The official logo of the Virtual Console.

Virtual Console(JP), sometimes abbreviated to VC, is a video game download service that was offered by Nintendo for its Wii gaming console.

Described by Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata as "the video game version of Apple's iTunes Store", the service featured titles from past Nintendo consoles (NES, SNES, and Nintendo 64) and non-Nintendo platforms (Mega Drive/Sega Genesis, PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16, Sega Master System, Neo-Geo, Arcade, MSX, Commodore 64).

The Virtual Console service went live on November 18, with the impending release of the Wii the next day in North America.

Wii Points

Wii Points was a payment system that Nintendo used for consumers to purchase games and other features for its Wii console through the Wii Shop Channel. Consumers could purchase a "Wii Points Card" which they would then spend online.

The main use of the card was to buy virtual console games. However, consumers were also able to use their Wii Points card to purchase the Opera Wii Browser, although the software was downloadable for free until June 2007, and became free permanently in September 2009. All Wii Points had to be redeemed through the Wii Shop Channel.


A 2000 point Wii Points card would be initially available in the United States of America for around US$20 or for €20 in Europe and £14.99 in the UK. Wii Points could be bought in this way from retailers or purchased online directly from Nintendo. When converting from Wii Points to American dollars, 100 Wii Points equals one dollar. Reggie Fils-Aime has stated that 2000 Wii Points will cost about $24.99 Canadian. Pricing was also given for Wii points in Japan, with 1,000 points being exactly equivalent to ¥1,000 ($8.46). Prepaid cards in Japan would be made available in multiples of 1,000, 3,000 and 5,000 points, with the 5,000 point card coming bundled with a classic controller. In all other regions, there would only be 2000 point cards.

Exchange rate US$ United States (USD) C$ Canada (CAD) ¥

Japan (JPY)

A$ Australia (AUD) € Eurozone (EUR) £

United Kingdom (GBP)

Mex$ Mexico (MXN) CLP$ Chile (CLP)
100 Wii Points US$1.00 C$1.20 ¥100 A$1.50 €1.00 £0.75 Mex$10 CLP$1000
USD Equivalent US$1.00 ~US$1.05 ~US$0.85 ~US$1.15 ~US$1.28 ~US$1.49 ~US$0.90 ~US$1.91
EUR Equivalent ~€0.74 ~€0.83 ~€0.63 ~€0.92 ~€1.00 ~€1.11 ~€0.66 ~€1.42

The starting prices of the Virtual Console games depended on what system the game was originally developed for. Some titles had cost more than these minimum set prices.[1]

  • NES Games = 500 Wii Points/600 Wii Points (Import)
  • SNES Games = 800 Wii Points (900 & 1,000 Wii Points in Japan on select games)900 Wii Points (IMPORT)
  • N64 Games = 1,000/1,200 Wii Points (the latter is for games released only in Japan that were later released elsewhere)
  • Sega Genesis Games = 800 Wii Points (600 Wii Points in Japan)
  • TurboGrafx-16/CD Games = 600/800 Wii Points 700/900 Wii Points (IMPORT)
  • Neo-Geo = 900 Wii Points/1000 Wii Points (IMPORT)


  • The lack of vibration in Nintendo 64 games on the Wii Virtual Console renders one item in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time useless, as whenever it detected a hidden object, the controller would vibrate.
  • Mario Kart 64 required a memory pak to save ghost data on Time Trials, which is unsupported on the VC.
  • Various games using codes had many either removed or reprogrammed.
  • Batman and Spider-Man were removed from a Neo-Geo game.
  • The Kawasaki ads in Wave Race 64 were replaced with Wii and DS ads.
  • Tecmo Bowl had all of its players' names removed.
  • Punch-Out!! was released in its Mr. Dream form instead of the Mike Tyson version, and omits the mention of NHK.
  • The Virtual Console version of The Legend of Zelda is the same as the GameCube and Game Boy Advance releases, with the mistranslations corrected.
  • The release of Wrecking Crew includes the ability to save custom stages, previously only available on the Famicom release.
  • StarTropics was originally packaged with a letter that, when dipped in water, revealed a secret message. For the Virtual Console release, the letter is dipped in-game.
  • The original release of The Legend of Zelda came packaged with a map of Hyrule. The Virtual Console version does not include this, and the player must refer to either the original map or an online image.
  • NES ports of arcade games on the Wii Virtual Console did not save high scores. On the Virtual Console, putting the game in suspend mode will preserve high scores. If the Wii is turned off while the game is being played, however, the high score will be erased.
  • Some animations in several games (like Flame Wall in Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars) have been altered to prevent seizures.
  • In Pokémon Snap, it was possible to transfer photos to stickers at certain stores. This has been replaced by being able to put pictures on the Wii Message Board.

Control Options

Classic Controller

Classic titles downloaded via the Virtual Console service can be controlled through three different methods. Some games support all three options, while others only support one or two.

  1. The Wii Remote: The Wii Remote is designed like an NES controller, and also works well for Sega Master System and TurboGrafx-16 games. To play VC games, the Remote must be turned sideways. Because the games from the 16-bit generation onward require more buttons, the Remote is incompatible with them.
  2. The Classic Controller: The Classic Controller is the universal controller for Virtual Console games, but can also play some Wii games. While it can play any VC game, its design mostly resembles the controller for the Super Nintendo. It also works well for Sega Genesis games.
  3. The Nintendo GameCube Controller: The GameCube Controller is compatible with all Virtual Console games, much like the Classic Controller. Its layout, however, is more similar to the controller for the Nintendo 64. The Classic Controller Pro acts as a potential alternative.

Related Pages


External Links