We're looking forward to the Wii U when it launches in the U.S. on November 18th, and the many games we'll be able to play with the new device. But one major note that a few people may have missed out on involves its accessibility. See, if you bought any Virtual Console or WiiWare games for your original Wii, you'll be able to port those over at no charge, so you can keep on playing the classics and new titles with no problem.
We'll be revisiting our favorite WiiWare games for Wii U play later this week, but for this article, we thought we'd list some of our favorite Virtual Console games, which you can buy now and enjoy on your Wii, then port over to your Wii U for continued entertainment.
And for your convenience, we've divided these picks into systems, so you can hunt down our favorite choices without rooting through everything. Because that's just how nice we are. Here come our picks!
NES (500 points, or $5, each)
Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels – Because nothing beats classic Mario action, right?
Kirby's Adventure- another fun platformer that's still fun after all these years
Punch-Out!! Featuring Mr. Dream- Mike Tyson's a no-show, but this boxing game still has some punch
Ninja Gaiden- a Tecmo classic that continues to show dedication to hardcore players everywhere
Metroid- Samus Aran's debut adventure is still a classic
Super C- Konami's sequel (where's the original?) has run and gun action for up to two players
Blades of Steel- a great hockey game from Konami; no stats, no official teams, just a lot of fun
Mega Man 2- our favorite of the Mega Man games, though 1 through 5 are available for the choosing
Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse- the first two games are available too, but this one is a must-play
SNES (800 points, or $8, each)
The Legend of Zelda: A Link To the Past- one of the best Zelda games ever made, period
Super Mario World- because another Mario classic never gets old
Donkey Kong Country- Rare's gorgeous platformer remains quite the sight today
Super Ghouls n' Ghosts- a title dedicated to players looking for an ultimate challenge – it's tough as hell
Super Metroid- a fine follow-up to the original – and what an ending!
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars- one of the last great 16-bit RPG's from Square Enix
Super Star Wars- the whole trilogy's here, but the original game is the best place to start
Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana- two great Square Enix RPG's that must be played to be believed (plus they're cheap!)
Nintendo 64 (1000 points, or $10, each)
Super Mario 64- the plumber's first foray into 3D is quite memorable…
Mario Kart 64- crazy fun, especially with three other players joining in
Star Fox 64- this space romp is a blast, whether you're alone or with friends
F-Zero X- a 60-frames per second futuristic racing thrill ride that doesn't let up, by any means
Paper Mario- a classic RPG that twists the Mario theme around to a nifty 2D level
Sin and Punishment (1200 points)- a classic import game that packs that genuine Treasure difficulty level
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time- another classic Zelda experience that deserves to be played
Super Smash Bros.- beat-em-up action that still retains its greatness today
Sega Master System (500 points, or $5, each)
Sonic the Hedgehog- a swell deal for $5, especially since it never got a U.S. release
Alex Kidd in Shinobi World- still the best Alex Kidd game to date, plus it has ninjas!
Phantasy Star- a thrilling RPG with 3D elements and hours worth of gameplay; it rocks.
Sega Genesis (800 points, or $8, each)
Ristar- a difficult yet original platformer that'll have you playing till the very end
Gunstar Heroes- Treasure's rompous two-player shooter rocks, even after twenty years
ToeJam & Earl- a hilarious and entertaining romp through the weird side of humanity – jammin'!
Streets of Rage 2- one of the best brawlers ever made, and a good time with a friend in tow
Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master- one of the best Shinobi games out there, with brilliant level design and fun action
Sonic the Hedgehog 3- this could be argued, but this Sonic is definitely one of my favorites…
Eternal Champions- a brutal yet excellent brawler, this one's Overkills are worth the price of admission
Rolling Thunder 2- a fun two player shooter, and a quality sequel to Namco's arcade classic
Earthworm Jim/Earthworm Jim 2- two games that show testament to classic platforming; plus, they're loaded with laughs
TurboGrafx 16-TurboGrafx CD (800 points, or $8, each)
Splatterhouse- a gory yet giddy side-scrolling action game, with carnage and scares galore
Blazing Lasers- a classic "shmup" in every sense of the world, complete with crazy power-ups
Air Zonk- a side-scrolling shooter with all sorts of insane buddies to join you, including a bionic cow and rockets
Devil's Crush- pinball has never been this demonic – or, for that matter, this entertaining
Lords of Thunder- one of the best CD-produced shooters out there, packed with a thunderous soundtrack and challenging bosses
Castlevania: Rondo of Blood (900 points)- also known as Castlevania: Dracula X, this is the original game that never got a US release; definitely worth the cash
Neo-Geo (900 points, or $9, each)
Magician Lord- a fun side-scrolling action game with a magician that can change form and really do some damage
Baseball Stars 2- one of the best baseball games ever made, and even more fun playing against a friend
Metal Slug- the series got its start right here, complete with rolling tank and an arsenal of cool power-ups. Heavy machine gun!
Samurai Shodown- one of the most balanced – and original – fighting games ever made. Bloody, too!
Virtual Console Arcade (800 points, or $8, each)
Space Harrier- Sega's futuristic shooter looks amazing by the 80's arcade standard, thanks to 3D visuals and a variety of enemies
Zaxxon- a classic isometric shooter where you blast enemies in both space and through lunar bases, sending them to kingdom come
Ghosts n' Goblins- Challenging? Yes. Ridiculously fun? Yes. Just make sure you have knives.
Enjoy our picks, and check back for our WiiWare favorites soon!