments for why it’s not worth it, the idea of being able to carry around a legit copy of A Link to the Past or Super Metroid in my pocket is still tempting. I’m a sucker for nostalgia. I know it.

Jeff: If Nintendo really thinks Pilotwings is going to push people toward buying a New 3DS, well, good luck with that.