Have you been playing Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon & The Blade of Light? Noticed that it’s a little dark and reminiscent of the Wii U Virtual Console releases that inexplicably dialled down the brightness of all the games that came to the service compared to the originals?
Well, in a Twitter thread on the subject of Nintendo’s latest retro offering, software developer and gaming enthusiast LuigiBlood has delved into the Switch release and discovered that the game seems to be running courtesy of the same emulator the company used for NES and N64 releases on Wii U.
The game, which never came to the West originally, features an official English language localisation for the first time in addition to the save states and rewind functions you’ve come to expect from vintage re-releases (as seen in the Switch’s Nintendo Switch Online catalogue of NES and SNES titles).
According to LuigiBlood, these extras have been added ‘around’ the Wii U Virtual Console code, which forms the “base” of this Switch release. The code features numerous mentions of ‘VESSEL’ — the name of the Wii U’s NES and N64 emulator — and this is speculated to be the reason why the colours appear so muted and dark once again. Observe the difference in the quoted tweet below:
The Wii U’s NES and N64 emulation was notorious for this darker appearance, and it was speculated that Nintendo was somehow attempting to avoid causing epilepsy-related seizures. This seems unlikely, however, given the fact that ‘Kachikachi’ (the emulator used in the NES and SNES Classic Mini consoles) displays much more vibrant colours that are far closer to the originals.
Assuming that this is the Wii U’s emulator in action again, LuigiBlood even speculates that this project may have been completed years ago and sat on the shelf until being reworked for Switch.
It’s a confusing state of affairs, that’s for sure. You might assume that altering the colour and brightness values of an emulator would be a rudimentary tweak. While 100% accurate reproduction of an image originally designed to be viewed on a CRT television is impossible, surely there’s a better option than an image which has us checking we haven’t accidently turned our Switch’s brightness setting to zero, no?
It’s infuriatingly puzzling, to the point where we feel like we must be missing something; some elementary piece of technical knowledge. This writer tweeted LuigiBlood asking the following simple question:
The overall Fire Emblem package appears to be a decent one from what we’ve seen so far (keep an eye out for our review in due course), and the emulator’s not a bad one by any means. It’s fantastic to see Nintendo showcasing a retro release in this manner, and we sincerely hope this is the start of a trend which sees the company localise more older games for the West.
However, given the fact that the NSO catalogue on Switch and the NES Classic Mini’s games run much brighter (see the video below for a direct comparison between Wii U and the NES Mini), it’s clear that this dim presentation is a choice: one of those odd, Nintendo-patented, inexplicable choices which leaves us scratching our heads in confusion. Why, Nintendo?
Just another case of Nintendo being Nintendo? Let us know your thoughts on this release in the usual place.