Tony’s Time: Metroid and Remote Play
This week I got to try out some technology not necessarily intended by Nintendo, but is available none the less. It’s something that is also currently available for the Playstation 3 and the PSP. I’m talking about remote play. Now, before you say it, I know there isn’t any form of that technology currently available on a Nintendo system. I can’t download a game on the Wii and transfer to any of my current DS systems. Even though, it’s not officially available, it’s still possible with one game, and that game is Metroid.
I began playing through Metroid just before we recorded our most recent podcast on Saturday night. I made enough progress that I felt I was actually accomplishing something in the game. I continued after the show with Shelby guiding me, from memory, to the places that I needed to go to get some upgrades. (The simple fact that Shelby can tell me where to go from memory is a scary thought.) I decided I was going to complete a play through of Metroid for the first time because of this.
The ability for remote play is only possible for two reasons, both completely archaic. The first thing is that I own two copies of Metroid. One I purchased on the Wii Virtual Console, the other was given to me as part of the ambassador program. The other thing that makes this possible is the fact that the NES version of Metroid did not have battery backup and relied on a password system to save your progress.
After a while I was getting tired of looking at the game on the small 3DS screen so I decided to try something. When I died I turned my Wii on and entered the password on my 3DS into my Wii and was able to continue right where I left off with all the progress that I had made. I know there is any number of passwords out there available for free on the internet, but I’m playing through the game properly and using passwords as I come to them.
Now in this day and age it should be entirely possible for Nintendo to allow someone to download a game on the Wii and transfer it to their DS to play, even if it’s only stored in the RAM until you shut the system off. They currently do that with DS demos so the technology is already there.
I own two copies of Metroid. I purchased one and was essentially “gifted” the other. If the Ambassador Program didn’t exist I wouldn’t own a second copy of the game. Each of these games is now tied to my Club Nintendo account because I have both my Wii and my 3DS linked to it. There should be no reason that I should have to purchase these games twice. I know I’m part of the problem with Nintendo’s mindset that people continue to buy their games on every system available. I have numerous copies of old NES games available on multiple systems and if the times comes that GameCube games become available for download on Wii U I’ll purchase them as well.
The Virtual Console library was a great idea that’s been poorly implemented, and Nintendo would go a long way towards appeasing some of the ill will against them and that mindset that they’re only out for money if they would open up their online infrastructure a little bit and allow people to take the games that they own and transfer them to their system. It would be easy enough to link the Wii (or Wii U) and the 3DS together allowing those games to be transferred between the two systems. If everything is already tied to your Club Nintendo account Nintendo knows you own those games. Make it so that it can only be transferred to one system and you could cut down on the fears of piracy, but on the other hand, how much money would they lose if Virtual Console games were “gifted” to their friends in this manner. I’ve said how nice it is to be able to take my NES games with me on the go and this would be a great feature for the Virtual Console. Make those systems interchangeable so that games that are available for download on the Wii or the 3DS are available to users on both systems for one price.
The password system makes it possible to try out the ability to have remote play for a Nintendo system and it was a small, unintended taste of technology that I now really want. It’s been a great experience having my 3DS with me at work and playing the game while I’m away from the house, only to input a simple password that then essentially transfers all of my progress over to my TV when I get home. I know it’s not really doing that as the passwords are set in the coding of the game and I could easily go to the internet and pull passwords for any point in the game and play from there. Playing it this way has been an interesting experience. I don’t own a PlayStation so I haven’t been able to try out this technology. It’s only through a fluke or archaic technology and the 3DS price drop that I’m able to do this and I have to say I like it.
Nintendo needs to give us remote play and allow transfer of Virtual Console games between their systems. It’s the way the game industry is going and Nintendo could benefit immensely from allowing their users to do this with the technology. It’s technically already available on the systems. Let’s make it happen.