[Update: A description page on Nvidia’s Chinese site suggests the Wii games in question are run via streaming through Nvidia’s Geforce Now service, rather than through emulation directly on the Shield hardware. This complicates the idea that the Shield is being used as a test run for any Switch virtual console efforts. The mere existence of remastered, HD versions of classic Wii titles, though, suggests Nintendo may have further plans for these games than just basic emulation.]
Nvidia’s Shield set-top TV box launches in China today with the same kinds of Android-based games and video-streaming capabilities familiar to owners in the West. But that foreign launch also comes with an unexpected addition exclusive to the new market: remastered, 1080p HD version of select Nintendo Wii games.
New Super Mario Bros. Wii, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and the Wii version of Punch-Out!! are all available to Chinese Shield TV owners for 68 RMB (about $10), with Super Mario Galaxy “coming soon,” according to a press release and introductory trailer.
This marks the first time in decades that direct ports of major first-party Nintendo games have appeared on hardware not made by Nintendo. It’s also the first official HD remastering for some of these 480p Wii games anywhere in the world (though Twilight Princess previously got the HD treatment on the Wii U). And the Shield TV titles mark Nintendo’s first effort to bring its home console games to mainland China since the Nintendo iQue Player, which got around China’s early 2000s ban on game consoles by playing only a handful of N64 titles.
Nintendo Switch uses Nvidia Tegra X1 SoC, clock speeds outedFor Nintendo fans outside of China, though, the Wii re-releases on the Shield TV are interesting for what they might signal about Nintendo’s plans to rerelease Wii games on the Switch. After all, the Switch uses the same Nvidia X1 system-on-a-chip as the Shield TV, which means similar HD Wii ports should be simple on Nintendo’s own console. The Chinese Shield TV ports could easily be seen as a trial run for similar Switch re-releases in the near future.
NES Classic will return (kind of) in updated Nintendo Switch online serviceNintendo has been surprisingly slow to exploit its deep catalog of classic games on the Switch, save for a handful of “Arcade Archives” re-releases and a well-hidden copy of NES Golf embedded on every system. Officially, only NES and Super NES downloads are planned as part of Switch’s online subscription service next year. But with these Shield TV ports, and Nintendo’s recent introduction of Gamecube controller support on the Switch, we’re holding out hope that games from more recent Nintendo hardware may soon be gracing the Switch as well.
More Info: arstechnica.com