With talk of the next Nintendo console becoming more prevalent across the Internet, it's easy to overlook the original Wii. Now is as good a time as any to reap the benefits from the Wii Shop before it loses content, or eventually (and inevitably) has the plug pulled entirely.
Here's five reasons why you should stock up on old games on an old console (bear with me!):
As long as you're still using a Wii, you can still use Gamecube controllers. For those nostalgic nights on the N64, this is infinitely more enjoyable than breaking out the original controllers with those loose analog sticks and pre-millennial, powdered sweat.
The Wii Shop continues to operate a points system. A useful (if uncommon) trick is to scour eBay for Wii Points cards, as there have been times in the past where I’ve picked up 3000 points for about £12. As most folk have moved with the times and consigned their Wiis to the loft/Gumtree/least favourite child’s bedroom, the Points cards are scarce nowadays but worth setting up a 'saved search' for.
100 points translates to $1 or 1 Euro, meaning that 1000 points is $10. Therefore, the N64 titles work out at about £7 when paid through a credit card, two pounds cheaper than the Wii-U equivalent. This is arguably the cheapest way to play games like Mario Party 2, Paper Mario or Kirby 64 on Nintendo hardware. The best example of this approach is Chrono Trigger, the classic SNES RPG where your only alternatives are:
- Import a SNES,
- Wait for it to arrive on the Wii-U eshop (if it ever does)
- Cough up £30 for the DS version
Considering it’s 900 points (about £6.20) and remains one of the best games ever made, this is a no-brainer.
Neo Geo and SEGA games
Commodore games are no longer available, and the Master System will appease only the most ardent retro gamer. Some will argue that most of the great Mega Drive games are available on the brilliant “Mega Drive Ultimate Collection” on PS3 and Xbox 360, for a fraction of the price it would cost you to buy the original cartridges, or the individual ROMs on the Wii Shop. Those people are right, but there is still no better selection of some of the best work from SNK or SEGA - 54 Neo Geo games and 74 Mega Drive games. Of course, you could emulate these for as little as the price of guilt, and not have to lose your money when the Wii packs up. There are some Neo Geo games available elsewhere (such as the Xbox Live Arcade) but not 54 of them! That’s more than the Neo Geo X offers, a console dedicated to emulating Neo Geo hardware.
SNES/N64 games that aren’t on the Wii-U eshop
If you’re the impatient type, it should be known that there are Nintendo games available on the Wii Shop that aren’t on the Wii-U eshop. Games that are bloody hard to find without paying through the nose for the original cartridges. Admittedly, there are fantastic games on the Wii-U eshop (*cough* Advance Wars) that aren’t on the Wii Shop, but most of us aren’t lunatics that play GBA/DS games on a HD telly.
Given the lack of Neo Geo, Sega Mega Drive and ability to play Gamecube games, the Wii and it’s Virtual Console remains the go-to place for retro gaming in a legal capacity. The Wii-U has counteracted this with early DS games and a haphazard use of dual screens, an admittedly strong selection of GBA games minus the multiplayer, and a largely pointless Wii library with cramp-inducing use of the GamePad.