Welcome to our weekly feature, Virtually Overlooked, wherein we talk about games that aren't on the Virtual Console yet, but should be. Call it a retro-speculative.
Rare has been responsible for many of the most beloved games on Nintendo systems throughout the years. RC Pro-Am, Goldeneye 007, and Donkey Kong Country come immediately to mind when thinking about the company and its history of great games.
Taboo: The Sixth Sense is not great, or beloved, or even a game. If it were a game, it would be one of the worst ones on the NES. But if something like Taboo can even have a time, then that time has come.
Why the game hasn't been announced for Virtual Console yet:
The only Rare game we've seen on the Virtual Console is Donkey Kong Country, which features Nintendo-owned characters. Since Rare is now owned by Microsoft, it's likely that they don't want to support their competitor's download service. Not even with Taboo.
Why we think it should be on the Virtual Console:
Taboo is a tarot simulator that was marketed at adults when it was originally released. Back then, it was fairly controversial for its "mature" focus and for not really being a game. But Nintendo's popularity these days is largely due to non-game software designed for adults. This is especially true for the DS, but we see the same thing on the Wii with things like the Wii Health Pack and the Forecast Channel. It's quite possible that Nintendo's new target audience would go for something that could be marketed as a virtual Ouija board for parties, or as a silly horoscope generator. It's not any more ridiculous than a program that lets people vote on random questions.
The game asks for the player's name, birthday, and sex. Then, using the d-pad, you enter a question. This stuff seems to matter about as much as the questions you ask a Magic 8-Ball. Then the "deck" is "shuffled' and you're treated to some psychedelic flashy effects for no reason. The cards that represent the different aspects of your life are shown to you, which makes no sense at all if you aren't already familiar with the Tarot deck-- we're only guessing that it makes sense to anyone! Your question doesn't really seem to get much of an answer. After all that, you get some lottery numbers. It's a pretty simple program. It's hard to imagine people getting so offended over it back when it came out! The only way we could see being offended by Taboo would be if we paid $50 for it.
Besides the non-game crowd, there's another potential audience for a VC release of Taboo: people like us with an appreciation for awful games. Playing a few minutes of Taboo is really entertaining in all the ways a bad NES game should be: the terrible graphics representing the cards, the Engrish explanations of each card's meaning (which is incredibly baffling since Rare is a British company), and, most importantly, the very idea of the NES somehow having magical powers.
What does the future hold for the next week of Virtually Overlooked? Only the cards know. Oh, and us. We also know. But only because we consulted the cards. And because we pick the topics ourselves. We see a column about a completely excellent game in your future.
Update: removed the erroneous reference to Star Fox 64.