The digital format, WiiWare and a lost game.
The debate between physical and digital format is a recurring theme in the gaming community. A sector, certainly those born before the consolidation of the Internet, loves to have its games well organized on the shelf, with their boxes and manuals in perfect condition. Another group, however, attaches less importance to the physical “supplements” of the video game, choosing to store them in their digital libraries or on their video game consoles. It is said that the latter is the trend that will prevail in the future. Maybe it’s true. If at any point buyers doubted the reliability of their games on a cloud, the sentiment is gone. Purchasing products from stores is now the norm and the physical format is becoming less and less what it used to be. For example, isn’t it painful to buy a game and not see the manual?
I’m not against the digital format, not even remotely. Society is evolving and the video game market is at the forefront of this process. We must adapt and assume that certain aspects we love will be lost and others we do not yet know will shape the way forward. The physical format may or may not be one of these aspects.
The number of gamers who love having their video games on their shelves is huge. At the same time, the developer seems to prefer to see his work in object form and not limited to the network. These two certainties lead me to believe that the physical format will endure, at least for the foreseeable future, although it will coexist with the digital format, which will be the dominant one. We find a deeper reflection on this topic in this article by Yova Turnes.
If a disc already looks like something retro, then what is a cartridge?
I will not enumerate the numerous advantages of the digital format. Suffice it to say that it has given numerous developers the opportunity to embark on the adventure of creating and releasing a video game with “relative” certainty. This leads to a greater number of products full of innovative and surprising ideas available to players.
However, there is a huge black spot that the digital format cannot detach from. That Achilles’ heel that, no matter how much it hides in thick boots, will always be there: the possibility of a particular game disappearing.
Relatively often there is news or indications that a game will no longer be available in stores. For example, the case of the game LEGO Lord of the Rings (Traveller’s Tales, 2012) was discussed. This case can be considered a small loss since there is a physical version, but what about games born in digital format? How can we contact them if they have been withdrawn or stores are closed? Today I want to talk to you about one of those cases, Dive: The Medes Island Secret.
To talk about Dive: The Medes Island Secret, we have to go back to the Wii era. Nintendo has created a console that broke with video game schemes with its innovative controls. The platform was a resounding success despite being significantly less powerful than its competitors. It was also Nintendo’s first serious step into the world of online multiplayer on home consoles – the Nintendo Gamecube had online options, but the games that used them were counted on one hand.
A kind of online store/platform called WiiWare was launched on the Wii, where it was made easy for small developers to publish games. Despite quite restrictive limits – 40MB could cover each game – the platform had very interesting and innovative works, which moreover usually did not exceed €10. Lost Winds (Frontier Developments, 2008), Robox (Dreambox Games, 2010), Bit Trip Runner (Gaijin Games, 2010) or World of Goo (2D Boy, 2008) are examples of great games born from this small market. Spain was also present on WiiWare, with Over The Top Games’ NyxQuest being the most prominent instance. For a more detailed list, see this article.
NyxQuest, Kindred Spirits was probably the best Spanish game on WiiWare
The problem came with the arrival of WiiU. Nintendo has never been reliable when it comes to connecting online. Full entry into this virtual world was a difficult step for him, and some of his movements to this day can be called a real disaster. The data transfer from Wii to WiiU is possibly one of Nintendo’s biggest botches. And it hasn’t been talked about enough.
First of all, we couldn’t access WiiWare games through the WiiU interface since we had to switch the console to Wii mode first; this is the first nonsense. Once in Wii mode it was impossible to transfer our purchase data from our old Wii with any sort of account or password, that would have been too easy for Nintendo. There was only one method: to transfer data from one console to another via an SD card. Of course, everything was gone from the original Wii, meaning you didn’t copy, you moved data; second and more relevant nonsense on the part of Nintendo.
Performing the – unnecessarily – complex operation required downloading and running an application, which could take hours. The problem is that, like the WiiU in general, this method worked poorly. Many people including myself were devastated as all their games were lost during the transfer process. They disappeared from my Wii and never made it onto my WiiU. How many games have I lost? I’d rather not think about it.
Learn the complex method of transferring data from Wii to WiiU
So that’s the story of how I lost Dive, but now comes the main question: why can’t I buy it back? In January of this year, the Wii Store was permanently closed. As of today, all WiiWare exclusive games that never made the leap to another platform are no longer accessible. Dive: The Medes Island Secret is one of those games that only stays on the consoles of people who bought it and didn’t lose or delete it. Here the debate about the digital format reappears. If there had been a physical copy it wouldn’t be a problem, it would be enough to dive into second-hand markets and pull out the wallet. But they don’t exist, and if you want to play Dive legally on a Wii, you can’t.
We’re not talking about a retro platform here. We’re talking about a game developed for a video console that will be produced until about 2014. Isn’t it tragic that there are games that were born and disappeared within 9 years? If I wanted to, I could find and play MSX, NES, Game Boy, PSX, N64 games…but none from that decade. abominable.
Dive. The treasures that the sea hides
Dive: The Medes Island Secret was developed in 2010 by Cosmonauts Games, a now defunct company. The game invites us to explore the depths of the sea in search of Templar treasure. Although it takes its name from the Catalan archipelago, there are numerous places to visit, all different in terms of environment, fauna and flora.
Without being a technical prodigy, Dive was a beautiful game with aquatic environments full of life, danger and mystery. It wasn’t difficult to complete, but it was entertaining and made good use of the WiiMote since we had to point in the direction we wanted to go. Given WiiWare’s enormous limitations, it was probably one of the best and most complex products on the platform.
DIVE invited us to search the depths for lost treasure. What has been lost now is the game itself.
Our database gives Dive an average score of 75, which gets extra mention on relevant websites like Anait, Vandal, Blogocio or Revogamers.
” In short, Dive is a direct and easy-to-enjoy game, with an impeccable artistic and visual calculation, an exquisite setting and perfect for short but intense games. The title of the summer for WiiWare. “
And why all this text? Not long ago I found an image of the game that I had lost in a folder on my computer. As is usual in such cases, I remembered not the game itself, but the pleasant feeling it gave me at the time, and I wanted to repeat it. And with this panorama I found myself.
Thankfully, all of the text up to this point is a bit of nonsense, as Dive: The Medes Island Secret is still purchasable and playable. In the depths of an online shop called BigFishGames, which I didn’t know until two days ago, we find him – for 3 € as a new customer -. If you don’t want to buy the game but are curious, you can always try the hour-long demo offered by the store.
A search game for lost treasure has been lost.
Yes, the original Wii experience of controlling the submarine with the WiiMote will be forgotten and only enjoyed by a handful of people. Getting back to the original topic, the digital exclusive has this catch, things can get lost. A physical edition lasts over time if the user is careful. However, the preservation of a digital edition may not depend on the user, but on many external interests and the survival of certain systems and online stores. WiiWare is an example of this; All your exclusive games will only remain on the consoles that contain them and as long as the data is not deleted. If I have to keep a game, I prefer a disc and a box to a bunch of data in a console.
Dive: The Medes Island Secret is a game…