As Nintendo (OTC BB: NTDOY) readies its new Revolution console for release sometime this year, the company is also planning to reconnect players with their old favorite games.

According to an AP article, Nintendo has big plans for something called the "Virtual Console." Gamers will be able to use an Internet connection to download a digital treasure trove of nostalgic titles to their Revolutions, not just from Nintendo's portfolio, but also from the collections of Sega's Genesis system and the TurboGrafx 16.

For lots of gamers, myself included, this news is nothing short of incredible. I had a lot of fun playing with my old Sega Genesis, particularly during the year or so it took me to complete episodes two and three of the PhantasyStar series. Or how about that stunning arcade translation of Ghouls 'n' Ghosts, a fiendishly difficult game I could never complete? And although I never owned the TurboGrafx machine, I remember drooling over the Splatterhouse title.

Nintendo is going to get a lot of attention from a great many people like me. I'm already seriously considering plunking down some hard-earned cash for the upcoming Revolution. If consumers have the chance to play a lot of classic games (I'm not sure if the titles I mentioned will be part of the planned service), they just might want to take a chance on the Nintendo brand again.

That brand has been considerably tarnished by the lackluster reception to Nintendo's Gamecube console, which has become synonymous with "third place" among gamers. The Sony (NYSE:SNE) PlayStation and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Xbox seem more revered these days than the console that gave rise to Mario. Betting heavily on gaming nostalgia could be a risky gamble for Nintendo; will the proliferation of plug-and-play joystick games by JAKKS Pacific wear out retro games' welcome? And when the new PlayStation arrives with its fancy graphics and killer apps, will anyone care about old software from the '80s and '90s?

Ultimately, I think the retro games will be a plus for Nintendo's new system. The broad universe of compelling intellectual property available to Revolution owners represents significant added value. Even though Sony and Microsoft have their own online strategies in place, they won't have the benefit of widely recognized characters like Mario, Zelda, and Sonic the Hedgehog. If Nintendo's sales surge thanks to retro games, third-party software developers like Activision (NASDAQ:ATVI), Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:ERTS), and THQ (NASDAQ:THQI) will have the confidence to back the Revolution 100%.

This next console war will be telling for the former video game leviathan. Nintendo needs to challenge itself to deliver great gaming content that consumers actually want. In my opinion, they're off to the right start.

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Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation, while Activision and Electronic Arts are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. Whatever your investing style, from swashbuckling Rule Breaker to dividend-hungry income investor, the Fool has a newsletter for you.

Fool contributor Steven Mallas holds no financial position in any of the companies mentioned, but he does own a Gamecube and is on his third round of Resident Evil 4. (He can't wait to get the infinite rocket launcher.) The Fool has a disclosure policy.