Friday, March 23, 2018

Just in the nick of time: I recently bought six old games (that I've never played) from the Wii eShop before Nintendo shuts it down for good

Is it wrong--or weird--that I'm sad the Wii eShop is about to go kaput?

I mean, the thing has been chugging along since late 2006. A part of me honestly (if also deludedly) thought Nintendo would never shut it down--or at least it wouldn't shut it down for many years to come.

And yet here we are, just a few days away from Nintendo basically pulling the plug on it, once and for all.

I say "basically" because the Wii eShop (or the Wii Shop Channel, if you're a stickler for using official terms) will still function--partially--after March 26. You'll still be able to re-download WiiWare and Virtual Console titles you previously bought. You'll still be able to use Wii Points purchased before March 26 to pick up WiiWare and Virtual Console titles, too.

You won't, however, be able to buy (or otherwise add) Wii Points to your system after that date, which means for most folks the Wii eShop will soon be as dead as the DSi Shop.

With that in mind, I dumped a last chunk of dough into the aforementioned Wii Points over the past couple of weekends. And then I promptly used them to purchase a handful of old games I've long wanted to play.

The games in question:

Kirby 64 (Nintendo 64)--It shouldn't be too much of a surprise to hear I've never played this platformer. I pretty much ignored the Kirby series until Canvas Curse was released in 2005, and since then I've jumped all over the place--from Epic Yarn, to Adventure, to Dream Land, to Planet Robobot. To be honest, I never even considered trying Kirby 64 before a friend brought it up on Twitter. His recommendation was so heartfelt that I decided to get off my butt and give it a go. More than four hours later, I've got to say I'm enjoying the hell out of it. It's one of the slowest side-scrollers I've ever played, but every other component is so pleasing that its lack of pace isn't bothering me at all.

Military Madness (TurboGrafx-16)--I've known since this game was first released in 1989 that it was a turn-based strategy game of the highest order. The thing is, I've only ever liked strategy games that are at least a little bit cute--with Nintendo's Advance Wars series being a good example. For whatever reason, the impending closure of the Wii eShop prompted me to rethink that practice. Now I've just got to get myself to not only start it, but hopefully finish it as well. Here's hoping I do just that--and soon.

Phantasy Star (Sega Master System)--Although I was a huge NES fanboy during the 8-bit era, that didn't keep me from desperately wanting to play Phantasy Star. Unfortunately, it was one of the only Master System games I wanted to play at the time. As such, I never got around to buying a Master System or a copy of Phantasy Star. Thanks to the Virtual Console, I didn't need to waste my money on either. Instead, all I had to do was buy 500 points on the Wii eShop and then download a digital version of the game. I've already put about five hours into that ROM, by the way, and so far I'm loving almost every aspect of it. The only thing that bugs me about Phantasy Star at the moment: there are times when battles pop up so frequently (every step or two) that I want to pull out my hair.

Princess Tomato in Salad Kingdom (NES)--Of all the old games discussed here, this is the only one I've previously played. Even then, though, I only barely played it. In fact, if memory serves, I rented it just once, from a grocery store my parents frequented at the time. (Actually, it's still their go-to grocer, though it not longer rents out video games.) Despite that, I remember liking the little I experienced of Princess Tomato. So why did I wait until Nintendo's announcement that it's pulling the plug on the Wii Shop Channel to return to it? I honestly have no idea. Better late than never, though, wouldn't you agree?

Shining in the Darkness (Genesis)--It's hard for me to believe I've never even booted up this game before now given my love of the Shining Force series. I guess I just wasn't that into dungeon-crawlers until fairly recently; and even after I turned that corner, I wasn't in the mood to give this particular example of the genre a try. Speaking of which, I kind of think I should start Shining in the Darkness as soon as I wrap up my Phantasy Star playthrough. The latter title's first-person dungeons have so enthralled me thus far that I wouldn't be surprised if I continue to be hungry for more after I reach its ending.

Super Mario RPG (SNES)--How many of you gasped or frowned or opened your eyes as wide as possible when you realized I've never played this classic? I can't believe it myself, to tell you the truth. One of the only reasons I can offer up as to why I've ignored it for so long is that it must have come out at a time when my attention was elsewhere. As for all the years that have passed since then, well, would you believe me if I said its visuals haven't aged well in my eyes? That's rarely kept me from spending time with other, lesser games, though, so I'm no longer going to let it keep me from spending time with Super Mario RPG.

See also: 'What kind of idiot buys Final Fantasy IV: The After Years WiiWare episodes in 2018? This kind!'