Nintendo’s recent 3DS Ambassador Program was significant for a few reasons, from the company’s commendable generosity to the number of free games (20) available.
The most attention grabbing factoid was the inclusion of 10 Game Boy Advance titles, of which, five were announced.
The publisher did this without laying the foundation for more GBA offerings in the future. In fact, there’s a slight chance that new 3DS owners post the August 12 price drop won’t be able to download Game Boy Advance games at all. Ever.
Of course, critics betting that happens do so at their own peril. Nintendo has a long history of rehashing, rebooting and republishing its celebrated library.
That said, it’s only a matter of time before the big N adds Game Boy Advance to the 3DS eShop’s Virtual Console.
Frankly, this needs to happen sooner than later.
When the eShop first launched in the U.S. June 6, the publisher got off to a phenomenal start with Super Mario Land, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX and a free and 3D enhanced version of Excitebike.
Fast forward a couple of months, and the summer’s been anything but eventful. Players have put up with such duds as Tennis, Baseball, Alleyway, Radar Mission, Fortified Zone and Avenging Spirit, with Donkey Kong and Kirby’s Dream Land the lone highlights.
Not a bad start, per se. There’s certainly something for everyone, but the Virtual Console could use a good shot in the arm. Game Boy Advance would provide that.
It’s hard to argue against the likes of Metroid Fusion, Metroid Zero Mission, Mario vs. Donkey Kong, Yoshi’s Island, Mario Kart: Super Circuit and The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, and that barely scratches the surface of what GBA has to offer. There are also Fire Emblem, F-Zero and Advance Wars games to consider.
Ultimately, adding the system’s celebrated back catalogue to the eShop would bring much needed variety, giving Nintendo a chance to constantly release something its loyal followers desire, instead of diving into the bag of obscure and largely unwanted Game Boy games.
Such a move probably won’t happen in the next few months. Mario and Co. already announced plans to release Game Boy hits Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins and Metroid II: Return of Samus, which gives the company some breathing room.
Besides, the point of being a 3DS Ambassador is the privilege of owning games not available to the general public. It doesn’t make sense to dole out 10 free GBA titles in October and then start charging for them a few weeks later.
Conversely, we’d prefer not to wait until next spring. It’s clear the 3DS needs more than a price drop to boost sales. Giving the masses a wonderful collection of Game Boy Advance games to choose from would definitely help the system’s cause.
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