Virtual Console (Wii U) (1)

The official logo of the Virtual Console.

Virtual Console (JP), sometimes abbreviated as VC, is a video game download service that is currently 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 features titles from past Nintendo consoles (NES, SNES, and N64) and formerly competing systems, the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, TurboGrafx-16, and Neo-Geo, which was released on October 8th, 2007. Nintendo has mentioned MSX compatibility but has yet to announce any games from it. Gamasutra also announced that Commodore 64 titles will be released, but no further announcements have been made.

The Virtual Console service went live on November 18th, with the impending release of the Wii the next day in North America. It has been reported that thirty games will be added to the Wii Shop Channel between the time of the Wii's launch and the end of the calendar year with at least ten games a month being added afterwards.

Wii Points

Wii Points is a payment system that Nintendo will use for gamers to purchase games and other features for its Wii console through the Wii Shop Channel. Consumers can purchase a "Wii Points Card" which they then spend online. It is similar to Microsoft's Microsoft Points for Xbox 360.

The main use of the card is 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 must be redeemed through the Wii Shop Channel. Other uses have yet to be announced.


A 2000 point Wii Points card will 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 can 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 will 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 will 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 will depend on what system the game was originally developed for. Some titles will 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)


  • One major problem is that Nintendo 64 games do not feature vibration. This is strange in that vibration has been standard on Nintendo consoles since 2001, and that N64 games can be played with a GameCube controller. The lack of vibration renders one item in Ocarina of Time useless, as whenever it detected a hidden object, the controller would vibrate.
  • Some players have described the notably different layout of the GameCube controller compared to the N64 controller as "awkward". However, the C-stick on the GC controller is of the same color as the N64 buttons it corresponds to, and the L-button is in a similar location to the N64's Z-button (although the GC controller does have a small, purple Z-button).
  • Various people have complained about playing NES, SNES, etc games using the GameCube Controller as being awkward. However, the Wii Remote acts as a perfect substitute for NES, Master System, and TurboGrafx games while the Classic Controller acts as a perfect substitute for the SNES and Genesis controllers.
  • 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.
  • Many players have complained about the controllers being either "too small" or "uncomfortable". The new Classic Controller PRO is somewhat larger than the original Classic Controller, and adds grips, making it resemble the PlayStation 3 controller. It also has the cord come out at the top, more like the original controllers.

Rights Issues

Certain games were altered due to potential copyright and trademark issues.

  • Batman and Spider-Man were taken out of a Neo Geo game.
  • The Kawasaki ads in Wave Race 64 were replaced with Wii and DS ads, as Nintendo's contract with Kawasaki had expired. This is strange, since they could've simply used period ads such as those for the Game Boy Color or Nintendo 64; they could've also replaced them with the game's logo, or even left them blank.
  • Tecmo Bowl had all of its players' names removed due to Electronic Arts holding exclusive rights to the NFLPA.
  • Punch-Out!! was released in its Mr. Dream form instead of the Mike Tyson version, and omits the mention of NHK.
  • Diddy Kong Racing has yet to be released due to its use of the Rare characters Banjo and Conker. Microsoft holds exclusive rights to Rare games. However, in the remake, Diddy Kong Racing DS, they were replaced with Tiny Kong and Dixie Kong. Also, while various Donkey Kong games were licensed to Rare, they can be released, as Nintendo holds the rights to the Donkey Kong series. Since Nintendo has been releasing DS games to the Wii U, they could simply release the remake.
  • Tetris has been subject to rights issues for many years. The rights disputes with its creators, Elorg, have prevented the original NES game from being re-released. However, another reason for the lack of Tetris is the higher-priced WiiWare release. The original Game Boy version, the most popular of all releases, was released but has since been delisted.
  • Banjo-Kazooie is also a Rare game, and cannot currently be released. It is, however, available on Xbox Live Arcade, albeit altered to account for the change of system.
  • Disney games have yet to be released onto the Virtual Console. However, these games were simply distributed by Disney, and licensed to other third-party companies. For example, Chip 'n' Dale: Rescue Rangers is licensed to Capcom. Modern games based on DuckTales have been released in homage to the original game's popularity. However, these games are entirely different from the original.
  • The Virtual Console had Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (NES) and the Super Star Wars trilogy for awhile, but the rights have long since expired.

Fixed Bugs

  • The release of the NES Legend of Zelda game is the same as the GameCube and Game Boy Advance releases, with the mistranslations corrected.

Other Changes

  • The release of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is a later version (1.2), which replaces a song that had what resembled Islamic chanting. In addition, Ganondorf coughs up green blood instead of red blood. Finally, the "Star and Crescent" symbols found on the Mirror Shield are absent in this version, as the Star and Crescent is an Islamic symbol. The Deku symbol replaces it.
  • 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.
  • Arcade ports on the NES 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. Nintendo did release direct unaltered ports for awhile onto the original Wii as a part of the "Virtual Console Arcade", but that project has been abandoned (there are plans to revive it, however).
  • 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 your photos it to stickers at certain stores. This has been replaced by being able to put pictures on the Wii Message Board.

Control Options

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.

Method 1: 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.


Classic Controller

Method 2: 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.

Method 3: 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.

Method 4: The Shaft:

Overline Gaming has released a special controller using an arcade joystick, designed primarily for arcade ports.

Method 5: 3-in-1 Adapter:

Innex is planning to release an Adapter for the Wii that will provide backward compatibility with all old Nintendo controllers.

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