Best Nintendo Games Not Available on the Virtual Console

These are the ten best Nintendo games not available on the virtual console.

Nintendo has done fans of their games a great service by providing the virtual console, a service (for those unaware) where you can download classic Nintendo games from the NES, SNES, Nintendo 64, and Game Boy platforms (and Sega Genesis, Neo Geo, and other platforms). Between the Wii, Wii U, and 3DS iterations, it's an exhaustive service; however, that does not mean it has everything. Here are ten classic Nintendo games that are currently absent from the virtual console.

10. Donkey Kong Country Series

SNES, 1994, ’95, ‘96

This series was formerly on the Wii virtual console before sadly being removed in 2012 for unknown reasons. 3D models were this game’s calling card when it was released, but even now that those are far from being the latest in technology, great gameplay still makes these games worthwhile.

9. Pokemon Stadium 1 & 2

N64, 2000, 2001

Pokemon Snap and Pokemon Puzzle League are both available on the Wii virtual console, but somehow the best N64 Pokemon game is nowhere to be found. Battling Pokemon against your friends in 3D and on the big screen was a big step up from the Game Boy games at the time, and even now that the Pokemon main series has gone online and 3D, those who prefer multiplayer on couches with friends rather than online would enjoy this experience on the home console.

8. Luigi’s Mansion

GameCube, 2001

Much maligned at its launch more for what it wasn’t—a new Mario game—than what it was, which is a great, short ghostbusting experience, bursting with that unmistakable Nintendo charm just as much as any Mario game.

7. Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door

GameCube, 2004

The much-loved Mario RPG series has had several entries make their way onto Nintendo’s download service, including the original Paper Mario. This one would be a fine addition as well, as it’s a sometimes overlooked classic that bests its predecessor in every way you’d expect a sequel to improve.

6. Mario Kart Double Dash

GameCube, 2003

With the spectacular Mario Kart 8 out, there’s little reason to release another Mario Kart game for the system. But putting this on the virtual console would still be a nice nod to those who have enjoyed this game in the past; for many, this is their favorite game in the system, and the tracks would definitely be worth revisiting.

5. Metroid Zero Mission

Game Boy Advance, 2004

Not many remakes of classic, groundbreaking games manage to top the original version in every possible way, but Metroid Zero Mission achieved it. It takes the original’s muted color palette and archaic save system and reworks them into a brand new game in the same world that’s as enjoyable as anything in the series. Its Game Boy advance cousin, Metroid Fusion, is on the Wii U virtual console now; hopefully this one will join it soon.

4. Super Smash Bros. Melee

GameCube, 2001

Sensing a pattern yet? Yes, I want a lot of GameCube games on the virtual console. It's really the only major Nintendo system that's entirely absent fom the VC (besides the Wii, but you can play Wii games on the Wii U anyway). Still considered by many to be the pinnacle of the series, the Wii U’s compatibility with GameCube controllers would make this, and the other GameCube games on this list, a natural to be added to its virtual console (which is partially why I’ve put so many here). 

3. Super Mario Sunshine

GameCube, 2002

Like Luigi’s Mansion, this game was unfairly maligned when it came out. People wanted Super Mario 64 the sequel (Super Mario 65, I guess?), plus in the GameCube era, people really didn’t seem to like change; witness the reactions to this, Luigi’s Mansion and Wind Waker. Sunshine isn’t Mario Galaxy or Mario World, but it’s a great game nevertheless.

2. Goldeneye 007

N64, 1997

Licensing issues with Rare (who are now owned by Microsoft) have kept this and other Rare classics off the virtual console. That being said, they need to find a way to get this game released. It can be on the Wii U, the Xbox, hell, even the Dreamcast for all I care. If they add online multiplayer, people’s heads are going to explode. And not just from the proximity mines.

1, Pokemon series

Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, DS, 1998- present

This is the most glaring omission from the virtual console. Nintendo’s other major series—Mario, Zelda, Metroid, etc.—all have multiple entries available for download, while the only Pokemon games released have been spinoffs. We may not have link cables anymore, but people would still get a kick out of replaying the stories of the original Red, Blue, and Yellow versions, as well as Gold and Silver, the series peak in my opinion.

So there you go, Nintendo! Just treat this as a checklist; after you’re done, the virtual console will be pretty much perfect. I guarantee it.*

*not a real guarantee

Published Feb. 5th 2015

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