They said it would never happen, and now it seems that they may have been correct. By now you've probably heard that the Nintendo 64 classic Goldeneye 007 developed by Rare and published by Nintendo was almost made available for both Nintendo's Wii Virtual Console in its original form and for Microsoft's Xbox Live Arcade with new additions such as leaderboards, online multiplayer, and updated visuals. You've probably also heard that the whole deal has come slamming to a halt after Nintendo put the kibosh on the project. There's all kinds of rumors as to why Nintendo applied the brakes. I've heard that the two sides couldn't agree on just how much money Nintendo was to receive from Microsoft for allowing the updated version, but I've also heard that the disagreement came down to whether Nintendo would receive a one-time payment upfront or ongoing royalties. There's also talk that Nintendo president Satoru Iwata personally stepped in and ended negotiations because, in his mind, a beloved Nintendo game should remain on a Nintendo console. So, in the end, we won't be seeing this new Goldeneye 007 anytime soon.
Then the fans spoke out. Some people say that Nintendo should fall into line and allow the game to live again. Others side with Iwata's supposed reasoning. Still others think the game hasn't aged well and should be left to our memories. I can understand Nintendo's position on this matter. Why hand a competitor a major moneymaking game like Goldeneye 007 even if there's a load of basically "free" revenue to be had by doing so? According to what's been discussed about the negotiations, apparently while Microsoft would be able to sell the updated version of the game, Nintendo would only be able to make the original Nintendo 64 version of the game available on the Virtual Console. Given the choice between the enhanced version or the original, which would you choose? If it were up to me then we'd see the remake for both Xbox Live Arcade and Nintendo's upcoming WiiWare, although that may be even more of a pipe dream than what was originally proposed by the companies involved. And as long as I'm twisting the knife, imagine the awesomeness that would come from cross-platform multiplayer. Ah, if wishes were Yoshis...
As far as the game not aging well, I'll admit that there are much more impressive, much more polished shooters out there today than there were during Goldeneye 007's debut. However, there are also platformers that leap ahead of the original Super Mario Bros. and block-based puzzle games that go beyond the original Tetris and yet we still return to those classic games time and again. I'd even bet that most folks want the Goldeneye revamp for multiplayer action as opposed to the single-player mode. Goldeneye was my most rented video game of the Nintendo 64 era for a reason, after all. Whenever enough of my friends and I were able to gather together for a gaming day we'd always rent Goldeneye and shoot at one another for hours on end. None of us actually owned the game, mind you, even though we loved it so much. We only brought it around for multiplayer fun and the rest of the time it just didn't seem like a wise investment.
The great thing about this whole mess is that we're not talking about some nearly complete game being lost to the ages. Goldeneye 007 has been released. It's out there right now for you to play on the Nintendo 64. You'll find it just about anywhere older games are sold, and with the right combination of persistence, patience, and PayPal you'll be able to gather all your friends in the same room and shoot at each other with Klobbs in the Facility level all night long. It may be a little archaic, but it works. I call dibs on the proximity mines!
(Images via Wikipedia)