On September 13, 2010, Nintendo celebrated the 25th anniversary of Super Mario Bros. In 2011, two of its other great adventures, Nintendo Entertainment System games Metroid and The Legend of Zelda reach the same milestone. We should celebrate, Nintendo.
The 25th birthday of Super Mario Bros. had an air of importance to it. Nintendo released a special edition version of the Wii along with a special anniversary edition of Super Mario Bros. for the NES—but that video game was only made available in Japan. The company also released a compilation of four Mario games from the NES era, the Super Mario All-Stars Collection, for the Wii—but it was comprised of Super Nintendo remakes of those four classic games, not the 8-bit NES originals it was supposed to be celebrating.
Nintendo president Satoru Iwata interviewed the developers of Super Mario games old and new. Mario's creator, Shigeru Miyamoto picked the brain of fellow creator Shigesato Itoi. Nintendo released limited edition goods and tickled our nostalgia with commercials, all in the name of celebrating Mario's milestone.
For 2011, when Link and Samus become a quarter of a century old, we think Nintendo can (and should) do better.
Nintendo's Super Mario All-Stars Collection for Wii was well-received commercially. It looked nice. But Nintendo should strive higher for the series that some people love more than Mario.
Metroid turns 25 years old this summer. It was originally released in Japan in August of 1986 for the Famicom Disk System, the add-on for the Japanese version of the NES that played games stored on floppy disks. It wouldn't release for another year in North America. (That means you have plenty of time to celebrate this one properly, Nintendo.)
Two proposals, if you don't mind, Nintendo, for what this Metroid and Zelda fan would like to have.
At a minimum, the decades of great Metroid games should warrant its own archival compilation for the Wii and contain the following games, from the Famicom to the Wii.
- Metroid (NES) - It's already on the Wii Virtual Console, why not give us the original NES classic, lest we lose our digitally downloaded copies?
- Metroid (FDS) - The better performing, slightly different Famicom Disk System version of the original Metroid would be a nice gesture to those of us without an import copy of our own.
- Metroid II (Game Boy) - While we'd hate to hurt sales of the eventual Metroid II release on the Nintendo 3DS eShop, we should all still be able to enjoy this proper Metroid sequel.
- Super Metroid (SNES) - Quite simply, this must be on the disc.
- Metroid: Zero Mission (GBA) - This excellent re-telling of the original Metroid mission is also deserving of inclusion.
- Metroid Prime Trilogy (Wii) - Retro Studios' first-person Metroid games are not easy to come by in this form. Please include it as well.
At the very least, a Metroid 25th anniversary edition should feature the great soundtracks of Metroid, Super Metroid and Metroid Prime games. We've seen great artwork from this series, some of it tucked away in Retro Studios' games. Let us have these things in our hands, so that we can cherish these Nintendo greats.
Link's 25th birthday is rapidly approaching in Japan. It may be too late to properly celebrate his video game contributions at home, but like Metroid, this classic series was introduced to NES owners in North America a year later in 1987. Plenty of time to treat the longtime fans of Link (and Samus), perhaps your most dedicated fans, with respect.
Everyone should have the opportunity to play the original game on the Wii, from a disc, along with the following games that made The Legend of Zelda series so memorable. (We don't think we're being greedy here, as this is but a small slice of the Zelda library. And don't forget, many of these games are already playable on Gamecube discs.)
- The Legend of Zelda (NES) - The one that started it all. An obvious choice.
- Zelda II: The Adventure of Link (NES) - Zelda games have never been this difficult or played from this curious perspective.
- The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (GB) - A Game Boy classic that's as memorable as any console release. The DX version would be preferred.
- The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES) - Buyers of any great Zelda compilation need this Super Nintendo classic, if only to argue whether it or Ocarina of Time is better.
- BS Zelda no Densetsu (SNES) - The Satellaview releases of The Legend of Zelda sport rarely seen graphics and adventures. Please archive these for the Zelda fans who are not time travelers.
- The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64) - Another no-brainer inclusion. It's simply one of the best Zelda games.
- The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask (N64) - A Zelda game played with a very different formula, one that's already on a Gamecube disc.
Okay, now we'll get greedy. Developer interviews, television commercials, artwork, soundtracks, premium packaging, curiosities that we don't yet know exist from our favorite games... these are the things that would make the 25th anniversaries of these NES classics that much better. Prototypes and unreleased versions of these games, if we only get to see them in non-playable video form, would be beyond our wildest dreams. We'll gladly give up the Philips CD-i games in their place!
Nintendo, what say you? Will you give Metroid and The Legend of Zelda the celebratory re-releases they deserve this year, if not the next?