In a recent interview with French publication Melty, Nintendo EPD Deputy General Manager Yoshiaki Koizumi very strongly indicated that something resembling a GameCube Virtual Console is in the works for Nintendo Switch. Of course, he kept his answer vague, not confirming that a theoretical “GCVC” is on the way but instead phrasing his answer carefully: “we are working on some things along those lines.”
Close enough, I say. From Koizumi’s remarks, we can extrapolate that either a traditional GameCube ROM emulation store is in the works, or that refreshed GameCube experiences are being retooled for the Switch itself instead (ie not emulation). As such, I’ve compiled a wishlist of titles I’d absolutely love to see hit this theoretical marketplace, and briefly explore the modern tweaks or improvements that ought to be included if these are indeed something more than traditional VC emulation.
Got favorite GameCube titles you consider must-haves for a GCVC on Switch? Tell us.
F-ZERO GX is a game that was both lauded at the time of its release, yet has also become a fan and cult favorite as time has gone by. This is due largely to the growing number of years it’s been since fans have received any actual new entries in the F-ZERO series, which before GX had enjoyed a release for most Nintendo home consoles and several handhelds. In recent times I’d argue the situation has gone from generally disheartening to effectively hopeless.
If Nintendo does intend to revive F-ZERO sometime during Switch’s life, a VC release or fresh coat applied to GX would make for a fantastic way to drum up and rekindle franchise interest. We know how beautiful the game looks simply rendered at higher resolution with no other graphical tweaks at all. Imagine the effect a simple Nintendo-made texture pack might provide? Even if it is just a GameCube ROM that’s released, I’d be pleased just to play F-ZERO in my living room again, even more sprawled out while doing so than normal. Thanks Joy-Cons.
Kirby Air Ride
This rather obscure HAL Laboratory one-off wasn’t exactly a critical heavyweight, but it did garner a lot of support from younger players and Kirby fans when it released in 2003. Nintendo was experiencing something of a “simplicity revolution” at the time (cynics would call it an affliction), and as such nearly the entire game can be controlled via the A button and the analog stick exclusively.
Control opinions aside, a big hit with players was the game’s City Trial mode: a sandboxy, “open-world” city course where numerous Kirbies or Kirby cohorts could roam free, work together, attack each other, sample a wide variety of warp stars, and uncover secrets. Like F-ZERO, the game would benefit greatly from a simple up-res, bringing its staggering number of modes and challenges (typical of Mr. Sakurai) to a new generation and nostalgia-addicts alike.
Super Mario Sunshine
This is an obvious pick that everyone wants, but guess what? I want it too. Not because I think it’s the best 3D Mario game ever (it’s not), but because I’m simply famished for 3D Mario. Switch’s recently announced Super Mario Odyssey looks lovely, and as someone whose favorite Mario title is the well-received but perhaps underappreciated Super Mario 3D World, I’m having a tough time waiting until the Holidays for my next non-sidescrolling Mushroom Kingdom romp.
Unlike other previous games on this list, I’d want a Sunshine re-release to be spruced up substantially. It doesn’t have to be full remaster territory, but maybe something that sells for $40 and brings the title to visual parity with say, Super Mario Galaxy (which, given the Wii’s rather small horsepower leap over GameCube, should be doable). If Nintendo is feeling really ambitious it could redo the entire game and add a couple dozen more Shine Sprites, much like was done with Super Mario 64’s added stars on Nintendo DS. That said, this also depends on how much the company expects players to be willing to shell out for such a thing. I’ll leave that to the market researchers in Kyoto
SSX Tricky and/or SSX 3
These aren’t Nintendo games, but this is a wishlist is it not? Besides, the same goes for many virtual console releases on Wii U and especially the original Wii. I mention SSX because the early 2000s SSX titles released into a time where extreme sports IP like SSX and Tony Hawk were not just “good for what they were,” but actually some of the best videogames being made, period. SSX 3 even has the aggregator street cred to back it up. Yes, that’s a higher average than Dark Souls.
It’s unlikely a 3rd party VC release would be anything more than a ROM unless Nintendo mandated such or agreed with EA otherwise, but putting these titles out again could go a long way in vitalizing interest for future entries or extreme sports titles in general. 2012’s SSX reboot was a fine representation of the series’ heritage, and Nintendo even scored an SSX exclusive on the Wii in the form of SSX Blur back in 2007. So this may not be as crazy as it sounds
Another obvious choice that is perhaps less clamored-for than Mario Sunshine, but equally as deserving in my book. Why? Well, 3DS’s Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon was plenty fun, but given its handheld nature, Nintendo divided the experience into smaller, bite-sized chunks, arguably boosting the fun but tempering the feeling of actual spookiness and mansion-sized exploration.
A re-release or VC entry of Luigi’s Mansion, with a modest bit of modern polish, would make for a very worthwhile revisiting that could, if desired, prime the pump for a Switch sequel. The beauty of GameCube titles is that, unlike many N64 releases, their core gameplay is not just good by yesterday’s standards, but still quite excellent. Nothing will ever break ground as profoundly as Ocarina of Time, for example, but in 2017 there’s little argument against the notion that Wind Waker and Twilight Princess, both GameCube titles, are mechanically more advanced, particular in combat (plot, progression, or nostalgia notwithstanding). Similarly, the likes of Luigi’s Mansion are still very worth revisiting, so let’s hope it happens in one form or another.
This would require cooperation from Capcom, but let’s face it, they owe Nintendo. Thanks to Super Smash Bros for Wii U and 3DS, an entire generation who would’ve grown up with little meaningful interaction with the super-fighting blue robot instead have an excellent playable character and a popular meme to go along with it. In return, it’s time to loosen the clamp on Clover Studios’ past work.
This isn’t an outrageous ask; after all, Viewtiful Joe was a part of the now notorious “Capcom Five,” a deal struck between Capcom and Nintendo to bring five high-profile exclusives to GameCube over several years. Resident Evil 4 was also included in this, but we’ve seen that title remade or revisited plenty, and even with motion controls on Wii. Viewtiful Joe in particular deserves some TLC, as certain 2D elements of its graphics can’t be simply upscaled by PC emulators to look fantastic. I rooted and voted for Joe in Nintendo’s Smash Ballot, so seeing the cheeky goateed hero brought back on Switch would more than mend the disappointment that resulted.