Wii Virtual Console Exclusives (plus WiiWare!)

Ver. 1.0.0  (03/24/18)

(This post is complete. Only minor updates will be made going forward.)

Nintendo is closing the Wii Shop Channel on January 31, 2019, and Wii Points, for buying anything in said channel, are no longer available for purchase after March 26, 2018. For retrogamers like me, this might not seem like a big deal, until I realized that not all Wii Virtual Console games are available on Wii U and 3DS! Granted, Wii’s retrogame emulation is at best serviceable, but it’s just so convenient. Besides, amongst the sea of shovel-ware that is the WiiWare, there’re still pearls worth owning before they’re forever washed away by the tides of time.

I wrote a simple script to parse Wikipedia’s lists of Virtual Console games (for Wii, Wii U, and 3DS) to find each platform’s exclusives. Below you’ll find the results (in alphabetical order) and my personal recommendations. Whether you still have Wii hooked up to the TV, or you’re using Wii U’s Wii Mode (not recommended), it’s worth a look to see if anything tickles your fancy. Note: These games are for North America; I don’t know about their availability for other regions.

Wii VIRTUAL CONSOLE EXCLUSIVES

Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) / Famicom

(19 exclusives)
A Boy and His Blob: Trouble on Blobolonia
Adventures of Lolo 2
Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa
Blades of Steel
Bubble Bobble
BurgerTime
Double Dribble
Elevator Action
Faxanadu
Final Fantasy
King’s Knight
Lunar Pool
NES Play Action Football
Ninja JaJaMaru-kun
Operation Wolf
Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom
S.C.A.T.: Special Cybernetic Attack Team
The Legend of Kage
Zanac

Recommended:

Adventures of Lolo 2
Faxanadu
Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom
S.C.A.T.: Special Cybernetic Attack Team
Zanac

Note: Bubble Bobble and Final Fantasy are also worthy, but they’re better on the NES Classic Edition.

Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) / Super Famicom

(26 exclusives)
ActRaiser
Aero the Acro-Bat
Aero the Acro-Bat 2
Chrono Trigger
Darius Twin
DoReMi Fantasy: Milon’s DokiDoki Adventure
Final Fantasy II
Final Fantasy III
Final Fantasy Mystic Quest
Ghoul Patrol
Gradius III
Indiana Jones’ Greatest Adventures
Kirby’s Avalanche
Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen
Prince of Persia
Secret of Mana
Space Invaders: The Original Game
Super Adventure Island
Super Adventure Island II
Super Bonk
Super Star Wars
Super Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
Super Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
Super Turrican
The Combatribes
Zombies Ate My Neighbors

Recommended:

ActRaiser
Chrono Trigger
DoReMi Fantasy: Milon’s DokiDoki Adventure
Super Bonk
Zombies Ate My Neighbors

Note: SNES Chrono Trigger is still the best because all the ports and remakes are subpar, and it’s criminally missing from SNES Classic Edition.

Note: Final Fantasy II (Final Fantasy IV for real) has numerous enhanced remakes. Final Fantasy III (Final Fantasy VI for real) is better on SNES Classic Edition.

Note: Gradius III is an arcade port. The arcade version is available on PS2 and PSP.

Note: Ogre Battle enhanced remake is available on PS1.

Note: Secret of Mana is better on SNES Classic Edition.

Note: Super Turrican Director’s Cut is available on Analogue Super Nt.

Nintendo 64 (N64)

(4 exclusives)
Bomberman Hero
Cruis’n USA
Pokémon Puzzle League
Super Smash Bros.

Recommended:

Pokémon Puzzle League
Super Smash Bros.

TurboGrafx-16 (TG16) / PC Engine / TurboDuo

(25 exclusives)
Bravoman
Castlevania: Rondo of Blood
Chase H.Q.
Cho Aniki
Cratermaze
Dead Moon
Dragon Spirit
Dragon’s Curse
Fighting Street
Galaga ’90
Gate of Thunder
Gradius II: Gofer no Yabou
J.J. & Jeff
Military Madness
Monster Lair
Ordyne
Psychosis
Riot Zone
Samurai Ghost
Splatterhouse
Street Fighter II: Champion Edition
Super Air Zonk: Rockabilly-Paradise
The Dynastic Hero
World Class Baseball
Ys Book I & II

Recommended:

Castlevania: Rondo of Blood
Gate of Thunder
Military Madness
Super Air Zonk: Rockabilly-Paradise
The Dynastic Hero

Note: Dragon’s Curse is also known as Wonder Boy III: The Dragon’s Trap, which is available on many platforms and remade for modern systems like PS4 and Switch.

Note: Gradius II is an arcade port, and the arcade version is available on PS4.

Note: The Dynastic Hero is also known as Wonder Boy in Monster World.

Note: Even though Ys is the quintessential action RPG series on TG16, Ys Book I & II has been ported and enhanced for many later systems.

Genesis / Mega Drive

Genesis games aren’t available on Wii U or 3DS VC, so currently all 73 titles on Wii are technically exclusives, but I’m not listing them here. Furthermore, Sega has been doing a decent job compiling their greatest hits for modern systems (Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection for PS3/Xbox 360, Sega Genesis Collection for PS2), and sometimes cheaper (Steam). In fact, most of the Steam collection is coming to PS4 and Xbox One.

I also highly recommend the 3DS Sega 3D Classics. These are some of the best remakes and unique ways to experience the classics. In addition, some of the cult favorite series like Wonder Boy and Fantasy Zone, and the Capcom arcade games, have been released as compilations and remakes. I’d recommend those alternatives if they are readily accessible.

So, here’re my favorites that aren’t easily found in compilations or as remakes, making them truly worth owning on Wii.

Recommended:

Gley Lancer
Mega Turrican
MUSHA
Pulseman
Rolling Thunder 2

Note: Rolling Thunder 2 is a Namco arcade port, but I find the Genesis version better.

Bonus: (These gems may be available elsewhere but I consider best on this platform.)
Ghouls ‘n Ghosts
Mercs
Puyo Puyo 2
Super Fantasy Zone

 

Neo Geo

Another system that’s not on Wii U or 3DS, but SNK has re-released most of its games more times than there are fighting games in this library (which is a lot), so whether you’re the sworn defender of PS4, Xbox One, or Switch, you’ll find the most popular titles on your platform (in particular, take a look at Hamster’s ACA Neo Geo offerings).

As such, the sole gem, of which the original is too expensive and hard to find, is:

Recommended:

Ironclad

 

Master System / Sega Mark III

Similar to Genesis, this system isn’t available on Wii U or 3DS, but only 15 titles are available on Wii. If you don’t have better alternatives to play the Wonder Boy and Fantasy Zone games, or Phantasy Star, you should get them here. In addition, the following are pretty good:

Recommended:

Alex Kidd in Miracle World
Alex Kidd in Shinobi World
Sonic the Hedgehog
Sonic the Hedgehog 2

 

Arcade

Wii U and 3DS VC don’t have an equivalent arcade section, but like many other retro games mentioned on this page, most games here (totaling 21) are cheaper on other platforms. And frankly, these old arcade games, shallow and quarter-hungry by design, simply don’t stand the test of time. Hence, I can’t recommend any.

 

WiiWare RECOMMENDATIONS (Bonus!)

While Virtual Console is the main draw, let’s not forget WiiWare, which will be closing down at the same time. While most of its games are a waste of resources, there’re a handful of worthy exclusives in the name of retrogaming.

If nothing else, you must get the Konami ReBirth games if any of these genres appeals to you:

Gradius ReBirth – Remix of various Gradius games.

 

Contra ReBirth – Original title that looks and plays similar to SNES’ Contra III: The Alien Wars.

 

Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth – Remake of Game Boy’s Castlevania: The Adventure.

 

Nintendo also has some offerings in their lesser-known IPs like Dr. Mario and WarioWare, but my pick has to be Excitebike: World Rally, an excellent update of the NES original.

 

My next pick is Blaster Master Overdrive. Don’t believe the critics; they’re just bunch of wusses who can’t handle a hardcore retro remake. OK, it would’ve been nice if they supported the Classic Controller, but it’s still pretty playable with Wiimote.

 

Lastly, get Bomberman Blast only if you have friends. It’s rather boring if you play alone.

 

That’s all. What else do you think I should get? Thanks.

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