Nintendo on pace to have more Virtual Console games on Wii U than the Wii

One of the coolest features Nintendo has come out with in the past ten years is the Virtual Console. All the classics you love from the NES, SNES or Nintendo 64 have been available for download on the Wii, 3DS or Wii U. Some gamers are traditionalists and only want to play the classic games on the original console with the original cartridge. I get that. Some music lovers have an appreciation for the sound of a vinyl record. It’s a very similar concept with classic video games. Dusting off the cartridge, switching the console on, holding the original controller, and viewing it on an old CTR television are all part of the experience.

But for all of you that really don’t care about the nostalgic stuff, the Virtual Console puts all of your old favorites on one machine. The problem is that if you’ve purchased one of the 427 titles in the Wii Virtual Console, they don’t automatically transfer to the Wii U VC. Nintendo still cuts you a break, however. If a title is available for the Wii U VC, but you’ve already purchased it for the Wii, it’ll only cost you an extra $1.50 to add the extra Wii U features like GamePad-only play and Restore Points.

But what if the game I want to play is available on the Wii but not the Wii U? You can still play that game on the Wii U by going to the original Wii menu. All your stuff from your former console is still there if you transferred everything over. Those games just won’t have the same functionality. So far, there are a lot fewer games on the Wii U VC, which makes sense. Nintendo brought in 426 titles for the Wii from 2006 to 2013. The Wii U began adding games in 2013. To date, the Wii U VC has 143 games.

You can also choose from a separate list of 171 games on the 3DS virtual console, including some “3D Classics” like Excitebike that have 3D capabilities. As of now, you can “cross buy” titles you’ve bought on the 3DS and get them for free on the Wii U. You cannot get them for free on the 3DS if you bought them on the Wii U quite yet, however.

Has Nintendo been as busy cranking out VC games for the Wii U as they did with the Wii? From November 2006 to June 2013, they came out with an average of 5.325 games per month. From June 2011 to present, Nintendo has put out an average of 4 games per month for the 3DS VC. The average for Wii U VC games is 5.46 games per month since Balloon Fight hit the VC on January 23, 2013.

At first I was upset that there were a lack of games on the Wii U VC, especially because games I owned like Super Mario: RPG for the Wii VC wasn’t available for the upgrade. Considering games are being ported to both the 3DS and the Wii U at the same time, the data shows Nintendo is busier than ever getting your favorite classics to the new consoles.

This is why we can’t have nice things.

No one cared about the new 3DS XL…until Nintendo sold the one with the mask.

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Any Zelda fan that has a true love for the franchise would want to have this. It looks beautiful! And the new 3DS XL solves a lot of the problems associated with the 3D mode that was hard to tolerate for more than five minutes. Chris Kohler at WIRED.com got to play the graphically enhanced Majora’s Mask, originally released for the Nintendo 64 in 2000, on the new 3DS XL.

“My first experience with New 3DS made it clear that it had at least solved the illusion-breaking issue, but I also found that the weird eye fatigue was gone. I could play and play and play in 3-D and totally forget I was doing it,” Kohler said.

Playing Ocarina of Time on 3DS was great, but I never played it with the 3D mode on. I anticipated keeping it off for Majora’s Mask until I read what the new hardware can do. Okay I know! I have a 3DS XL currently. I’ll pre-order the new 3DS XL Majora’s Mask special edition, along with the game. Then when I go to pick it up, I’ll trade in my current device to take a chunk out of the cost! Perfect plan!

Doing a quick search on the product led to some alarming revelations. They’ve been completely sold out…for a long time. The system sells for $199.99. If you really, really want one, you can get on eBay. There are hundreds, literally hundreds selling between $300 and $500. Thomas Whitehead at nintendolife.com explains what is happening best:

“Products designed – by their very concept of being special editions – for dedicated fans are snapped up by many with no interest in them, all in the name of charging those that are desperate. Nintendo gets its cut of the retail sales, but these private sales are a Wild West and are all about exploiting fans for personal gain.”

I’ve been through this hunt before with Nintendo a few times now. It reminds me of the time I searched for the Super Smash Bros. Wii U bunduru complete with Gamecube controller and adapter. It made something I thought should be an extremely simple purchase into something infuriating. I am at least thankful that I have absolutely no interest in Nintendo’s Amiibo figures, designed to used with games like Super Smash Bros. Wii U.

This frustration of artificial scarcity all falls back on Nintendo. Yes, making fewer copies of a product will increase the value, but this only hurts the people who truly love Nintendo and want the products. Carlton McHard is a hardcore Nintendo fan who wants to see some change in how they operate.

“That is the terrible reality of this situation, Nintendo. There are fans out there that have followed you for years. There are some like me who have known you our entire lives. We’re dedicated customers and we want to buy your merchandise. I only wish that you would make it available to us and not punish regular consumers for the sake of your brand. The hype generated around scarcity only creates dissonance between you and loyal fans.”

But who knows how Nintendo will respond? What can we do as loyal fans and consumers? Regardless of how badly you want a product, like the Majora’s Mask 3DS, never buy it for more than the retail price. Also, be at peace with not having the product. Make compromises. Maybe I don’t need the Majora’s Mask 3DS. Maybe I’ll just get a regular new 3DS and find whatever Zelda decorations to put on it.

For now, enjoy the things you already have. Go plug in your  Super Nintendo or Nintendo 64. Play some Mario. It’ll make you feel better.