IGN is reporting today that The Legend of Zelda: Minish Cap, originally released for the Game Boy Advance is headed to the Wii U's virtual console. While it was re-released as part of the 3DS' "Ambassador Program," it has not been otherwise made available to the general public since its original release. This is a special game for me because it was the first Zelda game that I played to completion, and it really hooked me on the franchise.

Minish Cap is a 2D, top-down Zelda with a gorgeous 16-bit art style reminiscent of the Super Nintendo (like many GBA titles), and it packs a TON of personality. I mean, just look at Link's hat--awesome. I actually remember playing this game on my original Nintendo DS (the fairly ugly "phat" model) using the GBA cartridge port while I was in college at Indiana University. It was a game that captivated me during a time when I really wasn't playing a lot of home console games--the handheld DS saw far more action than my PlayStation 2 since my time was a bit more limited.

I had tried other Zelda titles before this one: A Link to the Past was a rental;  Ocarina of Time was a purchase, but I never made it past the first dungeon until I replayed it fully on the 3DS years later; and I completely skipped Wind Waker, although I now have the HD remake on Wii U. But something about this utterly charming game finally broke through to me, and I recognized the amazing qualities of this franchise: great puzzles, a sense of adventure more innocent than the Final Fantasy series (a favorite of mine during the SNES & PSX eras), and a great sense of humor. Other Zelda games would start to click for me after this, and I'm now a bonafide fan--but I really owe it all to the small but incredibly impactful Minish Cap.

If you've never played this game and have a Wii U, don't hesitate to download it when it comes out (there's not a release date yet). It's a really special experience that you won't regret.

Here's the original trailer for the game. It's in Japanese, but I think you'll get the gist of it.