Do you remember the GameCube? I don't think anyone liked it very much at first, but the games for it certainly won me over. I will never forget the first time I played Okami on it. It was the first time I played a game that didn't rely heavily on photo-realistic graphics. I was forced to admit that art style mattered a great deal more than how “real” something looked in a game. Then The Wind Waker came out and all sort of realizations about the Zelda series fell upon my young mind about art and video games. It was certainly a very important moment in my gaming life and now, I truly hope that Nintendo's move to provide a few GameCube titles on the Switch's Virtual Console means my favorites will join them eventually.
If you don't already know, it's been recently announced that the Nintendo Switch will be able to support some GameCube titles via the Virtual Console service, a system developed by Nintendo European Research and Development (NERD, the same studio that created the NES Mini). This is great news, because the Wii and Wii U were incapable of supporting GameCube titles. These Switch ports, so far, include Super Mario Sunshine, Luigi's Mansion, and Super Smash Bros. Melee. Furthermore, it is likely that there will be an upgrade program included in the Switch, much like the one on the Wii U. In this, previous purchases of Virtual Console games can be upgraded for a discounted fee rather than the full game price. A relief, to be sure, but still something gripe about. If you've already paid for a game, it should be free to get it upgraded.
Considering that Nintendo has been doing this kind of backwards compatibility for quite a few years now, my first thought is still that I wish Sony could do the same. For example, in light of the new Dishonored 2, I decided to play the first PS3 game. It's a beautiful game, but until I really got into it, the loading times felt like forever. I could get up and make a sandwich in that time! In addition, the console does crash on occasion (even when it's only running Netflix) and I'm terrified of the day it finally gives up the ghost. What am I going to do with entire library of games then? Sony doesn't even sell PS3s anymore!
Well, obviously I could just go buy a used one for less than $200, but the ability to transfer these games digitally to a new console would be awesome. Our console gods keep striving to provide The One console for the household, why not allow us to have our entire library all on one console too? Indeed, the smoothness and (hopefully) faster loading times of the newer console are always going to be favorable to the old. Not to mention improved user interfaces and better graphical options on newer consoles.
Nonetheless, it's good to finally see GameCube games coming to a new Nintendo console, and backwards compatibility is one of the best ways to ensure the playability of your old games. It's definitely one thing Nintendo is doing right, whatever you might think of its games, in contrast to Sony. As much as I am quite frustrated with Sony's lack of backwards compatibility between the PS3 and PS4, I can appreciate that the task is nearly impossible. Gathering all those games, especially the third-party ones, is not is simple task. Many of those studios and developer teams just don't exist anymore.
With more power and more playability of older games, I look forward to what else Nintendo will provide on the Switch. Especially with the addition of GameCube titles, there is a lot of nostalgia and enjoyment to be had in these classics of gaming for both old and new audiences, regardless of age. Now, if only the GameCube games could be free for people who already own them.