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Virtual Console impressions

December 2, 2006
by

It took some time for me to access the Wii Shop Channel’s Virtual Console, but my stolen wifi came through this week. Today, some impressions.

It’s pretty bare. The Shop Channel, once online, greets you with a row of 6 VC games, a greeting, and a message saying “Important info: The Wii Shop Channel is Now open!” You’d think it’d say this on the main channel menu rather than on the Shop Channel, but let’s move on. The music is very nice.

Clicking on the bulbous Start Shopping button takes you to the shop menu, where you either go straight into the VC, check out Wii Ware (whenever Nintendo feels like putting some on there), add Wii Points to your system, manage your My Nintendo account, configure settings, or read the shopping guide. If you’re following along on your Wii, let’s now click on Virtual Console, shall we?

On the VC screen, you see a somewhat cluttered layout with browing options: games by system (with a way too long paragraph underneath), all games alphabetically, or newest additions. You can also check out what you’ve bought before and on almost every screen you can see your available Wii points. Newest additions has all the currently buyable games, since it just launched and all. On the Per System screen, the 3 Nintendos grace the top row in chronological order, with Genesis and TurboGrafx spaced out on the bottom row like they don’t wanna talk to each other.

NES has the largest amount of games with a 7 total. Not too stellar, with 5 arcade games, Zelda, and Wario’s Woods (puzzler). 5 bucks a pop for these. The SNES section houses the first Sim City and makes up for that with F-Zero, each at $8. Not sure i agree with pricing them equally. You’ll have to pick between those 2 for now, nothing else is available for Mr Super Fami. N64 has the launch title for the ages, Super Mario 64, and nothing more. 10 bucks to relive ’96. The black beauty of blast processing has the best mix of overall quality, with its 4 titles consisting of Sonic the Hedgehog, Golden Axe, Ecco the Dolphin(!) and Altered Beast. 8 bucks apiece for those true classics. Heading into the back room of the VC, we see the TurboGrafx. Would-be mascot Bonk keeps Super Star Soldier company, while steering clear of the only TG title worth the $6, the 5-player Bomberman ’93.

Clicking on each game opens up an info screen which shows usable controllers for the game, original release date, price, player count, and a More Details button. More Details opens up a short bio with 2 screens and very bad, back-of-the-box salesman yapping (“Up to 5 players can play in the Battle Game, and all the new tricks and devices are sure to guarantee a heated battle!” – Bomberman ’93). And yea…i think that’s it. When you buy a game, a screen pops up showing your Wii Points, the game’s cost, your total after the fact, and how much blocks it’ll take up on your system. And i assume it then shows up as a channel on your Wii menu.

It’s clean, to the point, and easy to navigate. Gripes: it’s empty, prices are stupid, and Nintendo is taking way too long in releasing new games for it. I don’t have Wii Points nor an interest in paying ridiculous amounts of money for games i don’t want (you can buy points on the Shop Channel with a credit card, btw), but i’m just itching for a reason to buy that Classic controller. Ecco was a Genesis masterpiece in the 90s, but it’s not worth 8 dollars today when i can find a physical copy for cheaper.

Overall the VC is a great idea that was hastily copied down to paper. Once it’s worked out and worth some cash, i may drop some down on it. That day is far in the future.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 3, 2006 2:31 pm

    I did find SuperMario 64, my favorite N64 game, worth dropping 10 points on it. The graphics are exactly the same, but the Wii does make them clearer, brighter, and sharper. I got it also because, personally, I’d like to see this gem through progressive scan video (once my component video cable comes in the mail, which I’m happy to report Nintendo just re-stock them in their online store).

    The only other game I was interested in was Bomberman, but only because I’ve never played it and I assume a game that spawned so many sequels must be worth it, plus I’m intrigued by the 5-player game, if I ever get five people (and four Wii remotes) together in the room. If I get some Wii points for Christmas, I might get Ecco also.

    Overall, I do see Nintendo’s logic in their strategy of releasing just a handful of games at a time: Most people will be satisfied with three or four titles from the whole collection, and having them released a little at a time makes impulse buying more attractive.

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