With the launch of the Wii and it’s online capabilities Nintendo saw an opportunity to expose it’s formidable backlog of classic games to all the new gamers their little white box was attracting. They dubbed it the virtual console and they regularly added games from all kinds of classic consoles, not only Nintendo’s own.
On the WiiU the virtual console is now also present but it’s not an continuation of the Wii’s virtual console. In fact the two are seperate. You need not worry that your old games are lost because you can still access them through the WiiU’s Wii-mode (as long as you transferred your old Wii to the WiiU). So what are the benefits of the the WiiU’s virtual console? They are some minor improvements like the support HDTV’s with their higher resolution but the main advantage is that you can play the virtual console games on the Gamepad alone. Since both Virtual Consoles can (and already do) contain the same games you don’t have to pay the full price for the Virtual Console games you already own. Getting the updated version costs one or one-and-a-half buck for the NES and SNES games respectively.
One of the recent major additions to the WiiU’s Virtual Console is arguably the best NES iteration of the Mario franchise: Super Mario Bros. 3. This release brings a true representation of that classic game. For those that have forgotten this is the game that introduced the world map and the original Tanooki (or raccoon) suit that recently had a comeback in Super Mario 3D albeit without the semi-flying ability. It offers the full 8 worlds of classic Mario platforming.
But newcomers beware! The original Mario games are not for the faint of heart. Main reason for this is that these games do not allow you to save your progress. So you need to beat it in one single go (shocking, I know). The game does includes to classic warp whistles that help get through the game quicker but saving is not part of the package. Luckily the Virtual Console provides some help here as it allows you to freeze the game so you can put it down and come back to it later.
Super Mario Bros.3 is a true classic as it lays out the template all (2D) Mario’s after it have been following. The Virtual Console provides a true experience including all the limitations of the original providing the same classic (and potentially frustrating) experience. The Virtual Console helps out a bit by allowing a freeze and resume function. But the main added bonus is being able to play the game on the gamepad alone.