The Virtual Console is one of the many special features of the Wii, the Nintendo 3DS, and the Wii U. The Virtual Console allows gamers to download games that have been uploaded by their respective companies. Most of its games come from Nintendo's own NES, SNES Nintendo 64 (Wii and Wii U), Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS (Wii U), Game Boy, and Game Boy Color (3DS). Nintendo did not upload Nintendo GameCube games to the Wii Virtual Console due to the fact that GameCube ISOs use 1.35 GB on the hard drive (the internal memory on the Wii is only 512 MB), and the Wii is backwards-compatible with all GameCube discs and most accessories, and to the Wii U Virtual Console for unknown reasons. Sega has provided the Wii and 3DS Virtual Console with Sega Genesis/Mega Drive, Sega Master System, and Sega Game Gear games.
Wii Virtual Console games are bought with Wii Points via the Wii Shop Channel. Wii Points Cards, which are sold at most game retailers, each come with 2,000 redeemable Points on them. However, in Japan, cards are worth either 1,000, 3,000, or 5,000 Wii Points. Wii Points can also be purchased directly through the Wii Shop Channel with a credit card in blocks of either 1,000, 2,000, 3,000, or 5,000 Points.
Nintendo 3DS and Wii U Virtual Console games are bought with eShop credits via the Nintendo eShop. Nintendo eShop cards are sold at most retailers with the following values; $10*, $20, $35, and $50. In Australia and New Zealand, there are $15, $30 and $60 cards.
*Note: $10 eShop cards are only available at Wal-Mart, GameStop, Best Buy, and Target in the United States only.
While this pricing is true for most games, a few select games have been priced differently. Imported games such as Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars and Mario's Super Picross in Europe and Australia and Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels outside Japan cost 100 Wii Points more than usual.
In the United States, retailers currently only sell 2,000 points cards for $20 apiece, at a price of one cent per point.
Similarly, in Australia, retailers only sell 1,000 points cards for $20 apiece.
*Note: Games released on the Virtual Console Arcade are automatically set to 500 points. However, most Virtual Console Arcade games are priced higher than 500 points.
*Note: Discounted price if originally purchased on the Wii Shop Channel via Wii Mode.
Various controllers are needed used to play Virtual Console games.
List of Mario games for the Virtual Console
Note: The Donkey Kong Country series has been delisted, (except in South Korea) likely due to Microsoft's desire to renegotiate licensing agreements with Nintendo before rereleasing it. Yoshi's Cookie for the NES has been delisted as well (except in South Korea but can't be bought).
Games on the Virtual Console of the 3DS do not have 3D capabilities, except for 3D Classics. They are sold via Nintendo eShop.
The following Mario games have been released on the Virtual Console of the 3DS:
a. Available for free to participants who purchase Mario Golf: World Tour from the Nintendo eShop from May 2, 2014 to May 29, 2014.
Nintendo 3DS Ambassador Program
All of these games are available as free downloads for consumers who purchased a Nintendo 3DS prior to the August 12, 2011 price drop. The NES titles were first available in Japan on August 31, 2011 for these ambassadors, and available worldwide on September 1, 2011. The Game Boy Advance games were released in Australia on December 15, 2011, and worldwide on December 16, 2011. The Legend of Zelda became available in the Japanese eShop on December 22nd, 2011, making it the first Ambassador game released to the public. Currently, all NES titles offered by the Ambassador Program are available worldwide on the eShop. Nintendo has announced that GBA games will remain exclusive to 3DS ambassadors. GBA games have been released on the Wii U instead, and there are currently no plans for 3DS VC releases.
Mario NES games
Mario Game Boy Advance games
Games on the Virtual Console of the Wii U can be played on the Wii U Gamepad controller. As with the Nintendo 3DS, they are also sold via Nintendo eShop.
a. Available for free to participants who purchase Yoshi's Woolly World from the Nintendo eShop from June 25, 2015 (Australia)/June 26, 2015 (Europe) to July 23, 2015.
Although Nintendo has claimed they will keep all Virtual Console releases true to the originals, they have made changes to various games:
Name in other languages