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Storage

Virtual Console games are saved either on the Wii U's flash storage (8GB or 32GB) or can be saved on a USB flash drive or external hard drive.

Game saves and save data

The save feature for the Wii U Virtual console service is similar to the Wii's. However, unlike the Wii's, the games can save a single "restore point" that can be used as much as the player wants to, but is replaced and overwritten if the player makes another one. Game saves from Wii Virtual Console games cannot be transferred to the Wii U versions.

Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Switch does not use the "Virtual Console" label for the digital distribution of its older games from past platforms. However, they are instead releasing Nintendo Entertainment System and Super Nintendo Entertainment System titles to subscribers of the Nintendo Switch Online service, while others are made available via the Switch's eShop.[67] Classic titles originally released on non-Nintendo hardware, such as the Neo Geo and Sega platforms, are releasing via the Switch's eShop under the Arcade Archives and Sega Ages banners, respectively.

Third-party support

Unnamed Nintendo employees have reportedly speculated that licensing issues will be a predominant factor in determining whether a game is available for Virtual Console,[68] giving the examples of GoldenEye 007 and Tetris as games that might be too expensive to license for the Virtual Console. Tecmo has announced its plans to "aggressively" support Virtual Console by re-releasing classic games. Though Tecmo did not specify which titles it intended to release, the company is responsible for many retro classics, such as Ninja Gaiden, Rygar, and Tecmo Bowl.[69] Tecmo was the first third-party game developer to release a game on the Virtual Console (Solomon's Key for the NES). Since then, Capcom and Konami, among others, have also released titles. In 2015, Sega released Sonic Advance, the first Sonic title for the Wii U Virtual Console, but so far, only in Japan. It is unknown if the game will be released in North America and Europe.

Matt Casamassina of IGN reported that Rare titles absent of Nintendo-owned characters, such as Banjo-Kazooie and Perfect Dark, would be unavailable for purchase due to Microsoft's acquisition of Rare;[70] some of these titles have since been released for Xbox Live Arcade, as well as on the Xbox One through the Rare Replay compilation. SNK has announced intentions to release the Samurai Shodown series and a few other games to the Virtual Console which has brought the Neo Geo AES to the list of consoles available.[71] Midway had also planned to bring the classic Mortal Kombat games to the Virtual Console,[72] but later sold the franchise to Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment when it filed for bankruptcy in 2009. Warner Bros. has not stated whether it will release the Mortal Kombat games to the Virtual Console. However, it was stated by Ed Boon (co-creator of Mortal Kombat) on his Twitter account that the SNES Mortal Kombat games have "0.0" chance of happening.[citation needed]

Differences from original games

Nintendo has stated that the Virtual Console releases will be faithful to the original games, eliminating the possibility of graphical enhancements, customizable controls, or added online multiplayer features.[73] However, for various reasons, the gameplay experience is not always identical to the original.

Peripherals

Some Nintendo 64 games offered optional features that required peripheral hardware, such as the Rumble Pak for force feedback and the Controller Pak for additional data storage. Because these peripherals are not emulated or simulated in the Wii Virtual Console, the games played on the Virtual Console as they would on the Nintendo 64 without the peripherals attached.[73] In particular, Mario Kart 64 cannot save "Ghost Data" since no Controller Pak is available,[74] Cruis'n USA still allows saving game data but data cannot be copied to a Controller Pak. Wave Race 64 still has the ability to save progress but like Cruis'n USA the copy ability that allowed data to be copied to the Controller Pak cannot be used. Similarly, both games Mario Golf and Mario Tennis cannot use a Transfer Pak to copy data to or from a real Game Boy Color or the 3DS Virtual Console running the respective companion game.

Three Famicom games—Excitebike, Mach Rider and Wrecking Crew—included the ability to save player-designed levels via the Famicom Data Recorder. Since this peripheral was never released outside Japan, the NES versions of these games did not support this save feature. Despite this, all three games have had the feature implemented in their Virtual Console releases for Wii and Wii U, allowing players to save course data to the system's memory or an SD card;[75] however, these features are not present in the Virtual Console releases of Mach Rider and Wrecking Crew for Nintendo 3DS, although the 3D Classics release 3D Excitebike does retain this feature as it is not a Virtual Console release.

The N64 game Pokémon Snap allowed players to take their Game Paks to special in-store kiosks to print stickers of their in-game photos; the Virtual Console version emulates this by letting players send a photo to the Wii Message Board once per day but this was removed from the Wii U version. Also, the Virtual Console versions of The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX (Game Boy Color) and Super Mario Bros. Deluxe (Game Boy Color) on the Nintendo 3DS cannot print photos from either game, since this required the Game Boy Printer peripheral to be attached throughout both games and any features that required use of the Game Boy Color Infared port can't be used since the 3DS uses different infared technology from the Game Boy Color.

Controllers

Some reviewers have reported that games play differently due to the different controllers. For example, Super Mario World is often cited as being more difficult to play due to the GameCube controller's button mapping. The Classic Controller has a button layout more like that of the Super NES controller, and an adapter has been released that enables a player to plug an actual Super NES controller into one of the Wii's GameCube controller ports.[76] Similarly, most N64 Virtual Console games have mapped the Z button to the L, ZL and ZR buttons and the C-buttons to the right analog stick on the Classic Controller, which some reviewers have described as awkward.[77] Furthermore, the mapping of the left analog stick for N64 Virtual Console games does not use the full range of the stick, and instead uses a range of approximately 67%, likely due to the differences in design of the N64 controller's control stick and the GameCube style analog stick. This has been noted to provide a significantly different sensitivity when compared to the original N64 mapping.

Virtual Console releas

Virtual Console games are saved either on the Wii U's flash storage (8GB or 32GB) or can be saved on a USB flash drive or external hard drive.

Game saves and save data

The save feature for the Wii U Virtual console service is similar to the Wii's. However, unlike the Wii's, the games can save a single "restore point" that can be used as much as the player wants to, but is replaced and overwritten if the player makes another one. Game saves from Wii Virtual Console games cannot be transferred to the Wii U versions.

Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Switch does not use the "Virtual Console" label for the digital distribution of its older games from past platforms. However, they are instead releasing Nintendo Entertainment System and Super Nintendo Entertainment System titles to subscribers of the Nintendo Switch Online service, while others are made available via the Switch's eShop.[67] Classic titles originally released on non-Nintendo hardware, such as the Neo Geo and Sega platforms, are releasing via the Switch's eShop under the Arcade Archives and Sega Ages banners, respectively.

Third-party support

Unnamed Nintendo employees have reportedly speculated that licensing issues will be a predominant factor in determining whether a game is available for Virtual Console,[68] giving the examples of GoldenEye 007 and Tetris as games that might be too expensive to license for the Virtual Console. Tecmo has announced its plans to "aggressively" support Virtual Console by re-releasing classic games. Though Tecmo did not specify which titles it intended to release, the

The save feature for the Wii U Virtual console service is similar to the Wii's. However, unlike the Wii's, the games can save a single "restore point" that can be used as much as the player wants to, but is replaced and overwritten if the player makes another one. Game saves from Wii Virtual Console games cannot be transferred to the Wii U versions.

Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch does not use the "Virtual Console" label for the digital distribution of its older games from past platforms. However, they are instead releasing Nintendo Entertainment System and Super Nintendo Entertainment System titles to subscribers of the Nintendo Switch Online service, while others are made available via the Switch's eShop.[67] Classic titles originally released on non-Nintendo hardware, such as the Neo Geo and Sega platforms, are releasing via the Switch's eShop under the Arcade Archives and Sega Ages banners, respectively.

Third-party support

Unnamed Nintendo employees have reportedly speculated that licensing issues will be a predominant factor in determi

Unnamed Nintendo employees have reportedly speculated that licensing issues will be a predominant factor in determining whether a game is available for Virtual Console,[68] giving the examples of GoldenEye 007 and Tetris as games that might be too expensive to license for the Virtual Console. Tecmo has announced its plans to "aggressively" support Virtual Console by re-releasing classic games. Though Tecmo did not specify which titles it intended to release, the company is responsible for many retro classics, such as Ninja Gaiden, Rygar, and Tecmo Bowl.[69] Tecmo was the first third-party game developer to release a game on the Virtual Console (Solomon's Key for the NES). Since then, Capcom and Konami, among others, have also released titles. In 2015, Sega released Sonic Advance, the first Sonic title for the Wii U Virtual Console, but so far, only in Japan. It is unknown if the game will be released in North America and Europe.

Matt Casamassina of IGN reported that Rare titles absent of Nintendo-owned characters, such as Banjo

Matt Casamassina of IGN reported that Rare titles absent of Nintendo-owned characters, such as Banjo-Kazooie and Perfect Dark, would be unavailable for purchase due to Microsoft's acquisition of Rare;[70] some of these titles have since been released for Xbox Live Arcade, as well as on the Xbox One through the Rare Replay compilation. SNK has announced intentions to release the Samurai Shodown series and a few other games to the Virtual Console which has brought the Neo Geo AES to the list of consoles available.[71] Midway had also planned to bring the classic Mortal Kombat games to the Virtual Console,[72] but later sold the franchise to Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment when it filed for bankruptcy in 2009. Warner Bros. has not stated whether it will release the Mortal Kombat games to the Virtual Console. However, it was stated by Ed Boon (co-creator of Mortal Kombat) on his Twitter account that the SNES Mortal Kombat games have "0.0" chance of happening.[citation needed]

Nintendo has stated that the Virtual Console releases will be faithful to the original games, eliminating the possibility of graphical enhancements, customizable controls, or added online multiplayer features.[73] However, for various reasons, the gameplay experience is not always identical to the original.

Peripherals

Some Nintendo 64 games offered optional features that req

Some Nintendo 64 games offered optional features that required peripheral hardware, such as the Rumble Pak for force feedback and the Controller Pak for additional data storage. Because these peripherals are not emulated or simulated in the Wii Virtual Console, the games played on the Virtual Console as they would on the Nintendo 64 without the peripherals attached.[73] In particular, Mario Kart 64 cannot save "Ghost Data" since no Controller Pak is available,[74] Cruis'n USA still allows saving game data but data cannot be copied to a Controller Pak. Wave Race 64 still has the ability to save progress but like Cruis'n USA the copy ability that allowed data to be copied to the Controller Pak cannot be used. Similarly, both games Mario Golf and Mario Tennis cannot use a Transfer Pak to copy data to or from a real Game Boy Color or the 3DS Virtual Console running the respective companion game.

Three Famicom games—Excitebike, Mach Rider and Wrecking Crew—included the ability to save player-designed

Three Famicom games—Excitebike, Mach Rider and Wrecking Crew—included the ability to save player-designed levels via the Famicom Data Recorder. Since this peripheral was never released outside Japan, the NES versions of these games did not support this save feature. Despite this, all three games have had the feature implemented in their Virtual Console releases for Wii and Wii U, allowing players to save course data to the system's memory or an SD card;[75] however, these features are not present in the Virtual Console releases of Mach Rider and Wrecking Crew for Nintendo 3DS, although the 3D Classics release 3D Excitebike does retain this feature as it is not a Virtual Console release.

The N64 game Pokémon Snap allowed players to take their Game Paks to special in-store kiosks to print stickers of their in-game photos; the Virtual Console version emulates this by letting players send a photo to the Wii Message Board once per day but this was removed from the Wii U version. Also, the Virtual Console versions of The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX (Game Boy Color) and Super Mario Bros. Deluxe (Game Boy Color) on the Nintendo 3DS cannot print photos from either game, since this required the Game Boy Printer peripheral to be attached throughout both games and any features that required use of the Game Boy Color Infared port can't be used since the 3DS uses different infared technology from the Game Boy Color.

Some reviewers have reported that games play differently due to the different controllers. For example, Super Mario World is often cited as being more difficult to play due to the GameCube controller's button mapping. The Classic Controller has a button layout more like that of the Super NES controller, and an adapter has been released that enables a player to plug an actual Super NES controller into one of the Wii's GameCube controller ports.[76] Similarly, most N64 Virtual Console games have mapped the Z button to the L, ZL and ZR buttons and the C-buttons to the right analog stick on the Classic Controller, which some reviewers have described as awkward.[77] Furthermore, the mapping of the left analog stick for N64 Virtual Console games does not use the full range of the stick, and instead uses a range of approximately 67%, likely due to the differences in design of the N64 controller's control stick and the GameCube style analog stick. This has been noted to provide a significantly different sensitivity when compared to the original N64 mapping.

Virtual Console releases of Game Boy and Game Boy Color games on the Nintendo 3DS give the player the option to play the games as they appeared on their original hardware. By holding a button combination while launching the game, the 3DS presents the game in

Virtual Console releases of Game Boy and Game Boy Color games on the Nintendo 3DS give the player the option to play the games as they appeared on their original hardware. By holding a button combination while launching the game, the 3DS presents the game in its original resolution rather than upscaling it to fit the height of the screen, making it appear smaller but more crisp. Game Gear games can also be played in the original resolution by changing the screen settings on the touch screen menu. Monochrome Game Boy games can be displayed in both "black and white" and "black and dark green" color palettes, switchable during gameplay.

While virtually all Virtual Console games play identically to their original versions, some games have been altered cosmetically to address licensing and copyright issues. Tecmo Bowl (NES) originally included the names of real football players licensed from the NFL Players Association, but since the game's release, Electronic Arts obtained exclusive rights to the license; consequently, the names were removed from the Virtual Console version, with only the players' numbers being shown.[78] Likewise, Wave Race 64—which featured Kawasaki logos on the title screen, jetskis and ad banners—had the logos removed from the title screen and jetskis, and the banners replaced with Wii and Nintendo DS banners due to licensing issues with Kawasaki.[79] The Mega Drive/Genesis game The Revenge of Shinobi originally featured Spider-Man as a boss character, but because the license to that character had expired, the 2009 release for Virtual Console removes the Marvel copyright notice and changes the character to pink, but retains all of Spider-Man's behaviors and patterns.[80] The Virtual Console release of StarTropics (NES) changes the name of one weapon from "Island Yo-Yo" to "Island Star", since Yo-Yo is a trademarked term in Canada.[citation needed]

Other games have experienced minor graphical differences from their original versions as well; most of these changes (as well as several others) were done due to Nintendo being more cautious about epilepsy, since many of the games during that time employed high flickering of color patterns that engul

Other games have experienced minor graphical differences from their original versions as well; most of these changes (as well as several others) were done due to Nintendo being more cautious about epilepsy, since many of the games during that time employed high flickering of color patterns that engulfed the screen. F-Zero (SNES) eliminates the track dimming when the player runs over the edges of the track, and Nintendo 64 games render polygons at a higher resolution than in their original hardware (though sprites and text appear blocky and pixelated by comparison).[citation needed] In Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, the screen turns red upon the player losing a life, whereas the original employed a rapid screen flash (Nintendo has yet to use such an effect since the Dennō Senshi Porygon incident in 1997).[citation needed]

The Wii and Wii U Virtual Console release of The Legend of Zelda (NES) uses the updated version featured in 2003's The Legend of Zelda: Collector's Edition compilation for the GameCube. While the gameplay is identical to the 1986 original, this release includes the save screen from the Famicom Disk System version, as well as an updated translation of the introduction screen.

The Wii U Virtual Console releases of the NES games appear to have been anti-aliased, resulting in some characters appearing more rounded or blurred compared to their original, Wii, and 3DS Virtual Console releases. The Wii U Game Boy Advance games have the graphics similarly smoothed, but give the player the option to toggle this effect on or off.

One significant difference in gameplay occurred in Kid Icarus (NES), which had its password system altered to disable certain special passwords that gave the main character special powers or large amounts of money.[81] Many players did not like this change, and the later release of Metroid, which used a similar password system, retained its original behavior.[citation needed] Similarly, Mario Golf originally had a code to enable password input for special tournaments, but had this feature removed for Virtual Console.[82]

The title Donkey Kong: Original Edition was available via promotion on the Wii and 3DS Virtual Consoles, then later was made purchasable on the PAL Nintendo 3DS eShop. This game is a modified version of the NES release of Donkey Kong to more closely resemble the arcade version, and was originally featured as a mini-game in Donkey Kong 64.[83] Both the NES version and Original Edition are available on the PAL Nintendo 3DS eShop.[84] Despite never actually being released on the NES, the game is treated as an NES title but simply lists "Never Released" in place of the original release year.

Wii U Game Boy Advance games do not support multiplayer modes, Game Boy Player rumble features, sleep mode, or GameCube-connectivity. Similarly, Nintendo DS games made available on Virtual Console are identical to their original release, complete with Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection set-up screens; however, as the wireless features are not emulated, attempting to use online play or local wireless multiplayer features (such as in Mario Kart DS) will not function, especially as the original service had been terminated about eleven months prior to the Virtual Console debut.

The Wii U Virtual Console re-release of Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 features all of the levels from the World-e section of the game unlocked automatically, including levels only released in Japan. This is done by a modified version of the game, where the levels are contained in the game's data and unlocked automatically. In the original game, the levels were unlocked using cards purchasable at various stores, which had dot codes on them containing the level data, and when scanned by the Nintendo e-Reader peripheral, saved the level to the game's save data for later usage without the card. While the original game could only fit 32 levels at any given time, the Virtual Console version has 38 levels in total, which includes every e-Reader card level ever released.

The Wii U Virtual Console re-release of Animal Crossing: Wild World removes the requirement to have someone visit your town and buy an item from Tom Nook's shop in order to upgrade to Nookingtons.

Game Boy games & Game Boy Color games on the 3DS Virtual Console don't support multiplayer modes or the Game Boy Color Infrared link feature (except for Pokémon Red, Blue, Yellow, Gold, Silver, and Crystal). Game Boy Color games also don't support Game Boy Printer features, and N64 Connectivity. NES Games also don't support Famicom data recorder features in games such as Mach Rider and Wrecking Crew.

Certain games that were originally released only in Japan have been translated and released in other regions on Virtual Console. Sin and Punishment (N64), which had never been released in English but featured English voice acting, was released on the Virtual Console in North American and PAL regions; all menu commands and certain in-game text (all originally written in Japanese) were translated into English, but the game retains its Japanese title screen and dialogue subtitles. The Mysterious Murasame Castle (NES), and Summer Carnival '92: Recca (NES), which had never been released in English, were released in English on the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console in 2014.[85] At least one game was fully translated, Monster World IV for the Mega Drive/Genesis was fully translated to English for both North American and European PAL regions.

Criticism

Wired's Chris Kohler protested the disparity between the American and Japanese libraries, both in quantity and quality.[86] The difference between the two libraries became minimal at one point, leading him to change his stance,[87] only to change it back once more as North American releases began to slow.[88] In addition, Kohler has also criticized the overall release strategy, with a handful of games at the beginning and two or three every week. The pricing has also been criticized as too high, especially for the NES games,[89] given the prices of many of the games available as used and the near-zero costs of manufacture and distribution.

PAL issuesWith the launch of the Wii in territories using the PAL television system, it has become apparent that in most cases the games supplied for the Virtual Console run in 50 Hz mode and in their original unoptimized state. Unoptimized PAL games run roughly 17% slower than their original speed in 60 Hz and have borders covering the top and the bottom of the screen. Setting the Wii console to 60 Hz mode does not force the 50 Hz game into 60 Hz mode (as is possible on emulators and modified PAL consoles).

All currently released Nintendo 64 games are partially PAL optimized, resulting in full screen games (although still running in 50 Hz and locked to the original slower gameplay speed). This optimization was not the case for the original cartridge versions of Super Mario 64, Wave Race 64 or Mario Kart 64, making the Virtual Console versions superior in that regard.

Additionally, some Super NES games are also partially PAL optimized with reduced borders but still retaining the slower run speed of the original PAL release (Super Mario World, Super Probotector and Street Fighter II).

A select few games were already optimized in the original release to begin with, and are thus just as fast as their 60 Hz counterparts this time around (the most obvious examples being Donkey Kong Country and Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest).

TurboGrafx-16 games are the only Virtual Console games to actually run in 60 Hz on PAL Wii systems; this is because the game data was never changed for release in PAL territories, the original hardware itself performed the conversion to a 50 Hz signal.

One example of a poor PAL conversion is seen in the Virtual Console release of Sonic the Hedgehog, which retains the slower framerate, music and borders of the original PAL Mega Drive version,[90] despite the fact that the GameCube release Sonic Mega Collection allows PAL users to choose which version of the game they want to play.

During Nintendo's "Hanabi Festival" campaign, certain titles that were never released in Europe were being added to the Wii Virtual Console. Some of these games, namely Japan-only titles such as Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, are run in 60 Hz only, thus keeping the original speed and gameplay. A small reminder is shown when previewing the game's channel.

The Hanabi games can be played in both PAL60 (480i) and 480p modes. This makes these releases look significantly better on progressive displays such as LCD TVs. The fast moving sprites in NES and SNES games generally create a significant amount of interlace artifacts on such displays that the 480p option resolves. However Hanabi Mega Drive titles still run in 50 Hz with the usual PAL conversion problems, despite not been released in PAL.

Initially, some PAL Virtual Console games would not display correctly on high-definition televisions when connected via the component lead. However, starting with an update on April 13, 2007, certain newly added games, such as Punch-Out!!, support the "Wii Component Cable Interlace Mode". This is a temporary fix to problems with various Virtual Console games being played over component cable on HDTVs.[91]

The PAL versions of all 3D Classics games on the Nintendo 3DS except Xevious and TwinBee run much smoother at 60 Hz unlike the Wii's Virtual Console versions which only run at 50 Hz, mainly due to the fact the 3DS versions are semi-modified ports of their original NES and arcade versions. The Ambassador and full release versions of the NES games on the 3DS also run at 60 Hz, but NES games on the Wii U eShop are again running the PAL 50 Hz version.[92]

When Nintendo 64 games were released on the Wii U Virtual Console, they were running at 50 Hz again. Super Mario 64 runs at 60 Hz, however Donkey Kong 64 only runs at 50 Hz.