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Virtual Console
While Xbox LIVE Arcade and Play Station Network decided to focus mainly on new video games, Nintendo originally decided that they should put their 20-year game backlog to good use, and got former rivals Hudson, SNK, Commodore, and even former Arch-Enemy Sega on board for it.

Essentially, the Virtual Console was console game emulation made legal and had the backing from every major console post-GameCube manufacturer there ever was besides Atari, Sony, Microsoft, and some other failed consoles that Nintendo doesn't want to bother with. It was successful enough that it led to WiiWare once Nintendo decided to offer original downloadable software for the Wii.

One really cool benefit was the arrival of games not available in other regions, such as Sin and Punishment and Pulseman, the former of which got a sequel because it sold so well on this service, in all the regions.

The games on the service for the Wii came from these systems:

The games on the service for the Nintendo 3DS came from these systems:

The Wii U is backward compatible with Wii Virtual Console titles via operating in Wii mode. It also has its own Virtual Console which supports Off TV Play and posting on Miiverse. Nintendo released a handful of NES and SNES games at a reduced price as part of a trial campaign over the course of six months and announced that owners of Wii VC titles would be able to upgrade to the Wii U version for a small price.

The games on the service for the Wii U came (and will come) from these systems:

The Virtual Console service shows examples of...

  • Copy Protection: The Wii, as well as the Wii U's Wii mode, will deny any games on an SD Card that weren't installed on the system's own Wii Shop Channel.
  • Easter Egg: Any non-NES game on the 3DS has a hidden letterbox. Hold down Start or Select while starting the game from the home menu, and a border that resembles the game's original console will appear.
    • The Game Boy library has a feature to switch from the black and white palette to the pea-green palette on the original Game Boy. To do this hold L and R and then press Y. NES games that use the second controller uses this combination to switch between the two controller inputs.
  • Old Save Bonus: If the user has a Virtual Console game on the Wii U's Wii Mode that's avalible on the Wii U library, the player will get a discount for it.
  • Updated Re-release: A well-known feature of virtual console games is that some of them have modifications to do something as simple as fixing a bug, or adding a completely new feature.
    • Pokémon Snap can send photos to the Wii Message Board from the gallery by pressing select. For whatever reason, it can only be done once per day. This is to simulate the Snap stations that were avaliable during the game's release.
    • Tecmo Bowl replaces all the names of the characters with just thier numbers, due to copyright.
    • Wave Race 64 replaces all the Product Placement with Wii and Nintendo DS advertisements, even though they didn't exist when the game was released.
    • The Revenge Of Shinobi replaced Spider-Man with a pink Palette Swap. He still retains his Spider Man-related boss patterns though...
    • Every virtual console game that has flashing lights at some point has the lights slowed down. This is to prevent seizures.
    • Kid Icarus and it's 3D Classic release had it's password system removed in favor of the save system from the Famicom version. Oddly, Metroid retains it's password system.
    • Mario Golf removes the password system for the now-discontued tournaments.

SteamVideo Game SystemsWiiWare
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