Five Good Last Minute Christmas Presents from the Nintendo Virtual Console

Christmas is not now far away at all and I’m sure you’re all very excited. If you’ve still got a gift or two to buy, you might be in a bit of a hurry to find something for your friends and family and today I’m going to make a few suggestions. Nintendo’s eShop is a wonderful thing as it provides many classics from the history of gaming for only a cheap price.


During the Wii days, they had an excellent feature where you could buy a game on someone’s behalf and it would appear on their homepage as a nice surprise, waiting to be installed. Strangely, this has been removed from the Wii U, but with download codes and cards being quite easy to buy, the eShop could still provide some good last minute gifts. Here are a few suggestions.



The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
What with the 3DS remake coming soon, buying this for somebody now could really help them to appreciate the updates when they get the new version. But, regardless of any contextual facts, this is a very, very good game. In fact, I’d probably go so far as to call this the best Zelda game. The story, while retaining some traitional elements, is very atypical and there are some excitingly innovative gameplay mechanics. There’s a sinister, eerie feeling about the whole thing and it gives the game a wonderful atmosphere. Sadly, this is only on the Wii Virtual Console (not Wii U) so you will only be able to access it in ‘Wii Mode’ but hopefully it, and all other N64 games, will get a proper release on the Wii U soon.


Gameplay_(Majora's_Mask)-Nintendo Virtual Console


Donkey Kong Country
When I list this, I don’t just mean the first game in the SNES Donkey Kong Country trilogy, rather, any one of the three (or, indeed, all of them!) because each one is of the highest quality. They have the perfect mix of classic platforming gameplay, absolutely beautiful visuals, immersive soundtrack and a cast of memorable characters. They’re all very fun and have such a strong focus on exploration that there’s a sense of wonder about them (the same also applies, to a lesser extent, to the Donkey Kong Land trilogy, also available for download). Very nicely, these have all just been rereleased in the Wii U eShop.


dkc_05-Nintendo Virtual Console


Super Mario Bros. 3
The only NES game on this list, and, perhaps, the greatest of the 2D Mario platformers. This game really set the standard for the Mario series and you can see its influence even in games that are released today. It was the first one to feature a map screen, the first one where you could have an inventory, the first one to include enemy encounters on the map, the first one to include animal-based power-up suits and so much more. But most importantly, as well as being the first to do all of these things, it was also, in my opinion, the one that did them best. This is definitely worth a try if you’re a Nintendo or Mario fan.


57091-Super_Mario_Bros._3_(USA)_(Rev_A)-2-Nintendo Virtual Console


Here we have a game which was, to us in the UK, condemned to the realm of games that did not recieve a release in our country. Thankfully, that all changed when it was finally released in the Wii U eShop in 2012. While it is sad that EarthBound will now be semi-obscure in this country due to its lack of a ‘proper’ release, it’s great that this superb game is now legitimately available to us in some form. It’s an RPG game set in a mostly contemporary setting and is full of hilarious characters, bizarre boss battles and a pleasing attention to small details. It’s such a unique experience that anybody into RPGs should give it a try.


earthbound-2-Nintendo Virtual Console


Super Metroid
I was just speaking about the definitive 2D Mario game, and I think this is the definitive 2D Metroid game. You play as Samus; alone in the dark caves of the planet Zebes, you alone must locate the Space Pirate leaders and take them down. A simple premise which is beautifull executed. Graphically, the sprites look good even by today’s standard and this artstyle, combined with the wonderfully atmospheric soundtrack, go a long way to reflect the feeling of being alone and isolated on an alien planet. It’s a lot of fun and has a good number of unexpected moments. This could be a good ‘jumping in’ point for the series, or, if you’re already into Metroid you really should go back and give it a try!


35792-Super_Metroid_(Europe)_(En,Fr,De)-10-Nintendo Virtual Console


Curious that three of these five come from the SNES, could it be the best Nintendo console? Well, that’s not for me to say, but either way, these are but five of the many absolutely fantastic games from the history of Nintendo (and various other developers) that are available at the tips of your fingers for only a small price! Perfect for Christmas.



As for deals from our own Rice Digital store you can read Parallel’s excellent write-up of the Top Last Minute 2014 Deals right here!



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