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Virtual Console

From Sega Retro

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Virtual Console
System(s): Wii, Nintendo 3DS, Wii U
Publisher:
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Virtual Console is the name for the emulation service initially provided to Wii users, and later to Nintendo 3DS and Wii U users. It allows players to purchase and download games by browsing a specialized section of the Wii Shop Channel and later Nintendo's eShop. This requires the user to connect to the internet, and to also purchase Wii/Nintendo Points beforehand to make the purchase.

While most Virtual Console games are unchanged from their original release, some games, such as The Revenge of Shinobi, have had minor changes to them, while other games, like Dyna Brothers 2, are quite different (in this case, Dyna Brothers 2 Special, which was the Sega Channel version). Another unique case is Monster World IV, which was fully translated into English for the overseas release.

Overview

Wii

Games downloaded are stored on the Wii's 512MB flash memory built into the system. From there games can be transferred to an SD card, but could not be played directly from the SD card until an update allowed the Wii to utilise the flash memory to play games saved on an SD card. Games on the SD card can be transferred back to the Wii it came from, but not to another system.

Games available come from a variety of systems including: Nintendo's Nintendo Entertainment System, Super NES and Nintendo 64, Sega's Master System and Mega Drive/Genesis, NEC's TurboGrafx-16 and TurboGrafx-CD, SNK's Neo Geo AES, and various Arcade systems. It also supports region specific consoles such as Commodore 64 (Europe and North America only) and MSX (Japan only). Some publishers may choose to release region-specific games internationally in the special Import category (for example, the standalone Puyo Puyo Tsuu was released overseas this way).

NES and Sega Master System games can play properly with the Wii Remote, but games for other consoles will likely require either a GameCube controller, or the Classic Controller, which is sold separately.

Despite continuous strong sales of the Wii, additions to the Virtual Console service have slowed down considerably since the service was introduced in 2006, partly due to the launch of WiiWare. In South Korea, no Sega games were released for the service.

On September 29, 2017[1] it was announced that the Wii's Wii Shop Channel (Where the Wii's Virtual Console is housed) would be shutting down on January 31, 2019 at 3PM JST/5PM AEDT/1AM EDT/6AM GMT/January 30, 2019 at 10PM PST. The ability to buy Wii Points to purchase games was stopped on March 27, 2018 at 5AM JST/7AM AEDT/March 26, 2018 at 1PM PDT/4PM EDT/9PM BST. In the interim between not being able to buy points and it's closure, you were still able to download items you had previously purchased.

Nintendo 3DS

The Virtual Console was also brought to the Nintendo 3DS, with games available primarily coming from handheld systems including Nintendo's Game Boy and Game Boy Color, and Sega's Game Gear. The 3DS also received games normally available on home consoles, such as the NES, Super NES (available only on New Nintendo 3DS systems) and the TurboGrafx-16 (Japan only). A select number of Game Boy Advance games were made available as exclusives for the Nintendo 3DS Ambassador Programme.[2]

Games downloaded are stored on the SD card inserted into the system and loaded from the HOME menu. They can only be played on the system they were originally purchased on.

Game Gear games use an emulator developed by M2, which includes various features such as the ability to create in-game savestates and options to adjust the screen size, change the border colour and simulate the motion blur effect on the Game Gear's LCD screen. The emulator also supports emulation of the Gear-to-Gear Cable, allowing multiplayer games providing both players have purchased the game; thus they hold the distinction of being able to support their original multiplayer functions alongside the Pokémon titles. A total of 22 Game Gear games were released in Japan, and 16 were released in North American and European territories; no Game Gear games were released for the service in South Korea.

Wii U

The Wii U's Virtual Console service features games originally released on Nintendo's Nintendo Entertainment System, Super NES, Nintendo 64, Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS, NEC's TurboGrafx-16, and the MSX (Japan only). No games from Sega systems were released for the service, though a handful of Sega games released on the Game Boy Advance saw a release, but only in Japan. However, Virtual Console games released for the Wii are compatible with the Wii U and can be played in the system's Wii Mode, including Sega games.

Games downloaded are either stored on the system's 8/32GB internal flash memory, or on an external hard disk drive connected to the system.

Sega Games on the Virtual Console

Wii

Arcade

Japan

(As of 21 June 2011)

North America

(As of 5 May 2012)

Europe/Australia

(As of 5 May 2012)

Mega Drive

Japan

(As of 15 November 2011)

North America

(As of 5 May 2012)

Europe/Australia

(As of 5 May 2012)

Master System

Japan

(As of 19 May 2009)

North America

(As of 1 February 2010)

Europe/Australia

(As of 11 December 2009)

Nintendo 3DS

Arcade

Japan

Game Gear

Japan
North America
Europe/Australia

Wii U

Game Boy Advance

Japan

Promotional material

References