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|04-17-2014, 11:04 AM||#1|
Game Boy Advance Games Are Shockingly Good on Wii U
Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga on the Wii U. Image courtesy Nintendo
Nintendo’s really hurting for games for its Wii U console, but now it has a new well to tap: The library of the Game Boy Advance.
Wait, it’s putting the handheld games it released in the early 2000′s on its new home console? When you can’t even download them on its portable console, the 3DS? Yeah. Nintendo’s weird like that.
But actually, it’s not as crazy as you’d think.
The games are brought over so elegantly that you easily forget you’re playing, on your giant television, portable games designed for a 2.9 inch screen.
The Nintendo 64 and GameCube home consoles were the ostensible successors to the 16-bit Super Nintendo.
But diehards know that the real continuation of the Super NES’ legacy was on Game Boy Advance.
Its color screen and 32-bit processor were perfect for perpetuating the 2-D pixel aesthetic in a world that had otherwise switched over to polygons.
Nintendo kicked off the Game Boy Advance-on-Wii U initiative with three classics: the action-adventure Metroid Fusion, RPG Mario and Luigi Superstar Saga and strategy game Advance Wars, all considered to be among the best games on the platform.
At $7.99 each I wasn’t about to buy all of them, but I definitely wanted Metroid.
The game displays on both the television and the screen on the Wii U’s GamePad controller.
At first, the “screen smoothing” option was turned on, making the game’s graphics look like they’d been run through a Photoshop filter that sort of made everything look like a stained-glass window.
I turned that right the heck off and was greeted by the colossal pixels of my carefree youth.
The graphic options went deeper than that; I could also choose to have the game’s display stretch to the top and bottom edges of my TV screen, or use a “pixel-perfect” mode that more accurately represented the dimensions of the Game Boy Advance’s screen but featured a larger black border on my TV.
This wasn’t as dramatic a change, so I decided to err on the side of accuracy.
The relative power of the Game Boy Advance and the quality of the emulation means that these don’t look like portable games so much as they look like playing a Super NES.
If that isn’t something you can bring yourself to do today, then you won’t really like this either. But if you think the best use of a new game machine is to play old stuff, boy is this up your alley.
Thankfully, you can switch the button configurations around if you want.
I found that I needed this. In Metroid Fusion, to shoot missiles you have to hold down the right bumper with your index finger then press B with your thumb.
This is identical on the Wii U, but I found that my fingers naturally rested on the analog trigger buttons, not the digital bumpers above them.
So I was able to go in and reassign the buttons, and then it felt perfect.
(And if you really want a Super Nintendoish experience, you can just plug in the Pro Controller and use that instead of the GamePad.)
Nintendo actually let you play Game Boy Advance games on the television back in the day; the Game Boy Player accessory for GameCube let you do this with your cartridges.
Once, I was playing Legend of Zelda on this device and I realized I had to leave my house soon and take a long train ride.
I was momentarily upset at having to stop playing the game, and it took me a split second to realize that what I was playing was actually a portable game and that I could bring it with me.
Even today, on Wii U, the interface disappears in such a way.
When you’re playing something well-crafted like Metroid Fusion you forget it’s an out-of-place, anachronistic transplanted experience and lose yourself in the game.
Since the service began, Nintendo has released more games like the original Wario Ware, Inc., and today it dropped F-Zero: Maximum Velocity and the role-playing game Golden Sun.
So far, it’s only been this small selection of the absolute best first-party games, with no indication of third-party software makers putting their Game Boy Advance libraries onto Wii U.
Nintendo has a habit of announcing new initiatives like this and then letting them fall by the wayside; its much-vaunted announcement of “Virtual Console Arcade” saw only a tiny handful of releases from four publishers, not even enough to fill an arcade.
As well done as they are, it would be a shame if the same thing happened to Game Boy Advance.
|04-17-2014, 12:51 PM||#3|
Oh wow, that's cool.
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