Nintendo adds wireless multiplayer into a 3DS Virtual Console games.

Why now? And why only SEGA Game Gear Games?

by Randy Marr

The virtual console on 3DS has played host to some pretty spectacular games. Not only can you relive amazing titles from “them there good ol’ days,” you can find missed opportunities, give them state saves, and put them in a sleep mode for playing on-the-go. But one of the most bummer features is that there’s no way to play multi-player games that once used a Link Cable (or Link Cable Advance, if you’re one of those lucky Ambassadors). Sure you can get by on single-player experiences like Zelda: Link’s Awakening and Donkey Kong ’94, but what’s going to happen if and (who are we kidding?) when they release Pokémon‘s Red and Blue. With no way to connect via cords, the only way to do so is with some sort of emulation program. And for a while it seemed like that just wasn’t in the cards; after all, we’re two-plus years into the 3DS’s life cycle. But then came Columns, originally for the Game Gear.

Interestingly, the Game Gear games also have “Screen Settings” that allow for things like this game-gear shell around your screen.

I hadn’t noticed it before because I have a terrible problem of buying games that catch my interest and then ignoring them entirely, but Sonic: Triple Trouble has an entirely different Virtual Console interface than any other games. It has screen settings and button settings on top of it’s create/load restore point and reset buttons. But just last week, lost amidst all the crazy E3 news, another Game Gear classic, Columns, was released and came with a curious little button at the top that says “Local Play.”

When pressed, as you could imagine, it sets up the ability for two players who own a copy of Columns on their 3DS to play head-to-head in this match-3 puzzle game. Suddenly, we have the potential to trade Pokémon, to have a co-op run of Life Force from the NES, and to play the Game Boy Advance versions of Mario Kart and F-Zero on our modern-day piece of equipment. So… where’s the update?

Is this the alpha and omega of wireless Virtual Console gameplay?

Why do Game Gear games in general have a different interface? And why are only they able to hook up wireless gameplay? Is it SEGA who ports them and Nintendo just sends them out? Does SEGA have a specific requirement for their games? Now that we see at least the capability, can we expect the more important titles, like Pokémon, to have some sort of emulated Link Cable functionality? I don’t have any answers to these questions, but they’re certainly on my mind. It seems to me if you’re going to do something like the Virtual Console service, you either do it right or stop doing it entirely.

Welcome, by the way, to my first post on the brand new home for my ramblings and scrawlings. I hope you’ll stay with me; I have a lot of dumb things to say. But for now, what do you have to say? Have you ever played the game that we got before Bejewled stole our hearts and turned them into crystalline pieces for matching? How do you feel about this service being implemented? Hopeful? Hurt? Gassy? Feel free to drop a line below.

a place for video games.