Buying Real Copies of Wii Virtual Console Games…Ouch!

January 30th, 2008 by JJ Hendricks

Wii Virtual Console Prices[ This is JJ Hendricks’ first contribution to VC&G. He is the author of the Video Game Price Charts Blog, which analyzes and charts video game prices. Additional contributions and layout by Benj. ]

Since the Nintendo Wii’s release in November 2006, the Virtual Console service has been one of its most popular features. Yet almost instantly after its launch, people began complaining about how much VC games cost. The most common argument against the VC pricing scheme (aside from the illegal emulator option) is the presumed “low price” of the original games if you bought them used. But how much would it really cost to buy physical copies of all the Virtual Console games? Is Nintendo’s retro service a good deal, or are you getting ripped off?

NESBy analyzing the current market prices of every game offered on the Virtual Console service, I’ve come up with an answer. In the charts below, you’ll find an exhaustive price breakdown that compares the current market value of real cartridges to the cost of their VC counterparts. The prices for the cartridges themselves were determined by using the daily updated prices at from January 24th, 2008, which, in turn, are taken from multiple sources, including recent eBay auction results,, and All prices are in US Dollars.

The Prices


Nintendo Entertainment System
(As of 01/24/2008)

Game Title

Used Price VC Price
Adventure Island $5.44 $5
Adventures of Lolo $4.20 $5
Balloon Fight $7.10 $5
Baseball $0.75 $5
Blades of Steel $1.35 $5
Bubble Bobble $20.98 $5
Castlevania $7.54 $5
Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest $4.00 $5
Donkey Kong $14.99 $5
Donkey Kong Jr $6.12 $5
Donkey Kong Jr. Math $11.00 $5
Double Dribble $0.59 $5
Elevator Action $2.00 $5
Excitebike $4.39 $5
Galaga $3.82 $5
Ghosts ‘n Goblins $3.70 $5
Gradius $1.99 $5
Ice Climber $3.99 $5
Ice Hockey $0.82 $5
Kid Icarus $13.75 $5
Kirby’s Adventure $5.97 $5
Legend of Kage $0.82 $5
Legend of Zelda $7.74 $5
Lode Runner $3.06 $5
Lunar Pool $0.99 $5
Mach Rider $0.77 $5
Mario Bros. $11.07 $5
Metroid $5.17 $5
Mighty Bomb Jack $5.12 $5
Milon’s Secret Castle $0.76 $5
NES Open Tournament Golf $1.85 $5
Play Action Football $0.38 $5
Ninja Gaiden $3.55 $5
Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos $5.00 $5
Ninja JaJaMaru-kun $2.00 $6*
Pac-Man $10.00 $5
Pinball $0.60 $5
Punch-Out!! $6.25 $5
Soccer $0.75 $5
Solomon’s Key $2.35 $5
Star Soldier $1.24 $5
StarTropics $1.22 $5
Super C $9.64 $5
Super Mario Bros. $3.93 $5
Super Mario Bros. 2 $9.00 $5
Super Mario Bros. 3 $9.29 $5
Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels $11.49 $6*
Tecmo Bowl $8.00 $5
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles $2.25 $6
Tennis $0.75 $5
Urban Champion $4.05 $5
Volleyball $2.18 $5
Wrecking Crew $5.85 $5
Xevious $1.12 $5
Yoshi $3.87 $5
Zanac $1.71 $5
Zelda II: The Adventure of Link $5.22 $5


$273.53 $288.00

* Never released in US, price of Japanese game


Super NES
(As of 01/24/2008)

Game Title

Used Price VC Price
ActRaiser $11.50 $8
Axelay $12.95 $8
Breath of Fire II $29.98 $8
Contra III: The Alien Wars $16.49 $8
Cybernator $6.99 $8
Donkey Kong Country $17.01 $8
Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest $18.40 $8
Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble! $20.84 $8
Final Fight $4.56 $8
F-Zero $3.91 $8
Gradius III $3.50 $8
Kirby’s Avalanche $4.70 $8
Kirby’s Dream Course $9.67 $8
Legend of the Mystical Ninja $8.97 $8
Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past $15.77 $8
Metal Marines $64.5 $8
Pac-Attack $3.00 $8
Romance of the Three Kingdoms IV: Wall of Fire $9.15 $8
R-Type III: The Third Lightning $19.90 $8
SimCity $6.33 $8
Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting $12.76 $8
Street Fighter II: The World Warrior $3.68 $8
Super Castlevania IV $11.26 $8
Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts $6.45 $8
Super Mario World $13.18 $8
Super Metroid $17.69 $8
Vegas Stakes $1.24 $8


$354.38 $216.00


Nintendo 64
(As of 01/24/2008)

Game Title

Used Price VC Price
F-Zero X $4.26 $10
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time $15.98 $10
Mario Kart 64 $25.90 $10
Paper Mario $28.90 $10
Pokémon Snap $5.01 $10
Sin and Punishment $40.00 $12*
Star Fox 64 $9.68 $10
Super Mario 64 $20.36 $10
Wave Race 64 $5.99 $10
Yoshi’s Story $13.34 $10


$169.42 $102.00

* Never released in US, price of Japanese game

Sega Genesis

Sega Genesis
(As of 01/24/2008)

Game Title

Used Price VC Price
Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle $4.93 $8
Alien Soldier $90.00 $9*
Alien Storm $1.75 $8
Altered Beast $3.93 $8
Beyond Oasis $7.97 $8
Bio-Hazard Battle $1.78 $8
Bonanza Bros. $3.45 $8
Columns $0.38 $8
Comix Zone $11.75 $8
Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine $2.49 $8
Dynamite Headdy $1.19 $8
Ecco Jr. $2.15 $8
Ecco the Dolphin $1.13 $8
Ecco The Tides of Time $2.68 $8
Eternal Champions $0.75 $8
Gain Ground $6.30 $8
Ghouls ‘n Ghosts $2.85 $8
Golden Axe $10.48 $8
Golden Axe II $7.15 $8
Golden Axe III $20.00 $9*
Gunstar Heroes $23.49 $8
Kid Chameleon $4.12 $8
Landstalker Treasures of King Nole $9.24 $8
Light Crusader $2.97 $8
Ristar $12.18 $8
Rolling Thunder 2 $8.48 $8
Shining Force $31.99 $8
Shining in the Darkness $3.50 $8
Shinobi III Return of the Ninja Master $4.25 $8
Sonic 3D Blast $0.99 $8
Sonic Spinball $0.38 $8
Sonic the Hedgehog $2.33 $8
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 $1.33 $8
Sonic the Hedgehog 3 $5.62 $8
Space Harrier II $3.45 $8
Streets of Rage $9.24 $8
Streets of Rage 2 $9.83 $8
Streets of Rage 3 $34.23 $8
Super Thunder Blade $2.22 $8
Sword of Vermilion $2.62 $8
ToeJam & Earl $29.99 $8
ToeJam & Earl in Panic on Funkotron $9.88 $8
Virtua Fighter 2 $2.68 $8
Wonder Boy in Monster World $8.47 $8


$406.59 $353.00

* Never released in US, price of Japanese game

Neo Geo

Neo Geo
(As of 01/24/2008)

Game Title

Used Price* VC Price
Art of Fighting $12 $9
Baseball Stars 2 $30 $9
Blue’s Journey $13 $9
Fatal Fury: King of Fighters $12 $9
King of Fighters ’94 $7 $9
Magician Lord $20 $9
Top Hunter: Roddy & Cathy $17 $9
World Heroes $24 $9


$135.00 $72.00

* Not sold often, some prices based upon one or two sales


(As of 01/24/2008)

Game Title

Used Price VC Price
Air Zonk $30.00 $6
Alien Crush $18.45 $6
Battle Lode Runner ???* $6
Blazing Lazers $29.95 $6
Bloody Wolf $35.80 $6
Bomberman ’93 $79.99 $6
Bonk’s Adventure $15.35 $6
Bonk’s Revenge $23.98 $6
Bonk 3: Bonk’s Big Adventure $200.00 $6
Bravoman $29.99 $6
Chew Man Fu ???* $6
China Warrior $5.00 $6
Cratermaze $20.00 $6
Dead Moon $20.00 $6
Devil’s Crush $27.00 $6
Double Dungeons $17.95 $6
Dragon Spirit $11.10 $6
Dragon’s Curse $39.99 $6
Drop Off $12.00 $6
Dungeon Explorer $7.95 $6
Dynastic Hero ???* $8
Galaga ’90 $29.99 $6
Gate of Thunder $40.00 $8
J.J. & Jeff $11.48 $6
Legend of Hero Tonma $34.99 $6
Military Madness $45.88 $6
Monster Lair $14.95 $8
Moto Roader $10.49 $6
Neutopia $15.97 $6
Neutopia II $19.99 $6
New Adventure Island $54.00 $6
Ninja Spirit $9.97 $6
Ordyne $27.50 $6
Power Golf $6.03 $6
Riot Zone $24.97 $8
R-Type $15.00 $8
Samurai Ghost $44.99 $6
Shockman $13.00 $6
Silent Debuggers $19.45 $6
Soldier Blade $30.00 $6
Splatterhouse $21.23 $6
Super Air Zonk: Rockabilly-Paradise ???* $8
Super Star Soldier $23.00 $6
Victory Run $5.32 $6
Vigilante $21.48 $6
World Class Baseball $1.49 $6
World Sports Competition $12.00 $6


$1,177.67 $294.00

* Not sold on eBay in past 30 days

All Systems

All Games on All Systems
(As of 01/24/2008)


Used Price VC Price
Nintendo Entertainment System $273.53 $288.00
Super NES $354.38 $216.00
Nintendo 64 $169.42 $102.00
Sega Genesis $406.59 $353.00
Neo Geo $135.00 $72.00
TurboGrafx-16 $1,177.67 $294.00


$2516.59 $1325.00

Is Cheaper Really Better?

Wii Virtual Console PricesThere are currently 196 games available on the Wii Virtual Console service (as of January 24th, 2008). Buying the Wii version of every single VC game would cost you $1,325.00, while buying every single Virtual Console game as a used cartridge would cost roughly $2,516.59 — a difference of almost $1,200.00.

The original Nintendo is the only system where buying the cartridges would be cheaper than buying the virtual games because many games for the NES would cost less than a dollar. Every other system, especially the TurboGrafx-16, boasts higher average prices for the cartridges than the Wii’s VC downloads.

Of course, there are certain benefits to owning the actual used cartridges instead of the Virtual Console games. Cartridges can be resold after you buy them, and they might appreciate in value over time. If you invest $2,500 in cartridges, they will still be worth that much after you buy them. With the Virtual Console, the games are almost worthless after you purchase them: since they are locked to your particular console, you couldn’t sell them individually. You could sell your whole Wii console with the VC games included, but you’d only receive a fraction your VC investment on resale.

NES Games on ShelfOn the other hand, if you buy Virtual Console games, you’ll save hundreds of dollars on the console hardware you’d need to play all of the used games in question (NES, SNES, TG-16 consoles, controllers, attachments, etc.). You’d also save a considerable amount of space in storing those numerous systems, cartridges, and accessories. Then there’s the matter of convenience: with the Wii, you have all your games in one place, easily selectable and able to be played on modern HDTV sets. With the actual vintage hardware, you’d have to set up each system separately to play them all, which can be quite a hassle.

So which is better? It’s a matter of investment verses convenience. With the real game cartridges, you get the authentic experience of playing them on the original hardware, while preserving their resale value. With the Wii, you’re mostly buying the convenience to play all the same games in one place at lower cost, albeit locked into Nintendo’s proprietary Virtual Console system. In the end, it’s up to the individual gamer’s personal preference. But let it be known that the “high price” argument against Nintendo Virtual Console games — at least versus their used counterparts — no longer holds water.

69 Responses to “Buying Real Copies of Wii Virtual Console Games…Ouch!”

  1. k. Says:

    Instead of playing some ROM File on an Emulator on the Wii you can aswell download the ROM and play it on a PC.

    Used Price: $2516.59
    Emu Price $0.00

    (so what I want to say is, you cannot compare this. A real Famicom Experience will never match some Emulator. Official or Not.)

  2. Brandon Says:

    This really not a good comparison. You have to weight physical copies more because not only do you get an actual cart, but you can potentially resell it. Also, you must consider that the cost of creating and distributing VC games is practically zero for Nintendo after licensing and the overhead of maintaining the online store. Adding the fact that VC games are less valuable to me in the long run (being tied to a Wii system, not resellable), the VC is a lot less attractive than a physical copy.

    VC games are 2-3 times higher than what I’d consider an “impulse buy” zone ($2 for NES would be a good baseline, or even an itunes-like $0.99). Given that you can’t demo any of these games, pricing them at $5-$12 dollars is asking a bit much. I’m not going to risk paying that too-high price on a game I might not care for. A lower price and/or demos would grease the wheels quite a bit — for me, and for Nintendo.

    On the other hand, maybe Nintendo wants to keep VC game purchases lower, or else they’ll have to come up with some mechanism for mass storage!

  3. ejamer Says:

    Great article! Very well thought out and informative.

    It is perfectly fair to compare the cost of Virtual Console games against buying used physical copies. Many people have stated that pricing is the biggest problem with Virtual Console, claiming that it’s cheaper to buy real copies of the same game (providing they can be found). That is what this exactly article is all about, so arguing otherwise suggests you’ve missed the point.

    However, while the accuracy of playing an emulated version is not in question here, I do agree with you that playing the “real thing” is best when possible. The trick is that it’s rarely cheap or convenient for people to find original hardware and software.

    Finally, many people will probably mention emulation (using downloaded ROMs) as the best alternative for playing classic games. Yes, emulation is cheaper than buying games on the virtual console… but it is also illegal and/or immoral in most cases, not to mention less convenient than simply connecting to the Wii Shopping Channel. If that doesn’t deter you, then go ahead.

  4. n Says:

    while I agree that there is convenience I still can’t say that prices for console games other than turbo cd and neogeo are fair. I think the emulation part is pretty self explanatory (5 finger discount) but if we are talking legal means to acquire such games, the prices for the actual software is ridiculous if not a little ego centric (snes prices). Take for example videogame compilation disks for the ps2. Sega has a few with one having 28 games on it, and as far as amazon is concerned is priced at 19.99. (I used the gamespot website to check for the prices on amazon.) If that is the case then roughly each game costs more than 70 cents. Just think there are many compilation disks form sega to neogeo with a much more affordable price given the means. Again its convenience to have them all in one place but even the game industry dose not value the software as high as the hardware to store it. I mean who would buy a floppy disk of say, alien solider for the same price as the original on ebay? Being illegal aside, the price for such a highly priced game would go for marginally less and I mean even less than the vc prices.

    here is an amazon link for the sega collection (take note of the combo deal on the same page):

  5. n Says:

    edit- each game costs a little more than 70 cents

  6. TheGZeus Says:

    You can use and download ROMs if you own the original cart.
    Take out the price of the systems(not even listed) and you have a perfect comparison.
    Fair Use, people. Learn about it.

    Download =/= steal.
    That’s something I’ve noticed with Windows users, they often equate those, and do both often…

  7. haax0r Says:

    Regarding the SNES VC games: 27 games * $8 = $216, not $273.53!

  8. fluffy Says:

    Another advantage of VC is that you actually get much better video and sound quality on the Wii’s emulation than you do on the original hardware. Have you ever hooked up an NES or SNES to a modern LCD HDTV? It looks terrible. Blurry, lots of dot crawl, noisy sound, and so on. Plus, the older hardware tends to fail a lot more. VC’s emulation is excellent and in many cases feels better than the real thing.

  9. JJ Hendricks Says:

    haax0r, we agree on the math. The article says the VC SNES games cost $216 and the real ones cost $273.53. You must have looked at the wrong column headings.

    Good to know my math stills works though.

  10. Rod Steel Says:

    This is an excellent, well constructed study that is apparently being misunderstood by the forum posters. The purpose of this article is simply to negate a popular argument against VC, not all arguments against VC. There is a reading comprehension component to the SAT. I hope some of these posters don’t plan on going to college….

  11. Adam Says:

    While I personally prefer playing my favourite old NES games (i.e Super Dodge Ball, for instance) on the actual console with an actual controller, I neither think the VC downloads are a ripoff or a bad idea. Without having the actual cartidge some may prefer to just feel a VC download is no better than a ROM on your computer, but there are some things a ROM can’t provide- such as playing multiplayer, on a big screen, sitting on a couch with your friends.

  12. Vanilla Gorilla Says:

    Great article, JJ! Thanks for putting in the work… a very interesting read.

    Keep in mind that it is possible (and actually likely) that the release of retro games on VC has impacted the market prices of the original games. Prior to the Wii’s release, the original games may have been even more expensive than they are now, because they were the only way retro gamers could access the games legally (thus increasing demand for the physical copies compared with today). I’d imagine that, for a large subset of retro gamers (outside of actual collecters, or for platforms where fewer copies of games are actually available, e.g. TG16), it is not critical to them to have actual physical copies of retro games. This subset of gamers was probably more than happy to have virtual copies of the games on VC. Thus, with the entry of the VC into the marketplace, it is probable that the overall demand for physical copies of many retro games declined, thus reducing the market price over the last couple years, especially as the VC library has grown. This is simple economics, but the only way to verify it would be to analyze historical prices on the retro games with entries on the VC, both before and after the VC versions were made available.

    This is an argument, however, that supports the current pricing structure on VC (because if the VC has reduced prices on the physical games, then it is actually even more of a deal, considering the physical games would have been even higher-priced before, in comparison). And I’m not so sure I like that conclustion, because I think the VC prices should come down as well. Ultimately, the universe of gamers will decide if the pricing structure is on-target… because if they don’t like it (and, as a result, don’t buy games), Nintendo will be forced to reconsider the pricing or call the VC a failure (which, obviously, it isn’t… it’s popular even with the current pricing structure).

    If Nintendo would allow portability of VC titles onto their next system (rather than risk having to buy retro copies of the games I like yet again), I’d even be willing to pay more. Until then, though, my Wii’s going to have a very limited VC library of only my most favorite games… and I’ll do my treasure hunting on ConsoleClassix, which I believe, is another legal alternative.

  13. zupakomputer Says:

    Those PCE prices look like lucky grabs off obscure e-bay auctions – an auction is not the same as a proper buying opportunity! I searched around recently for a PCE Splatterhouse for example, and the cheapest all-in I could source was £17.00 UK, so almost double that for US$.

    Also, the VC prices are very cheap compared to XBox Live Arcade – but, you really have to take into account having a broadband internet connection ontop of any prices of downloadable games (plus buying the new console also). Many folks don’t have access to such a thing, and then there’s folks like me who flatly refuse to payout in advance for something that at decent game-online speeds is way over-priced still, and for downloading content – well, it’s still overpriced anyway, if you want a provider that almost-definitely guarantees you actually get the Mbps that you have paid for.
    A download-content-speed-only (2meg) proper broadband link for me here, over a year, is ~£200.00. Then add on the installation charge, and most likely a modem-router on top. Phone-broadband is out of the question: you pay for Megs you don’t see if anyone else is using broadband nearby.

    As for ROMs, again it’s something I’m not averse to, but my experience with them is that they don’t work anyway if you are able to find any to download. Some types of emulators don’t even do sound! The possibility of anything else like system instability or having to use a keyboard for controls makes me glad I’ve yet to buy a new PC to experience more of the full horrors of all that.

    I welcome the good-ol’-games and game-types on the current gen consoles, but I’m going to wait until the broadband is fairly priced and guranteed bandwidth before I’ll be downloading any titles.

  14. asdf Says:

    nice article

  15. JJ Hendricks Says:

    Vanilla Gorilla, thanks for the compliments.

    You bring up a great point about the VC games affecting the prices of the originals. To be honest, I’m not sure if they would go up or down. Some releases might raise interest in the old games that people had forgotten about. It sounds like I have another article to write in the future.

    How has the VC’s releases changed the original resale prices? That would be interesting.

  16. Benj Edwards Says:

    Apologies about the $273.53/$216.00 thing on the SNES games. I accidentally pasted the wrong number in the wrong place when I was putting the tables together (I just fixed it). And with this many numbers, a few mistakes are bound to happen. If anyone else spots any other errors, let me know.

  17. jase Says:

    Do the prices listed include shipping fees and/or taxes?

  18. JJ Hendricks Says:

    jase, no shipping fees and taxes are not included. That would make the difference even more.

  19. moi Says:

    How can you compare the price of a physical item,one that is limited in quantity, often rare anhd subject to collection, with a digital download?
    .Anyway, my biggest complaint against VC is that I’m sure that in 99.9% of the cases, there is 0% of the money that goes to the original devellopers, most of the royalties probably go to IP owner who often are companies who bought rights to the games afterward.
    So I really don’t fell guilty using PC emulators rather than console emulators.

  20. bc Says:

    Excellent, well-written article.

    I do however wonder about your opening sentence: “Since the Nintendo Wii’s release…the Virtual Console service has been one of its most popular features.”

    While certainly true with hardcore/retro gamers, I don’t know if the mainstream stats bear that out. The latest hard numbers to come out, in late November 2007, were 7.8 million downloads for $33 million in sales (worldwide). A Nintendo rep. said of them, “We’re currently unsure if this is a lot or low. They’re not bad figures.”

    Hardly an exuberant endorsement. Those numbers yield an average cost-per-game of $4.23, which suggests a lot of NES downloads and far fewer of the higher-priced games. Somebody else can look up worldwide Wii sales as of 11/07 to calculate exact the VC-game-per-console attach rate, but it’s certainly less than 1:1 (at least 10 million Wiis sold by then). I myself have ~25 VC games, so many people must have none.

    All of this has me worried that the VC, to Nintendo, isn’t worth the money put into it. See again the average price-per-game; e.g., if this suggests low sales of N64 games, is Nintendo recouping the ROM conversion costs?

    As we see VC releases drop to 1-2 a week in 2008, I’ve started worrying that these factors may be at work – maybe the VC is a good bargain for gamers but a losing deal for Nintendo.

  21. Tony Says:

    This might help dispel some of the concepts that the real world copies are always cheaper… But I don’t think that means people can’t bring up other questions that this simply doesn’t answer. When I argue that the VC is a rip-off it’s for a combination of things. It’s not simply the price in and of itself, it’s what you GET for the price. What matters here is the overall VALUE and for the price, I think the value is generally pretty terrible.

    The fact remains that you’re simply getting a ROM download here. In the case of NES titles in particular, a vast majority of these titles are lucky to go past 250kb in size. I think the biggest is probably around 2MBs.

    So clearly we can’t argue this is costing them tons of money in terms of bandwidth most of the time. iTunes has songs that are bigger in file size than any NES game, most SNES games and even some N64 games… yet they all cost a 99 cents USD.

    These games were already developed, so any cost in that sense just covers testing these titles in the emulators Nintendo/etc have developed. Less cost there. There’s next to no advertising, no manfacturing costs of any sort, no printing costs of any sort, no middleman costs of any sort (beyond Nintendo’s general licensing fee, which is present regardless). ROM conversion costs are likely negligible and most of costs are likely made up very quickly by this model. Plus the fact that these titles already had their initial run (and some appeared elsewhere), so this is just money on top of money. It essentially is a second life for any of these titles and it’s the simplest way to make profit on anything popular, obscure or otherwise.

    You’re basically paying a premium for titles that previously would have been combined with 15 other titles on a disc for $20 at retail. And while it’s nice to pick and choose, I think that discrepancy is obvious.

    Is this a better value in some sense than hunting out an auction, paying the fees and shipping? Sure. But I don’t think you can argue that this pricing system is still a bit much.

    There’s also the fact that the VC doesn’t currently account for even a remote majority of the NES games out there (I’m sticking with NES for the sake of a cohesive argument). As time goes on, I am sure we’re going to see far more titles that people can likely pick up for a $1 if they want to, the sample is going to be skewed significantly a year from now… let alone at the end of this generation.

    I can’t speak of pound or euro values for XBLA games, either, but in the US at least a retro title (added to in some capacity, no less) is 400 points… essentially the equivalent of 500 Wii points. Even the 800 MS Point titles are equal to the cost of a N64 game on the Wii.

    Which brings in another argument against value, that I’m essentially being asked to pay $10 for an emulated ROM or $10 for potentially a brand new title. And that doesn’t imply one or the other is actually a better GAME, but from strictly a monetary value it sure doesn’t add up.

    And then the final thing I would equate with value overall: resale. I can’t do shit with any of these titles. If I make a $200 investment into a rare video game you have to bet that I know that I can sell that latter for more. That it’s going to add up over time in value. This is part of the mindset of ANY collector (the only people who would even buy some of these games to begin with), even if they can’t bear to part with the item in question. Downloadable titles on any service do not offer this ability in any sense. I can’t resell them, I can’t transfer them, I can’t do anything with them except leave them on my account.

    If these things don’t affect the value of an item and, thus, how fair the price is, I really don’t know what does. I think people are really simplifying the overall argument in some ways.

  22. siara79 Says:

    Interestingly, while this takes into account the material costs, it doesn’t take into account other things.

    For example, I no longer have my NES, my SNES and Genesis work half the time, and I never had a NeoGeo/TurboGraphx. Physical copies of games like Super Metroid, the batteries may be dead or dying, and unless you want to exchange the battery there’s no longer a working save feature.

    I’m on a computer 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. I don’t want to get back on my computer and play a ROM that may or may not work. $5 or $10 is worth it to me to be able to sit on my couch with my cat and play the games I loved on the big screen. Plus it enables me to play games I would have little to no luck finding these days (i.e. my husband is currently playing Shining in the Darkness).

    People that want to hate on it are going to no matter what. But for some of us, the ability to play old games, with working save features, somewhere OTHER than a PC is worth that little fee.

  23. Hank Says:

    Very cool data.
    If you remove a lot of the “loser” vc titles, the disparity between prices becomes even more apparent.

    What I like though, is the change of attitude toward’s the backlist, to get it out there again.
    And maybe most importantly, 100% of those sales on the vc go to the game companies, unlike ebay, or ebgames where they don’t get a thing.

  24. Morning Toast Says:

    Or for NES games you can buy the PowerPak at RetroUSB and have *all* NES games (and imports) at your disposal for a mere $130. Sounds like a lot, but considering the price breakdown above it’s practically a steal. Of course, you need the hardware but far worth it in my opinion.

    The catch with the VC games is you’ll need to buy the Wii Classic controller, which is only $20, but nonetheless a requirement for many of those games.

    I see the real advantage of VC games is the non-Nintendo consoles. Very cool…especially those T16 games.

    Very interesting to see what the used carts cost though. Really puts a perspective on things.

  25. Leroy Says:

    Because it’s a series that I really love, I can help fill in an enpty spot on your list. The last few times I have seen the US version of Dynastic Hero listed on eBay (and believe me, it is beyond the normal definition of rare) the prices have been between $400 and $500. Of course, the Japanese version can be had for a Hamilton and the US Sega Genesis version of the same game, Wonderboy in Monster World, can be had for about the same, as noted in your list.

  26. Bob Says:

    I have to agree with many of the above comments. While this is an interesting analysis and the mainstream gaming media seems to have picked up on it as a feel-good story, I don’t really think the basis of the comparison is accurate. As someone else noted, having a physical game means you can resell it down the road and you also have a tangible asset on your shelf for years to come. If my Wii dies or if Nintendo refuses to make their next system backward license compatible with the VC, you have really lost that money you spent on downloads. Similarly, I can’t lend a friend a VC download and I can’t take a download over to a friend’s house or a classic gamer gathering. Finally, the use of Ebay prices without a much longer track record is a poor comparison point. Lots of those games have gone for much less, especially if it’s cartridge or disc only, which is still more than you get with a VC download.

  27. Benj Edwards Says:

    Re: Bob and others

    The comparison presented above is completely accurate because it’s comparing dollars vs. dollars, nothing else. You can spend your money on either means (Used or VC) to the same end (playing the game). What this study does not do, however, is compare the value of each option. It discusses value in the section entitled “Is Cheaper Really Better?” (which mentions some of the most common concerns I’ve read) but we cannot objectively and quantitatively compare value since that is based on subjective criteria and must be decided on an individual basis.

    Either way, thanks for your comments, everybody!

  28. Arpleggi (L) Says:

    I think the chart should have a Cartidge / Vc price ratio. It should say, for example, VC price: 72% cartrigde price. Also, you have to consider that, many of the games are cheaper in cartridge, but the ones that are more expensive are like 3 times more expensive.

  29. Sub Says:

    It really depends on the game: while SMB1, for example, is an all-time great, I outright scoff (scoff!) at the idea of paying $5, again, for it when I own it so many times over in so many other formats. Meanwhile, fairly rare Treasure games like Alien Soldier and Sin and Punishment are no-brainer purchases for me, because they’re both fantastic games that– as an enthusiast but not a collector– I wouldn’t put up the money for physical copies of. Value’s so subjective! Also, iTunes may cost .99 a song, but last I checked the videogame business, particularly ol’ Nintendo, hasn’t been in the kind of desperate situation that the record labels have been.

    Great read, by the way.

  30. Chris Denner Says:

    The problem with basing the information of current value prices for classic games found on websites such as eBay and Amazon, are that, most people, when bidding on eBay and purchasing on Amazon, take into effect the shipping, handling, insurance, taxes and even the cost of purchasing a money order from their local shop, into the final price of the product they are about to purchase. Not to mention that on auction sites like eBay, there is no “fixed” value… just the appearance of whatever the final bid happens to be at any given time. None of this is reflected in the article above, however.

    Back in 2002/2003, I purchased a brand new copy of Super Turrican 2 for SNES on eBay for 83¢. 2 weeks later, someone purchased the exact same thing for $69.99 BIN. Where would the value of THIS game fall, based on those purchases?

  31. Phil Says:

    Great analysis, and very informative! I wanted to point out that the list of NES games is actually missing two that were out as of the 24th in the US: Wario’s Woods, which was a launch title for the VC, and Adventures of Lolo 2, which released on Monday the 21st. The value of Wario’s Woods on has consistently hovered around $10 (right now it’s 9.97) and the value of Lolo 2 is currently $18.19 on the site. Checking eBay, I saw that most of the current auctions for the game are started/bidding over $10, so that looks about right. If you add those values to the NES, then Used Price becomes $300.69 and VC price becomes $298.00, making the VC cheaper by a hair.

  32. Benj Edwards Says:

    Great point, Chris. That is indeed a weakness of using eBay as a source. But overall, it’s probably still a pretty good indicator of the games’ current prices, even if they are inflated a bit on average due to the nature of eBay. Maybe JJ can address this with a comment?

    On the other hand, did you ever think that your 83-cent Super Turrican 2 might have been the freak occurrence instead of the other way around? I’m not saying it was, but taking that effect into consideration, the eBay prices might “even out” some in aggregate.

  33. Chris Denner Says:

    To be honest, the VC games are probably even a greater value compared to the original games, when you factor in all that extra cost. So, it certainly isn’t going to hurt the Wii’s catalog. But it does give then VC an unfair advantage.

    As to the Super Turrican 2 experience… it was actually pretty weird. The seller seemed to have about 30 unopened copies of both that title, and another title, Troddlers, which I also purchased for $2.50 as I recall. Probably worked at a store and came upon an unopened case somewhere.

    But Instead of listing them as a single auction, multiple availability, they were all separate auctions, and many of them passed WITHOUT a bid. I do know the game would generally get decent bids back then for used copies, so I’m sure a new copy with a starting bid of 5¢ would have brought in a lot.

    But, for whatever reason, people weren’t bidding on this guy’s auction. Yet, I’d see people spending $10 for used copies at the same time. I do kind of feel bad for the guy that spent $70 on something he could have got for under a buck.

  34. Iphreak Says:

    To argue that the prices of VC games are too high across the board is absurd. If you can’t fork 5 bucks to play mario 3 or zelda conveniently from one place (other than your computer illegally) you’re cheap. Now dont get me wrong, would I pay the same $5 to play ice climber on my shiny white box?! Hell no! But that’s what we call user discretion. And you’re right I could go out and buy a 28 game bundle for ps1 for $20 but 24 of those games I’ll never play so its a wash. AND I have to hook up another game system to play four games. So I will gladly pay a small premium for these classic titles.
    Same with the other consoles on board. $10 for occorana of time? Heck, I’d pay $20 if I didn’t already have the cube rerelease. Star fox 64 is a bargain.
    I guess what my point is, is that l the pricing should be adjusted to quality and replay value of the game ($2 for ice climber is fair). Or maybe a rental system? I’m not knockin anyone on the forum but its up to us to decide which games that are worth our money.

  35. L Says:

    Hi, I noticed that you couldn’t come up with a figure for Dyanstic Hero.

    That’s because the game is INCREDIBLY RARE.

    The last time I saw it on eBay, it topped out at $300.00!

    Digitpress has this game’s value listed as $250.00.

  36. Ren Says:

    The problem here is, IMO, that people don’t understand where the money is actually going. While probably every game actually published by Nintendo and Konami is available, you’ll note the distinct lack of Squaresoft games (Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy series) as well as the Illusion of Gaia series (a favourite for many). This is probably due to Nintendo not owning the publishing rights for other than the original platforms and it is uncertain how much they’d have to pay for those rights. And you can bet on it that they’ll want money for it.

    Also, it may simply be that some large publishers are waiting to see how popular the VC becomes. 7.8 million total downloads in a year isn’t too bad, but it isn’t all that much, either. And they might want separate treatment for some “better-quality” games, while Steve Jobs has proven with iTunes that a single price brings best profit.

    Still, considering that the companies could easily just sell them ‘as-is’, with no remastering anything, I don’t know why Squaresoft is holding out on those sweet, sweet titles. It’d be more money than they’re making off it atm, anyway…

    Personally, I’d like to know what kind of ownership Nintendo is actually selling. If your Wii breaks down and/or blows up, do you get to re-download the games? If/when you switch to the next-gen system, will you be able to migrate your VC collection?

    Emulation, while being considered abandonware by many, has made a lot of leaps recently. If you know what you’re doing, you’ll probably be better off using an emulator than an original system or even the VC. Once the VC offers frame-advance, more RPG titles and starts keeping top score on speedruns, I’ll bloody well buy a Wii just for that.

    Maybe they’ll even translate the Sailor Moon RPG and Chrono Trigger 2 (Radical Dreamers) this time around… that’d be sweet. Here’s to hoping

  37. jman Says:

    I’ve tried out the various NES, SNES, NeoGeo, TG16, etc. emulators. Some work really well and some you spend more time configuring your control pad and other various configurations (sound, video size, window vs. non-windowed, to try to get rid of some minor yet extremely irritating bug. Then there are the clone consoles, most of which are based on the NOAC (NES On A Chip) concept. Reviews of nearly all of the clone consoles indicate that both graphics and sound reproduction are less than desirable, and in most cases the console and gamepad construction are equally cheap…not anything like the original NES. Sure, emulators for your computer and clone consoles are cheaper (and in some cases the legality is questionable). If you only want to see and hear a crude translation of your favorite old school game to satisfy a 5-minute fix then either of these options should suit you. But if you actually want to play through your favorite games again, I would suggest the Wii virtual console so that you can enjoy it on your HDTV, in surround sound and using a higher quality controller. Enjoy!

  38. n Says:

    in response to Iphreak’s post the point I was getting at was that while you’re paying a “premium” others are paying far less for the same game while getting many more good games as a whole. Further more while you would not play 24 of those game I probably would. To each their own. Personally though I don’t think retro gamers are interested in playing the same games they use to play for the the price Nintendo is asking because they know the software is not worth nearly that much. Take for instance the SNK Playmore, they are going to release a compilation disk with all the SNK virtual console games (+ many more) for other consoles at a lower price. I was not saying that people should rush out a buy a new system, I was just illustrating what the actual prices would be for the games since they are still in syndication. It was also to show what the developers think are a fair price for the software since there is nothing vintage about it.

    Again I never disagreed with the convenience of having only one system to play these games nor do I disagree with the research data in this article. That said it has been already pointed out that Nintendo dose not see the vc being as successful as they had hoped (they are at least hesitant to call it a success like xbox live) and thats because the prices are not mainstream for general retro gamers who just want to play the software. Its not worth it, you might as well wait for original content to show up. Its perfect for the casual though. Ultimately the virtual console is cheaper compared to hard to find hardware but still unreasonable, and like you have pointed out, some game do not deserve the price they are given. You have some good idea though with the whole pricing based on content though. I think demos of vc games like what smash brothers x is doing is better than renting imo.

    Finally I doubt anyones cheap here, anyone who works can afford these games however I think the majority just realizes that they can stretch their bucks spending power for better. Don’t get me wrong I would not mind getting mega man 2 for 5 bucks but if thats the case I might as well just buy the mega man collection (gc) for less than 20 and get some of the other good mega man games to boot while ultimately paying less than what I would pay for just the one game alone. Its just a better deal. You like to pay more for less which is fine but many prefer otherwise.

  39. jfatz Says:

    This would make sense only if things like “Hey, look at how expensive Bubble Bobble is! ($20.98) I really want that!” didn’t also come in “hey, look at how cheap ‘Taito Legends’ is, which includes Bubble Bobble and Elevator Action ($10 VC) and 27 other games besides!”

    You’re looking only at original carts, ignoring things like eBay sellouts (people do buy in bulk), ignoring compilations and any other release source… You’re even pulling from one source (thereby ignoring the benefits of comparison shopping), and one that accounts for “collector’s value” as well, and ignores even single-game re-releases on a newer system. (Such as Shining Force on GBA.)

    The reason VC is expensive is because for the most part, it’s all been released before. For newer systems, and for way cheaper. (Excepting Nintendo’s own, who rarely release collections, and certainly not “cheap collections” of their games.)

    Just for fun, let’s look at a nice collection discrepency: The Sega Smash Pack 2 includes 7 games, four available on VC. Your “Used Total” for those four (Sonic 2, Kid Chameleon, Comix Zone, and Shining Force) comes to $49.19. The VC total comes to $32. How much can I get a NEW copy of SSP2 on Amazon for? $9. Save a few bucks on used, too.

    …can you see how the simplistic comparison you use is hugely misleading?

  40. jfatz Says:

    Sega Smash Pack 2, interestingly, has the same kind of discrepency versus VC (since it’s got 4 games); $8 versus $32 (VC). But it’s only ~$15 on the “Used Price” chart.

    Meanwhile, it includes four other unavailable games (some of which are better than most or are largely unavailable): Vectorman, Super Shinobi, Outrun, Phantasy Star 2.

    I can plainly go on, but I’m not the one trying to “prove a point” about VC pricing, or used cartridges.

  41. jfatz Says:

    Even the highly-collectible and unknown-pricing of “Dynastic Hero” has been put in a collection, though at the moment only in Japan. But it’s a slightly-altered version of Wonderboy V: Monster World III made for the TurboGraphx-16, and you can get ALL the Wonderboy series in Sega Ages #29, which makes it… hey! Cheap again!

    Imagine that.

  42. Benj Edwards Says:


    Were the article a comparison of game re-release compilations versus VC purchases, your criticism would make sense. However, the article is about the price of original used copies of individual games verses the price of VC downloads, nothing more. It’s not a study of how cheap you can get a particular game from any source. Like I said before, the value judgment of each option is up to the individual gamer.

  43. jfatz Says:

    Incorrect, simply because the author is using only ONE interpretation:

    “Yet almost instantly after its launch, people began complaining about how much VC games cost. The most common argument against the VC pricing scheme (aside from the illegal emulator option) is the presumed “low price” of the original games if you bought them used.”

    People complain about the cost because of how it compares to obtaining the game from ANY SOURCE. Not simply “used carts from the original system,” which–as previously stated–also have rarity and collectibility on their side. Obviously people wanting to buy a VC game only want to play the game… they don’t care about the physical medium it comes on, resellability, collectibility…

    They complain because the companies have previously set prices on their older/oldest games through all the collections they’ve released, but suddenly EVERY game is up to at least $5 a pop. $8-10 has gotten pretty common, too, even for ones that have been bundled with dozens of other games in $20 collections released for other systems.

    I can understand why they don’t want to force a bundle on a system where internal storage is a large consideration, but still… They’ve not enhancing the titles; they don’t have demos; they’ve already released them at way lower prices, and they’re not aspiring to “impulse purchase” rates for a lot of them either. Some games can command the higher prices, but many/most are the kind of “filler” game that gets used to pad those collections around one or two major titles anyway, and many more are just preying on quick nostalgic fulfillment on a game that will be picked up once or twice, but is nowhere near good enough to stand the test of time.

    The study is flawed because this is quite specifically NOT the complaint people have about VC titles and pricing; it’s a singular, minor, complaint the author wishes to highlight and give undue emphasis so as to say “stop whining!” The whole article is stressing saving money and if the VC pricing is a “rip-off,” so how can you say that including only the MOST expensive alternative is the way to judge savings and “rip-off-ess-ness?”

    The people complaining and primarily doing so SPECIFICALLY because of the prevalence of title collections on earlier consoles, and the prices those collections effectively “set.” It seems that Wii owners are miffed mainly at how the popularity of the system itself has jumped the value of even tremendously old titles up a lot higher, trying to capitalize on the success of the system, not of their old games.

  44. jonny Says:

    Maybe the people who still complain about prices, could go and work for Nintendo’s VC department for free.

  45. Baines Says:

    The price comparisons are flawed because a handful of titles spike the total cart prices. There is a limit to how much a dud can lower the average cart price, but there is no limit to how much a rare cart can raise it. With $5 for a VC NES price, it would take three *free* carts to counter the NES Bubble Bobble cart.

    Look at the Genesis list. Remove one game, Alien Soldier, and the list goes from the VC total being cheaper by $50 to the VC total being more expensive by $40.

    As well, as has been mentioned in several responses already, the pricing of other emulation and port packaging is relevant to the theme of the original article. Some of these games have been released in much cheaper forms, particularly in compilation discs. Even some of the NeoGeo fighters are available in better value compilations.

    Of course, there is also the detail that cart prices do not accurately measure the desire to play those titles. Cart prices are driven by the collection market as well as people who actually want to play the titles. Bonk’s Big Adventure may run $200 in cart form, but that doesn’t guarantee anyone would pay $200 for it in Wii VC form.

    A better comparison would probably be to judge how cart prices vary against the VC pricing for that system. For example, how many games are under the VC price point versus how many are over it, with acknowledgement for special high price cases. Or if you could somehow come up with some agreeable “wish lists” of games to compare prices on, so that duds like Donky Kong Jr Math don’t contribute as much as Zelda to the overall results.

    Of course, including prices from other methods of getting the games would be really good. Heck, Nintendo once gave Zelda, Zelda II, Ocarina of Time, and Majora’s Mask away for free with a (regular priced) subscription to Nintendo Power. The magazine price itself was less than the combined VC prices for Zelda 1, 2, and OoT.

  46. Armand Says:

    You’ll never convince people that they’re getting a bargain when you’re comparing a collectible item with a finite production and variable rarity vs. an unlimited amount of “virtual” property.

    The truth of the matter is that people are not complaining about the overall prices, but the lack of thought or effort into a realistic price point for each game.

    Sure, rare and unreleased games may warrant the existing price points, but how many people feel taken advantage of when seeing nickel and dime NES games at a full $5 price tag… I do remember getting Super Mario Bros. for a quarter at FuncoLand.

    Nintendo Power used to rate these games, and the consumer has plenty of people willing to give their opinions on retro-gaming… Nintendo having the balls to put up games worth less than a dollar, that they themselves scored low in their magazine at the same price as some much desired classics is what leaves a sour taste in the mouth of gamers.

  47. insanest Says:

    TMNT on the NES was released in the US – The reason it costs $6 is due to licensing fees.

  48. 6 Minute Ass Says:

    This analysis is flawed on several levels. Most importantly, it fails to consider that the very availability of these games on Virtual Console will inevitably drive down the prices of their used cartridge equivalents. Effectively, VC and cartridge games will price-compete against each other, until the cartridge prices balance themselves against the newly adjusted supply (and if Nintendo eventually cuts their ridiculous download prices, the cycle will repeat).

  49. gabbahey Says:

    I found this article very fun but there are a few comments I would like to make. First, let me go out on a limb to say that the best and most practical way to enjoy these old games is thru the magic of emulation. As someone who has been using emulators for more than ten years I can say that they are now incredibly sophisticated and safe pieces of software that allow for things that nintendo will never be willing to supply. Fan translations of unreleased japanese gems like Sweet Home(NES) and Super Robot Wars 3(SNES) are reason alone to join the dark side – let alone options like network play and console versions of emulators available for XBOX, Gamecube and the PSP. I enjoy searching for RAM cheats sometimes more than playing an old games. The “gamma” option on several emulators gives that “washed out” look that is really how I want to view an old NES games. A case study: There is a spectacular NES emulator for the GBA(pocketnes) that has many awesome features like moving games to another gameboy’s memory(until it is turned off) for two player play and sprite following(wherein the original graphics size is kept but the main sprite is followed). Nintendo used this release(and took some of its code!) as a reference point for its emulated versions of old nintendo games but did not include these fun and superior options. Instead you get a squished, watered down emulation of the game. It is the same with the VC: no options. With that said, it is teh badazz that they are even looking into their back catalog as a way of giving people who don’t want to fool with the tech of emulation some obsolete joy.

  50. Brad Says:

    Why not just use

  51. Bill Says:

    I wish they had considered using GameTap’s model. I would have happily paid $10 a month for access to all of the games. I have only purchased 4 VC titles since launch at $34 total. While I am sure that most fans have spent more than I have, I am sure that there are some who have spent less than the $150 that a $10 a month subscription would have cost up to this point. With the storage limitations of the Wii I wouldn’t feel bad if I ran out of space and had to delete a game becasue I would be able to download it again later for no extra money. Plus, if I didn’t like the game I downloaded I wouldn’t have felt ripped off. Also, since Nintendo is aiming at the casual market, the casual Wii owner might be more inclined to spend $10 a month of disposable income for access to an ever (slowly) growing library of games as opposed to spending $10 on just one or two games that may or may not be any good.

  52. Steve Says:

    I buy classic games for fun and not the investment factor. The convenience of playing games on the Wii is just too great. I actually gave up my SNES and N64 collection when the Wii came out knowing I’d just download my favorite games onto my Wii. I did keep my NES collection – too many memories in collecting them to give it up.

    I do worry about a few things:

    1) What’s going to happen with these downloads when the Wii’s successor is released? Will Nintendo transfer them to the new system?

    2) When’s Nintendo going to update the Wii’s main menu so that I have more channels available?

    3) When’s Nintendo going to support the SD card or an external device for people with collections that exceed the internal flash limit?

    4) What if my Wii breaks today or 10 years from now. Will Nintendo fix the system and restore my games? I had a launch-day Wii repaired and Nintendo screwed up my VC collection. I even had to forfeit a few games (they compensated me with a free classic controller) I just don’t have confidence that Nintendo’s going to do the right thing in the future when customers run into hardware failures because I’ve already been screwed by their service.

    But, on the other hand, cartridges are even more unreliable and all the battery-backup games will soon have dead batteries if they don’t already.

  53. Benj Edwards Says:

    Honestly, dead batteries in cartridges are easily replaced if you know how, and only a small percentage of games use battery-backed saves. The rest of the cartridges are good indefinitely if you keep them clean. The masked ROMs inside them have no definite shelf life I’m aware of.

  54. Bob Says:

    I don’t agree with your comments in response to many of the comments above. Whether you realize it or not, you’re not really just providing a neutral analysis of the costs of owning the actual games versus the Virtual Console version and leaving it to gamers to decide which is the better value. You have at several places in your article attempted to make the argument that the Virtual Console is somehow a good deal or at least a better deal than some have accused it of being. I still believe it’s overpriced as do many others when you factor in the value of actually owning the physical games. Your article does nothing to disprove that opinion despite what the concluding sentence of your article says.

    I would argue that just comparing prices does nothing because it’s like comparing renting a car against owning the same car. You can drive both of them and the rental car is always cheaper in the short run, but the type of people who would rent a car (travelers, business people, people waiting for their car to be repaired) is a lot different than the people who own them. As someone who owns a car, renting one makes poor economic sense. I suppose if my car breaks down or I have to go on business travel, renting will make financial sense. So, it’s just not a good comparison. They are two very different models which have very different markets.

  55. Loren Says:

    It all depends on your perspective, Bob. The article mentions the benefits of owning the actual games over VC titles as well.

  56. Kristoff Says:

    Vc games are reasonably priced and the complaint that you have to buy the classic games controller well if you want to use your original controllers hop on over to and pick up the nes or snes port for the wii and use your favorite controllers for those but they still dont have ports for the others yet.But thats not really what I was coming on here to write about now this isnt a option for the bulk of people but with regards to original consoles and carts if your traveling in europe primarily eastern europe you can pick up a real brand new Nes (note not a famiclone)for real cheap it looks identical to the ones sold over here in the 80’s and even works the same not to mention the nes carts come boxed and shrink wrapped the system has a nintendo copy write of 2002 ***note I picked up bubble bobble part 2 (not rainbow islands) smb 1 2 3 mega man 1 -4 original bubble bobble Mario bros arcade classics Donkey kong 1 jr & 3 Ivan stewarts offroad racing tetris 1 and 2 dr mario Punch out Arkanoid w/ paddle controller & river city ransom all of these games plus the new console equaled out to $50.00 usd so that would blow the original vs vc pricing out of the water but its not a fair comparision but you can get everything cheap just gotta travel through a 3rd or 2nd world country

  57. Geoff V Says:

    What’s great about this article is the amount of information the author provided. If you want to hand pick a few of the games to do your own research, Hendicks has done much of the hard work for you. He gave you the data pool he drew from, so you can drawn your own conclusions whether or not VC is a good deal FOR YOU.

    Frankly, the venom seeping out from a few of the replies is sickening. We are still talking about “the video games,” right?

  58. ULAF SILCHOV Says:


  59. jfatz Says:

    It’s the internet. Venom is what it does! 😉

    Meanwhile, the main complaint is that the list isn’t very sufficient for determining the “good deal”ism of VC in general, just versus one source. And the least “good deal” source you can find.

    Certainly he’s under no obligation to do a ton of research FOR us, but when determining the real value of something, alternative sources should at least be MENTIONED in the equation. (Legal ones. Not the pointless emulator comments we’ve seen a number of posts for.) Collections and compilations, and for what systems…? Not even mentioned, and they’re a HUGE part of the “value” equation.

    IMHO, they’re by far and away the largest part.

  60. Loren Says:


    There’s no point in arguing about value, since it is always subjective. Read this comment:

  61. Tonberry_Hunter Says:

    Um my XBOX 1 plays anything I want from Atari to Playstation full speed and with all the video options you could ever want. The sound is perfect and the video is as well. I think its funny that people argue that emulators dont look as good as the VC.. lol Also there is nothing inconvenient to me about turning on my xbox and cycling through my emulator list in avalunch. Nintendo should be selling the real thing and not code. I have spent more money on real games then most people could imagine. Never would I pay for a ROM regardless of anything else. You can walk down to any thrift store or yard sale and pick up games cheaper then Nintendo sells them for on VC regardless of what this article says. This whole thing cheapens the whole point of collecting and playing old games. its lame .. I need to stop

    P.S. my psp can play anything as well .. lol I feel like new age nintendo people are no different then new age mac users.. “hey its simple” lol

  62. Gnuoy Says:

    Just for the record, you can find decent emulators of anything older than the PS1 for the PS2, and many of those support loading ROMs though USB pendrives. The SNES one even have a save state feature, and worked with 98% of the games that I tried.

  63. Y0u Says:

    One flaw here is that a couple of outliers can really drive up the price of the total original carts. Take out Alien Soldier and the actual Genesis carts are cheaper than the VC; the same applies to Bonk 3.

    Also, it’s hard to judge market value of a game from a single Ebay auction or asking price (which is sometimes all has.) Just because somebody is asking $200 for Bonk 3 doesn’t mean it’s worth that much on the market, especially if nobody buys it.

    Still though, this is very interesting data if it’s taken for the imperfect data that it is.

  64. NoSuchMethod Says:

    I can’t help but laugh at all the “but emulators are illegal” comments.
    Disregarding market forces because of their legality isn’t being moral, it’s being naive.

    They tried that with the War on Drugs and look what happened with that.

    Neither Nintendo nor her customers can ignore the $0.00 emulator option because that really IS the competition. The wide availability and the impossibility of enforcing century-old intellectual property law on an electronic market guarantee as much (You can be fair-sure Nintendo doesn’t want to fall into the Napster pit-trap). For the Virtual Console to have value, the price has to be justified by the ease and convenience that having these games on the Wii affords.

    Personally, I think they probably overpriced the titles by $1-$2 a pop. $5 a piece sets off a red flag in the consumer mind that $4 doesn’t. On the other hand, Nintendo may have turned a great deal more benefit from providing the vintage games at no-cost and just using them to sell Wii’s and accessories.

  65. Nintendo360 Says:

    First let me say that I have been a proud owner of an Xbox 360 for awhile now and recently purchased a Wii, in part, because I heard such great things about the Virtual Console dowloads. I must admit being able to play some classic NES, SNES and Genesis games has it’s appeal but after comparing the two services, Xbox Arcade is truly a better service.

    The largest and most glaring problem with the Virtual Console is the lack of demos. Every Xbox Arcade game, whether it’s a re-emulated throwback or a new title has a FREE playable demo. I think by adding one free level of every virtual console game for FREE would allow people to make a better choice on what they buy.

    Second it’s clear a lot of thought went into the titles on XBox arcade. TMNT the arcade verison, SF2 the arcade version, centipiede, gauntlet. With the Virtual Console it looks like they went for quantity over quality. I mean Contra III? TMNT 1? These are piles of crap. Why would you have Super Mario 1,2,3 and no Super Mario All-Stars?

    Finally, I don’t care what the comparrison says. Paying $5 for an 8-bit game that could fit on a 3.5 disk, released 25 years ago is a RIP OFF!! These games should have been $1 maybe $2

  66. Alienform Says:

    Powerpak from = $135.00

    Original NES Hardware = $45- $60 average on E-bay

    Total cost = $180.00

    Play on original hardware and original games no port or emulation!

    Wow Amazing!

  67. DSP2 Says:

    Virtual console is a good alternative.
    It is expensive, ”Even though I payed for them”

    Comparing the Legend of Zelda ”The real thing” VS ”Wii Virtual console” I prefer the real thing.

    The real thing is something physical you can hold rather then a piece of software on your memory. The picture and sound emulation is ”Too” perfected due to emulation, which makes the sound and picture crippled at some points where the real thing seems to have no problems at all.


    A fake is a fake and no matter how much you dress it up, the real thing always wins!

  68. jay Says:

    hi… im just curios… where can i sell my vintage nintendo nes console and its games and controllers?… thanks…

  69. TNLongFellow Says:

    Okay, late to the party but here is a couple of things to think about. Go out and buy that cart. Yes, we all love them so much and have stacks of them. However….. You just paid 25.00 for the cart to some “shadow” on e-bay. Great deal for that old game you loved as a youngster right? Of course it is as your price paid was cheaper than the original price right?! Sure was. Until it arrives at your house and you find out Mr. E-Bay sold you a game that doesn’t work or worse yet a game that had been opened up and have the ROM swapped out for Ice Climber (that happened to a friend of mine who had paid 150.00 for an NES game).

    Yes, the compilation disks are great things indeed to have. Yes they can be gotten for the cheap, sometimes! It all depends on the titles on the disk!

    However, also take this into account. Playing a compilation disk on the X-Box of and classic is not the same as playing it on the original system as the code has been modified to run on the different system or it loads an emulation program for more of the old flavor.

    The simple answer here is this: A video game is worth exactly what YOU the consumer is willing to pay for it. If you want to keep your older systems hooked up to play those old titles (I have a 19″ old TV set up for just that purpose) then that maybe a viable option for you depending on your space. However, if you just want a playable version of an old favorite maybe the VC cost is the best way to go.

    And to all those who are saying ROMs and emulators bear in mind one thing. You have no idea if the ROM you are DLing is what is claims to be or is even clean. Remember that in many cases those go through many a hand before being DLed to your system. Some people are not as nice about such things as other people are. If you want to run the risk of Trojans, Keyloggers, and other such little nasties go ahead. You maybe not ever have that problem. Or maybe you already do and just don’t know it.

    One more thing to think about, how many of your PS3 owners pass up the free games you get a Prime Members saying “Forget that crap, I want the disc not a ROM!”, my guess would be not so many considering the number of DL’s those get all the time…..