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Nintendo 'Falls' Short This Season

A lamentation on release schedules, announcements and content support.

By Caleb ShermanPublished 2 years ago 5 min read
An exciting lineup

Getting Direct

September has come and gone with no new Nintendo 64 game for Nintendo’s Switch Online Expansion Pass. With October upon us it has been almost exactly one year since Nintendo launched the Switch Online Expansion Pass with its original nine titles. Since December of 2022 Nintendo has released one title per month for a total of nine new titles (at least outside of Japan). The only odd months out in this distribution pattern have been November 2021, and September of 2022-the reason for my lamentations.

Not to say that September was devoid of content for Expansion Pass subscribers: Nintendo released three new titles for the Sega Genesis “virtual console” on September 15, and the September 13 Nintendo Direct promised a slough of promising new games for the N64, all of which had myself and much of the community stoked. One outlier tinted my craze for the remainder of the month though: Goldeneye: 007.

Grandpa, is that you?

A Rare Announcement

Nintendo’s announcement of the original three Mario Party games, both Pokemon Stadium games, Pilot Wings 64, 1080 Snowboarding and ExciteBike 64 were all accompanied with years of release, either 2022 or 2023. However, only three games were announced for what I perceived to be four remaining months of release in 2022. This segment of the Nintendo Direct was followed by “a special announcement” revealing that Goldeneye: 007 was “coming soon” with “online services.”

Now, being the over-excitable, ADHD/OCD infused retro game fanatic that I am, I saw that gap in releases and those words “coming soon” and said to myself, “Good, there are only three Fridays left in the month of September, at most I have to wait two weeks for Goldeneye to drop. Well, here we are, October 1, and there was no Nintendo 64 release for September, definitely no James Bond drop. Not only that, but we’re left with more curiosities: what does “online services” entail for the father of console first-person shooters?

This seems like a no-brainer that would require no special text in the announcement. When Nintendo first announced the Expansion Pass one of their big selling points was that the NSO line of virtual consoles would gain online multiplayer support, allowing you to split-screen it up with friends at long-distance. While the games still feature classic split-screen, as they are simply ports of the originals, the online support allows other players to remote into the host’s game as controllers 2-4, taking away the ability to unplug your rivals’ controllers in Mario Kart 64, but leaving the rest of the late 90’s gameplay intact. This special moniker attached to this singular N64 game has me holding out for some degree of matchmaking feature.

Of course with the announcement of yet another legendary Rare title from the golden era of gaming, I can only hope for confirmation of further titles from the developer for the console that made them-and that they made for me. Since the initial announcement of Banjo-Kazooie for the Expansion Pass I have relentlessly discussed the amazing multiplayer features of Banjo-Tooie, multiplayer features that I doubt anyone in my friend circle is super interested in, but who knows? This fantastic multiplayer mastery from Rare extends into their other titles that we all must hold out hope for, such as Donkey Kong 64's arena battle mode, and of course the pinnacle of Rare's first person shooter endeavors: Perfect Dark.

While my hope for Rare games flourishes, this is not the only retro dream Nintendo has taken steps toward ensuring (while not making any promises.)

The Portables Potential

For a long while now I have been infatuated with the idea of completing the original Pokemon Stadium games. So much have I thought on this idea that my Twitch handle has become the embodiment of the reward for completing the Pokedex in the first Stadium, Amnesia Psyduck. While the announcement of the Pokemon Stadium games for the N64 coming in 2023 is enthralling, they are nothing without their peripherals support.

Rumors have cycled regarding the potential for a Gameboy virtual console for Nintendo Switch Online subscribers since before the announcement of the Expansion Pass. In fact, many thought we were likely to receive news of a free Gameboy/Color drop at the time of the September 2021 Nintendo Direct. Alas, it was not so. Now, with more datamined information including fully functional Gameboy emulation and some framework for link cable functionality, the future may look brighter, though Nintendo refuses to confirm such illumination.

With the September 2022 Direct announcement of Pokemon Stadium 1 and 2 a small blurb of text confirmed the worst possible scenario for the 3D Pokemon battle simulators, "Pokemon cannot be transferred to these games." This small line of text solidifies an inevitable fear regarding the Stadium line of games, players will be locked into using exclusively rental Pokemon for the lifespan of the game. Not only that, but those who put in the effort to complete Pokemon Stadium will miss out on the opportunity to transfer the (originally) ultra rare Amnesia Psyduck out of the game. Of course, in the modern era a Psyduck with the move Amnesia is nothing to take note of, but if one were to, say, load up a new save of Pokemon Yellow and transfer Amnesia Psyduck into the game as a counterpart to Ash's Pikachu, they would have a very unique run on their hands, for the generation at least.

There is still hope for this line of thought though, while at the moment support for transfer from Pokemon Home to Pokemon Stadium is not offered, it may be that a future Gameboy virtual console will allow connectivity, and from there, perhaps, Nintendo will even permit players to load their Gameboy save files into the Doduo/Dodrio Gameboy Tower frameworks in Pokemon Stadium, bringing the full glory of the Stadium line into the modern era.

The Wrap Up

There is a lot of potential with the 2022 Nintendo Direct, almost none of it with any solidity. Whilst I look forward to the opportunity to finally experience the original three Mario Party games with a host of four friends, and once again sink my teeth into Goldeneye's iconic multiplayer, there may yet be much to be desired. I will trust to hope, though it is forbidden in these lands, and look toward the horizon for the promise of eventually playing through Pokemon Yellow with my signature Pokemon, and maybe, just maybe, playing Goldeneye with strangers.

first person shooternintendorpgconsole

About the Creator

Caleb Sherman streamer (Amnesia Duck), retro game enthusiast (don't ask me about Ataris though), lucky husband, and author.

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