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Nintendo Talks Revolution Download Service

Nintendo logoDuring an interview with GameDaily one of Nintendo's PR directors, Beth Llewelyn, discussed Nintendo's plans for the Revolution's backwards compatibility with the Nintendo GameCube as well as the download service for playing classic Nintendo Entertainment System, Super NES, and Nintendo 64 titles.

BIZ: I thought the idea of giving Revolution owners downloadable access to Nintendo's catalogue of titles over the last 20 years was a brilliant idea, but one thing that wasn't addressed was pricing for these older titles. These aren't going to be free, right? There will be a fee per download?

BL: Probably, but we haven't gone into what these details will be and as we get closer to launch we'll describe what the program is, what the costs will be, what games will be available, etc. But we just wanted to get the news out there that this is something that we will be doing and it's something very unique to Nintendo.

I believe that it's a wonderful idea for Nintendo to bring back some of the best video games of all time in this manner, but my concern is the library of available titles and the cost per title.  As Ms. Llewelyn says in this interview, Nintendo is still working out all the details.  Personally, I'd like to see all of Nintendo's first party titles on the system plus some of the best games that third-party publishers have to offer.  I want to see the original Castlevania trilogy.  Bring on the complete Mega Man series, Anniversary Collection and its backwards controls be damned.  Offer up Chrono Trigger and the Super NES Final Fantasy titles (translated into English, of course) and Nintendo will have fans and friends forever.

As far as cost goes, I'd like Nintendo to offer up five free downloads with the purchase of a Revolution.  "First one's free, kid."  Let players get a taste of the old classics and they'll most likely break out the credit cards for more titles.  Normally I'm against micropayments, but I think that paying a small amount for a complete classic game instead of a +2 Sword Of Pain is a fair deal.  GameDaily suggests pricing by era, that is NES titles would be one price, Super NES titles would cost a little more, and so on.  That certainly makes sense, but somehow I think Nintendo would make more money selling Super Mario Bros. 3 for $1 than they would selling Donkey Kong 64 for $3 because of demand.  I'm betting that Nintendo will mark up the more popular games and make the ones that didn't sell that well originally (but still sold enough to get a spot on the download service) cheaper.  As long as the games are affordable I know I'll be stocking up on games I missed out on the first time around as well as my old favorites.

Now, here's the idea that I want to hear more about.  At the pre-E3 press conference the possibility was raised of developers adding new content to these old downloadable games.  I think that is an excellent idea and I know I would pay for some new Super Mario Kart battle tracks or a new set of levels for Kirby's Dream Course.  I'm probably not the only one, too.  To be honest, the possibility of new content for classic titles has me just as excited as the new franchises and genres that Nintendo has promised for the new console.  Yes, the Game Boy Advance ports of the various Super Mario titles have a handful of new levels in some cases, but $30 is too much for six new levels.  As I said previously, this is where micropayments seem fair to me.

Nintendo has announced plans to reveal more details on their upcoming download service as the Revolution's launch approaches.  Who knows?  Maybe we'll finally get that rumored "lost dungeon" from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time after all.