This morning, Konami released the TurboGrafx-16 games Battle Chopper and Necromancer for Wii U. That’s right: It’s the year 2018, and Konami is still releasing Virtual Console games on Wii U for an audience of almost nobody. It was already kind of weird that they were still releasing games six months ago, but now it’s just bizarre.
Like many of the games that have been releasing in this seemingly never-ending denouement, today’s are actually historical milestones. Neither of these games has ever been released before in the U.S. Battle Chopper is actually Mr. Heli, an Irem shoot-em-up of some renown. Necromancer is a horror role-playing game, but don’t get too excited about it unless you know Japanese, as the Virtual Console version is fully untranslated and text-heavy.
The saga of the never-ending drip-feed of TurboGrafx content has been fascinating to watch. While Nintendo and most of its third-party partners stopped releasing Virtual Console games after the launch of the Nintendo Switch in March 2017, the vast majority of the TurboGrafx titles actually released after the Switch launch!
Like today’s titles, other games that have come out recently are actually getting their first-ever release in the U.S., on any platform, thanks to the good old underappreciated Wii U. Games like Salamander and Bomber Man Panic Bomber didn’t even come out on the original Wii in the U.S. It’s just bizarre that these games’ first official releases outside Japan are happening completely under the radar on a dead platform.
Meanwhile, in Switchland, Nintendo just announced that Switch Online won’t be available until September 2018. Considering that it’s tying its own classic game releases to this service, that means there’ll be a bit of a wait before we’re playing Link to the Past and the like on Switch—with the notable exception of Nintendo’s arcade games like Vs. Super Mario Bros., which are being released as individual downloads.
It seems like Konami’s U.S. branch is just slowly working its way through the library of released games in Japan, which all came out prior to April 2017. The only question left is, how deep are the cuts going to get? Wallaby racing? Langrisser? Ai Cho Aniki?
We can only dream.