…it would probably never get noticed. Also, many players would be pissed. Here’s why:

 

 

 

 

  1. “Holy crap, this game is HARD! Where are the difficulty settings? Why do I die in just a few hits? Why is everything killing me?!” Metroid was one of the games that helped create the phrase “NES Hard,” because games that came out on the NES were objectively far more difficult than their successors. Maybe it was control schemes or maybe it had to do with hardware limitations, but NES games kicked our asses. And you know what? For those of us that grew up playing them, we liked it. When we beat NES games, we took fucking screenshots of that shit and sent it into Nintendo Power because we were briefly the champions of the goddamn universe. Don’t think NES games are hard? Play Silver Surfer and get back to me.
  2. “Where are the save points? What the hell? Why do I go back so far when I die?” There are no save points. That’s right; none of that “auto-save every 30 seconds” bullshit that action games today give you. This game used passwords and, again, you liked it. Boss kicked your ass because you had no idea how the beat it? Too bad, wuss; hope you wrote down your damn password otherwise you just lost up to several hours of progress. Don’t think you can handle that? Try a NARPAS SWORD on for size, but don’t expect to talk to anyone else about how you “finally beat Metroid” because invincibility is for suckers.
  3. “Where do I go? There’s no map!” Of course there’s no map! Maps didn’t come around until Super Metroid 8 years later. Was it a hardware limitation or were developers just that sadistic? Who knows, but in the original NES Metroid you had to memorize your way around that hell hole, which was no easy task given that everything looks the same due to such a small tile set. In Metroid, you just had to find your way around through trial and error, remembering where to go next and where you’d get eaten alive if you accidentally went there. You also had to figure out that in order to get past the beginning of the game, you would need to go left. Left! What a novel concept, given that Metroid was the first action/platformer game that made you do it. And here’s to hoping you had the brains to figure that out, because nobody was telling you what to do and there were no popup hints guiding your dumb ass after several minutes of not figuring out what to do.
  4. “What the hell is this thing I just picked up? What am I supposed to do with this? What are the controls?” There’s no tutorial in Metroid. Hell, there isn’t even an options menu to change your controls. In Metroid, you had to figure out exactly what everything did on your own. Picking up the morph ball powerup just meant that you had touched a shiny sphere, resulting in a cool little musical riff. Nobody told you what it did, what it was called, or even what the controls were to use it. In fact, Metroid was almost completely devoid of text! You figured out how to use the morph ball because you happened to press Down after you picked it up.
3DS owners who purchased their systems before August 11th get their Ambassador Program games today, one of which includes Metroid, so a lot of people are either going to get a re-injection of Metroid or their first dose of a classic, insanely hard action platformer. Old gamers are either going to be nostalgic for Metroid’s quirks, as difficult as they made things, or they’re going to be reminded of just how far games have come. I personally just got back into Super Metroid after picking up a cartridge on eBay (don’t look at me like that: I prefer carts to downloads wherever possible and there’s nothing wrong with that) and I’m amazed at just how different Super Metroid is from NES Metroid. Will I ever be able to beat classic Metroid? Probably not, but it sure is fun to give it a shot.
For people new to the franchise: Good fucking luck. You’re going to need it.
Since the question has come up several times, here’s how to download the 3DS Ambassador Program games, available as of now (August 31st, 2011):
  1. Go to the 3DS eShop.
  2. Scroll all the way to the left to Settings/Other.
  3. Click on “Your Downloads.”
  4. Click “Re-download” next to the title(s) you want to pick up. The 10 NES games are available already and the GBA games will be out soon.
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