Nintendo has some of the most beloved franchises in the world, and has a massive library of games that fill me with nostalgic memories that cover my entire gaming life. That's basically the reason why I (along with millions of other Nintendo fans) am willing to purchase the company's games multiple times, on multiple systems. Be it on a collectors edition disk, downloadable Virtual Console purchase, or 3DS remakes, games like The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time have won me over with every new repackaging. As long as the re-release is relatively affordable, Nintendo can have my money in exchange for those classics. Now, if only Nintendo could get this whole multi-platform digital download thing right--without any weird exceptions or complications.
Today, the beloved Super Mario 3 is available on the Virtual Console for both the 3DS and Wii U. Sounds awesome, right? An amazing, classic Nintendo game on the current Nintendo systems. That's perfect. Definitely something I would spend money on. But let's imagine that I have both consoles, and I buy the game on the 3DS. It would be perfectly reasonable to assume I could also play the game--through my linked Nintendo Network ID--on my Wii U console as well. But, if I give it a shot, it won't work. Why? Well, it seems Nintendo wants me to purchase the game for both systems for full price. In essence, I need to pay twice for the same game on a linked network that shares info for both consoles. That just feels wrong.
Take a look at what Sony is doing with its classic, downloadable games. Right now, I can go on the PlayStation store, buy a game like Final Fantasy VII or Gex 3, and play those games on multiple Sony consoles without having to shell out the cash for an extra copy. Why can't Nintendo follow Sony's lead by making its classic games accessible on every compatible Nintendo product? But it doesn't stop there.
Alongside the Super Mario 3 re-release, the classic Game Boy Advance RPG Golden Sun is available to download as well. But this release also comes with a catch: It's only available on the Wii U. That begs the question: Why is a classic handheld title unavailable on Nintendo's latest handheld console? Nowhere on Nintendo's support site is there any justification for this double-dipping business model. And I certainly can't think of one.
That's Nintendo's problem: Its Virtual Console releases don't seem to have any rhyme or reason to them. The publisher is taking overly conservative steps when it comes to the classic, downloadable releases (Mother 3, anyone?). Maybe the company feels consumers will tire of the old game library if everything were made available all at once, so it feels the need to spoonfeed us releases (on illogical platforms) and at a snail's pace. Maybe Nintendo is trying to pull a Disney vault-like policy of picking and choosing which classic franchises get released into the market, to artificially stimulate demand. Who knows? Whatever the publisher's deal is, I just want to play these games with as little hassle as possible. Unfortunately for me, Nintendo doesn't seem to want to make things that easy for its consumers.