While the NES Classic Edition and classic download gaming services have given us some classic Contra love in the form of Super C, one thing that's been bothering a few gamers is why the original Contra never got a release.
After all, the first Contra is where a lot of fans got introduced to the series, and has become one of the staples from the NES era, mainly due to its classic "Up Up Down Down" code, as well as its signature two-player action.
Well, we may finally have an answer, though it sounds like it came down to something really stupid. According to this thread on Resetera, a user by the name of ReyVGM spoke with a former Konami employee (under anonymity, of course – that company has become ruthless with legal action over the past few years) about why the game wasn't included.
It turns out that Contra, along with various Genesis classics like Rocket Knight Adventures and Castlevania Bloodlines, never got a digital re-release of any kind on the Wii or Wii U because of a clerical error. You read that right.
Here's the story straight from the user:
"He told me that before the Wii's VC went live, Nintendo sent certain 3rd party publishers a list with all their previous games, and asked which of those games they wanted to have reissued on the VC.
The reason why Contra was never added to the VC? A clerical error: someone forgot to checkmark the game on the list before sending it back.
Years later, a person in Konami's digital department wanted to correct this error and resubmit the list to include Contra, and the Genesis titles, but before that could happen, that person was no longer in a position to go forward with it."
And they also go on to state that "the reason why Contra is not in the NES Classic is because Nintendo just worked with the games that had been approved way back in 2006, and asking again (specially in the state Konami is in) would probably present bureaucratic hurdles."
So there you have it. Because someone messed up in an office long ago – and is in no place to try and correct the error – we won't be able to play Contra and other games anywhere but on a classic gaming system. It stinks, to be fair, but at least we have the classics to turn to.
Konami hasn't said a word about this, and likely won't, so take it with a grain of salt. But it does sound like it checks out, even though it comes down to something as simple as a poor office decision.