Follow TV Tropes


Useful Notes / Virtual Console

Go To
While Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation 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 manufacturer there ever was besides Atari, Sony, Microsoft, and some assorted 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 Virtual Console brand was effectively retired on the Nintendo Switch onwards, with mini-consoles such as the NES Classic and SNES Classic, the "Nintendo Classics" service that is part of the Switch's paid online service, and unbranded emulated releases on the Switch such as Nintendo's "Arcade Archives" line and Capcom's Mega Man and Street Fighter compilation rereleases ultimately replacing it. However, the Wii U Virtual Console is still fully accessible, while users could still re-download games from the Wii's Virtual Console until 2019. As of January 30th, 2019, the Wii's Virtual Console has ceased to operate, taking any games that weren't available on the other Virtual Consoles with it.


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 backwards 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. Prior to launch, 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 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. This does create problems when trying to transfer the data to a larger-capacity SD card, however.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: The Wii U Virtual Console is notorious for the input lag that its games suffer from, especially with N64 games; while not all-that noticeable to a newcomer, people who've played the games on their original systems note that this split-second delay tends to mess up their performance every so often, particularly during moments that require good precision. This video provides a good example of the issue, comparing the Virtual Console port of Super Mario 64 to the N64 original. Given how the issue is present on the Wii U Virtual Console but not on the 3DS or Wii one, people have theorized that the issue stems from the Wii U using a wireless controller and streaming video output to two screens at once.
  • Digital Destruction: Virtual Console games tend to be unusually dark, and Wii U re-releases of NES games also seem noticeably blurry due to the permanent anti-aliasing effect. Additionally, the audio sounds somewhat muffled compared to both the original versions and third party emulations. Supposedly, all of this is to mimic the effect of playing the games on a CRT monitor, but it just ends up looking and sounding muted. All of these problems are remedied on the NES Classic Edition, however, complete with a more authentic "CRT mode"
  • Easter Egg
    • Any Game Boy or Game Boy Color game on the 3DS has a hidden letterbox. Hold down Start and/or Select while starting the game from the home menu, and the game will be shrunk down to its original resolution, with a border that resembles the game's original console to fill up the empty space. The game screen "sinks" into the border when the 3D slider is turned up. The battery light even dims when the battery reaches 25%.
    • 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 and SNES games on 3DS that use the second controller use this combination to switch between the two controller inputs, with SNES games using the extra ZL and ZR buttons on the New 3DS rather than L and R.
  • Late Export for You: Often, a game that didn't initially release in a nation will come late through this service.
  • Mythology Gag:
  • Old Save Bonus
    • If the user has a Virtual Console game on the Wii U's Wii Mode that's available on the Wii U library, the player will get a discount for it.
    • Knuckles in Sonic 2, Sonic 3 & Knuckles, and Blue Sphere can all be accessed like the original games by pressing the minus/select button at any time and then choosing which game to lock-on.
  • 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.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: