The Virtual Console was the promise from Nintendo to all of its older fans that at long last, they could play games from their childhood. The NES, SNES, N64 and so on were all at their fingertips when it launched with the Wii in 2006. Of course not everything was available right away and in fact it took awhile for updates.
This promise finally ended this year when Nintendo closed the Wii version. There is still the 3DS and Wii U Virtual Console shops, but they don’t have the wealth of options that the Wii version once did. Basically what we are trying to say is these ten games are unavailable past the original SNES hardware even though they might have, at one time, been online officially.
While this is not technically part of the Mana series, it is a spinoff in a sense. See after Secret of Mana shipped, the North American branch of Squaresoft at the time decided to work on this game as sort of a spiritual successor. At the time this was almost unheard of since Squaresoft was a Japanese company and their other branches outside of that were there more for localization. Because of this, many may think of this as a lesser SNES RPG, but it still contains that Squaresoft quality. Fun bonus fact! Jeremy Soule composed the music, the man also behind Skyrim.
Just so we don’t get knocked for not knowing our facts, hear is the situation. Yes, this game started in arcades. Arcades are now defunct. Scratch that off the list. And yes, this game got remade for Xbox 360 and PS3. That version is also now lost to time. This SNES version never made it to any of Nintendo’s Virtual Console platforms. This must be in large part due to the license waning between releases. Even a powerful company like Konami can’t do anything about it.
There are actually two Zelda games trapped on the SNES. In Japan there was a service and a plugin for the console called the Satellaview. With this download feature, Nintendo released a remake of the first game, but with new 16-Bit graphics.
The other game, Ancient Stone Tablets, was a pseudo sequel to A Link to the Past. Both of these games were also hosted live with commentary and a live band playing as people played during allotted time slots. It was way ahead of its time and thus hard to re-release.
Sparkster has a confusing legacy. It is the sequel to Rocket Knight, a Sega Genesis exclusive. That platform got a game of the same name, almost, called Sparkster: Rocket Knight Adventures 2. All three of these titles are different from one another and all three are about a knighted possum with a rocket pack. It’s essentially an action platformer from Konami. Does that all make sense?
Technically Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals did leave the SNES via a remake on the DS in 2010. Even though Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals is based on that game, it is completely different and more like a re-imagining just like the remake for Final Fantasy VII is also more of a broad re-imagining. It’s a shame too because Lufia II is one of the most underrated RPGs on the platform. The game is right up there with Final Fantasy VI.
Illusion of Gaia is sort of like Zelda, but with more RPG elements. Players traverse through dungeons, gain magic, solve puzzles, and yes, fight loads of monsters. It was made by Quintet and distributed by Enix before they merged with Squaresoft. Even though they weren’t as big back in the day, they still had some gems on their hands.
Shadowrun is based on the popular tabletop RPG. The series is like Dungeons and Dragons, but with a Bladerunner cyberpunk motif. Who needs Cyberpunk 2077 when this could be available to Nintendo owners now? It may have lower graphics, but its ambitions were pretty big considering it is basically an open world RPG on the SNES. Players can talk their way out of conflicts, pick locks, hack computers, and if all else fails, fighting is an option.
Marvel Super Heroes In War of the Gems is also a victim of licensing issues. It’s why it and other Superhero games from both Marvel and DC most likely will never get re-released. Among the many-licensed based beat ‘em ups, this is among the best.
As the name might imply, this is about getting the Infinity Gems back from the hands of Thanos. Players can choose to fight said evil as the Hulk, Wolverine, Spider-Man, Captain America, or Iron Man.
LucasArts made a lot of point and click adventure games for PC platforms back in the 80s and 90s. Plus a lot of Star Wars content too. They did have a few original ideas for consoles though too including this mech shooter, Metal Warriors. It’s a pretty basic action game, but one that still looks and plays great even after a couple decades.
Last, but certainly not least, we have Gunple: Gunman’s Proof. It is the answer to this question. What if someone combined the gameplay of A Link to the Past with the zaniness of EarthBound all with a western motif? Well, the answer is this. Sadly it never made it out of Japan thus it is double stuck on the console. Thankfully fans have patched it into English so if one wanted, they could play it right now. As cool as that is, we look forward to a future, official release. That goes for everything else on here as well.