• John Bush

Nintendo’s Rich Back Catalogue and Me: A Salute to Long-Absent Friends

Author: John B

I can’t go on Twitter for more than five minutes without seeing a thread where folks reminisce about their favorite franchises of old and pining for their return. I’m never one to let a good idea go un-stolen, so I worked up a list of ghosts of Nintendo past of my own that I’d like to see jump onto the Switch. Not every series I talk about is technically a Nintendo franchise, but they all have pretty strong Nintendo ties and that’s close enough for me!

Kicking things off, if nothing else the recent, overwhelming success of the Fire Emblem franchise should prove to Nintendo that it’s worth giving Intelligent Systems loads more money to get its franchises back on the shelves. With the recent announcement of a new Paper Mario, that leaves Advance Wars as the IS series most in need of finding itself a new audience. Sure, games like TINY METAL have done an admirable job filling in for AW during its absence, but it’s time for the OG to reenter the battlefield. Intelligent Systems has shown an aptitude for adding interesting new twists on its series’ classic gameplay mechanics in recent years, and I’d be first in line to see what they could come up with for Advance Wars.

Nintendo has entered its newest golden age thanks to the massive success of the Switch. Doesn’t a golden age deserve a Golden Sun to light its way? Developers Camelot Software Planning are kept busy on Nintendo’s Mario sport games (Mario Tennis and Mario Golf), but back on the GBA and DS they were exhilarating RPG fans with their instant-classic Golden Sun games. With the success of RPG series like the Xenoblade games, I’d think Nintendo would be interested in developing as many popular franchises as possible. The developer, under a different name, also made the Shining series for Sega back in the day. Seeing that make a comeback would be welcome as well. Speaking of Xenoblade, however...

I know Xenoblade Chonicles has been getting the most love of the oprainfall alums of late, and I’m looking forward to buying it a third time as much as anyone, but, if I’m being honest, (HOT TAKE ALERT) The Last Story was a better game. If only to get Mistwalker and Hironobu Sakaguchi out of the mobile market and back basking in the warm glow of console gaming, The Last Story needs to stage a comeback. Sure, technically it’s a Mistwalker game and not a Nintendo game, but Nintendo published it everywhere except North America (thanks, !), so I’m fudging it onto the list anyway. And that’s kind of going to be the theme of this article from here on out.

This is another only kind-of-sort-of a Nintendo game, but I’m willing to fudge it for another entry. The Ogre Battle/Tactics Ogre series is one of my favorite strategy series of all time. Let us Cling Together has a messier job and ability system than its spiritual successor Final Fantasy Tactics, but it just might have the better story. Square-Enix technically owns the rights to the series, but Nintendo did publish a few entries in the series in Japan (Atlus originally published most of them here in the west with Squenix taking a few stabs at re-releasing some games themselves), so I’m including the series here. I’d take a new entry or re-releases of any games in the series – particularly the ones I’ve never played, like Prince of Zenobia which never came west, or Ogre Battle 64 because I never had an N64.

Speaking of Square-Enix, I know Squaresoft is getting most of the re-release and remaster love on the current-gen systems, but Enix had a life before they got married, too! They’re more than just Dragon Quest and Star Ocean, and it’s high time we acknowledged that - although they should continue to re-release and make new entries in those series too. Classics like Illusion of Gaia, Actraiser, and Valkyrie Profile are all Enix games, and they all deserve to find their way into the hands of modern audiences and/or be given a chance to stage a comeback. Heck, they can even bring Terranigma across the Pacific officially for the first time while they’re at it. It would save me the trouble of having to figure out how to do a ROM, at least (is it… is it storks? Do storks do ROMs?).

I’ll wrap it up with a pair of personal favorites that never found much life here in North America, but are much-loved by me those who played them anyway. Trace Memory (or Another Code as it’s known in every other region) and Hotel Dusk were two of my absolute favorite games on the DS. Both of them got sequels I never got to play because they didn’t make it to North America, but hopefully someone can get Nintendo to take a chance on trying them out on the eShop. Sadly, these are a bit of a longshot because I don’t really know who has the rights to either series; they were developed by Cing, which sadly went bankrupt in 2010. Resurrecting the two major series from a studio that went bankrupt probably doesn’t look appetizing to most publishers, but dammit, these are excellent games! You just need to figure out how to get a broader audience to see that. They also had a third game on the DS, Again, that wasn’t bad but it wasn’t as good as the other two.

So there you have it; the definitive lists of Nintendo franchises – and franchises that once appeared on Nintendo systems – that I need to see make a return to the gaming arena. Preferably the Switch, because my TV only has three HDMI ports and I’ve got a DVR and three current-gen systems to try and keep plugged in. I don’t have time to keep plugging and unplugging all kinds of HDMI cables. I’m not a cable guy. Jim Carrey is. I’m not Jim Carrey. If I was I could afford a TV with infinite HDMI ports and I wouldn’t have this problem. That’s what’s up when you got that Ace Ventura money.

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