This was a week to remember here at GameSpot. The PS3 and Wii launches happening so close together presented an interesting challenge even for a relatively large editorial team like the one we've assembled here, so we decided to split our efforts between bringing you the best coverage of the launch events themselves, and bringing you the best reviews of the launch titles. Of course it's yours and not ours to decide whether we succeeded in this, but for my part, it's been fun and intense working with this team on these launches, being around so many hard-working people at all hours.
Having said that, the main reason I'm writing is because one of the wild cards during this process was the Wii's Virtual Console service. We basically knew what it was going to be, but we didn't know exactly how it was going to shape up. When we learned that the service had launched on Saturday, we quickly investigated, and decided that this initial batch of titles would be worth reviewing after all. It was my pleasure to review several of the first batch myself: Altered Beast, F-Zero, and Sonic the Hedgehog.
There are three reasons we're reviewing the Wii's Virtual Console games:
1) They cost real money and they've available for purchase on a new console that seems like it's going to be very popular.
2) We think you might be interested to know our verdicts on these games, and might appreciate our ability to direct you to the best of them.
3) Some of these games are fantastic and we want to play them again or for the first time.
We decided on four guiding principles for our reviews of Virtual Console games, which will be kept short and to the point:
1) To put each game in proper historic context and take advantage of our editorial team's first-hand knowledge of the history of games. A lot of us played these games as kids.
2) To comment on the emulation quality and gameplay using the Wii Remote and/or GameCube controller and Classic Controller.
3) To comment on how each game holds up to current standards. Is it still fun to play? How long does it last?
4) To discuss the value proposition. Is it a good deal for the Wii points? Some of the prices seem pretty steep, like $8 for Genesis games and $10 for Nintendo 64 games.
A lot of us at GameSpot have come to really enjoy what's on offer on the Xbox Live Arcade service, so we've got high hopes for what happens with Virtual Console as well as the PlayStation 3's pay-per-download program (we've reviewed the PS3's first two downloadable games already: Blast Factor and Cash Guns Chaos). We'll be very curious to see how it pans out, since, even though it's up and running, we still have some questions. But as you'll see from our reviews, some of this first batch of games are well worth it. For now, we intend to keep reviewing Virtual Console games in batches, and will use your feedback and our experiences to decide how best to proceed from there. I look forward to reading some of your reviews of these old games as well.