News Article

Are Virtual Console games good value for money?

Posted by Darren Calvert

Here at VC Reviews we keenly appreciate the advantages of owning Virtual Console games as opposed to tracking down the original cartridge releases from car boot sales and eBay. If anything it frees up our living room from all those consoles, controllers and wires which used to once dominate. However are we getting a good deal? Is it better value for money to track down the original carts of games we used to play back in the days rather than cough up for downloads from the Wii Shop?

The answer to this might be found in some research from Vintage Computing and Gaming website. They recently took up the challenge of comparing the price of VC games against the current eBay average ending prices. Generally speaking most NES games can be bought used for peanuts now so the savings aren’t so great except for a few rarer games such as Bubble Bobble which might sell for $20.

The contrast becomes much more severe when considering TurboGrafx-16 games. Some games like Bonk 3 are so uber rare they will cost you $200 on eBay compared to the $6 Virtual Console price of admission.

Across all the games currently on the North American Wii Shop it was found that you could on average save around 50% on the eBay price by buying the VC version instead. Of course with the Virtual Console you can’t just sell the games on if you get bored of them, but if you pick wisely to begin then this isn't really such a big problem.

Of course there are those of us who just love blowing into their dusty NES cartridge slot and playing the original carts, hey we can’t blame you – nostalgia is a powerful force! Still for those who just want to play the games this seems like positive reinforcement that we are not getting such a bad deal on the VC after all.

Link: Vintage Computing and Gaming

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User Comments (42)



JGMR said:

Is it worth eBaying your collection?

NO! Nothing beats the real thing.



Damo said:

It's certainly true that nothing beats the real thing but sadly not all of us have the space needed to store so much retro stuff. I've recently had to sell most of my retro collection and while I regretted doing it, I'm not as bothered as I possibly could be. The VC has proven that these games can have a life after their host hardware has long since bitten the dust, and I think downloadable retro content is only going to become bigger business as the years tick by.



JGMR said:

I know what u mean, it is only afterwards that such things can be regretted. Wish i still had my 28 Snes cartridges sigh.
Never had to buy wii points if i still had all my games for Nes, Snes, N64 and even Playstation.
Then again, i can still play Super Metroid with the super-confortable Classic controller.
Guess the feeling and nostalgia counts more than the actual hardware.



Shortay said:

Yes and no. Lots of N64 games can be found on eBay for much cheaper, although when the rarer ones start appearing they will be obviously be cheaper cheaper. Some games can be a bit too expensive, and some are a bargain, for example Sin & Punishment.



Jogurt_the_Yogurt said:

I like the VC because I don't have to keep 6 consoles around and in working shape. Another advantage is that you don't have to worry about the built-in batteries dying so you can't save your games (which happened to many of my faves). I also like being able to switch between games with a few button presses rather than swapping out carts.

So even when a game costs a bit extra on the VC, which is true of many NES titles, I feel it's worth it for the convenience and peace of mind.



KoKoO_Psy said:

Jogurt the Yogurt

I fully agree with you, you nailed it!
It is just so much more convenient to have it all in my wii, of course the only miss is controllers, but even then it doesnt really matter.



Bass_X0 said:

I don't regret selling my old games. I needed money at the time to buy new games and my old games were just taking up space being unplayed.
I'm playing the old games more because of Virtual Console. I don't care if I can get games cheaper by buying the actual cartridge - I probably won't play them. Can't be bothered digging out the old console, setting it up then packing it away afterwards. Convenience is something worth paying for.



SpaceBooger said:

The only thing I worry about with VC is what happens when the next system comes out? Will I rebuy more VC games on the Wii2?
I like the ability to play old games but worry about when I stop playing my Wii.



Dazza said:

@SpaceBooger - I wouldn't worry too much about it. Nintendo will be sure to come up with a solution for you to transfer your games to their next console. Lets wait and see eh?



DEMON212 said:

If you have a massive collection, then you can either sell the games while they're still worth alot (Since Paper Mario hit the VC. The price of it on the 64 hs dropped dramatically). Or keep them.

Those choices are hard, because what's ti say that the VC will stop after 2 years?

What's to say that all of your games will hit the VC?

If you have a MASSIVE collection, then I say keep it for now.

But if you're just satrting one. Then the VC's a good place to start



Kawaiipikachu said:

I like the virtual console .
Games i never played i can download .
$15.00 au for a N64 game is cheaper than a recently bought preowned N64 Pokémon stadium 2 game i got for $59.95 au at GameTraders .
But the local Cash Converters sell N64 titles for $12.00 meaning the particularly title has to be in stock .
GameTraders got a huge selection of preowned games including the one i metion which is a rare title for which has instructions & box .
The next thing is to for Nintendo sort out the storage problems as the lastest download left me with 11 blocks left & i can't run them via my 2gb sd card that i bought especially for my Wii .



AchubaNanoia said:

Interesting article!
I'm a big Nintendo fan, and as a kid, I always had the latest console, though to afford it, I would sell it as soon as I got the new one, ever since the NES. Though at the time I didn't have any regrets, I sure wish I still had them . I still own a Master System and just recently sold my Nintendo 64, and here's why:

1- though I'd love to still have the original hardware, space is a huge concern for me, as I live in a small apartment with my girlfriend;
2- whenever I travel, I bring my Wii with me and play all those old games from one single place, and, if I still had all those consoles, it would be very cumbersome to plug all the A/C adaptors and RF-A/V- cables... which leads me to;
3- just a few months ago I bought a 26" LCD TV, which makes my Wii look great, but my Nintendo 64 and Master System looks terrible, while all the old games scale quite well on the Wii;
4- while I do love the N64 controller, let's face it, it's lifespan is really bad, and I was buying almost one new controller per year, and the Classic Controller fells pretty good.

So, just a few comments about the value of the VC games... I'm not sure about money, but when it comes to easy of use and easy of storage, there's not way to beat it!

PS: sorry for my English, I'm from Brazil.



Luigison said:

I think I like the convenience of the VC too much. I've bought about 3 times what I payed for the Wii in VC games. Wow! I just added it all up and I could have bought over four PS3 80 Gigs for what I spent on my Wii, Wii games, contorllers, and VC games. I think I have a problem. Good thing my spouse makes twice my income. Maybe I should get her something special for Valentines day.



Clayfrd said:

To FalloutBR, that was actually very well written. Your English is much better than my second language (Spanish). Anyway, I prefer the VC simply for convenience. Sure, it's great to play the original system, but the gameplay remains the same regardless. Beyond that, I don't feel like hunting down a TG-16 for more than the cost of a Wii just to play a few games.



Clayfrd said:

Ha, Luigison, I have about 20+ VC games myself. This greatly outnumbers my disc collection too!



toaster said:

In my opinion, the VC is my favorite gaming breakthrough ever. I'm 25, and I can't recall how many times in the last 10-12 years I have wished I had my old Nintendo, SNES, Sega, N64 and others, but who has the time or money to track down all of those systems, and still have effort and money to get games to go with all of them, let alone the games I REALLY want. A few years ago, we did find an N64, but after a few Ebay transactions later, it got old having to wait a week or more for the games I wanted. So, it just sort of fizzled out.

Now, while not all the games are available, enough are coming for each system at a pace I can deal with, so I constantly have fresh older games to play, from a time period that I loved, and I hardly notice it monetarily.

In conclusion, I think Nintendo has done the console gamers of the world a great service, and I for one will welcome everything the VC has to offer with open arms, and I hope Nintendo finds it rewarding enough for their wallets to keep on bringing games directly to my television.




Pegasus said:

I have never even owned any of the consoles available on the VC - I didn't get into console gaming until last generation: Dreamcast, Gamecube - so being able to so easily pick up some of these wonderful classics is a great boon for me. Most of the games I've bought so far I would have never gotten to play otherwise. It also is quite nice to be able to have such a variety on just one machine.

Now if we only got a solution for extra storage space instead of having to do the game shuffle onto and from SD card...



El_Oso_Negro said:

Yeah, I'm all about not having a mess of stuff around. I've been selling my carts and replacing them with downloads/ports.

A lot of collector's call me stupid, but all I honestly care about is the actual game.

Say, anyone wanna play FF 2 n' 3 for the SNES?



Sockapal said:

@Luigison: Hey this might seem a bit off topic but Luigison were you ever on the "Dojo" site, for Red Steel? Your name and avatar seem really familiar. I love this VC site btw.



theberrage said:

If only I could take my VC games to play at a friends house (without having to take my wii) then I think they would be a good value for the money. When I buy something, I like the freedom of ownership and being able to do whatever I want with it.



Tim said:

I have a rule not to buy any vc game that I already own in cartridge form. As long as I don't buy the same game twice than I don't feel like I'm being ripped off so much.



Veszerin said:

i once sold my NES games, i sold Mega Man 2 and Super Mario Bros. 3....
I'm sure many of you will agree, that those are 2 of the best games on the NES.
I eventually rebought SMB 3, but to this day, i do not have Mega Man 2 or its crazy box art, in cartridge form




Kevin said:

I love the virtual console. No more freezing, no more crashing and my personal favorite, the addition of suspended play. I do miss my retro cartridge collection but it all comes down to space issues and I just needed more space.



Roo said:

"Are Virtual Console games good value for money?"

No. I went down to my local Gamestation one morning to buy a Wii Points card at £14.99.

I returned home with ten N64 games - good ones - for £10. That's good value! Buying two for £15 clearly isn't in comparison!



uncle_smuck said:

No. Vintage, rare or not somthing on average ten years old is not worth that they charge. Sure it saves some space but when nintendo don't listen to what the VC gamer wants it makes it worse.



strenny said:

Concerning the article, it should be mentioned that the european prices for vc games are a lot higher because the € is worth more than the $. This way vc games are propably still cheaper thatn the originals - but the difference surely is not as significant. I calculated that all available games on the vc cost european Gamers nearly $ 2000 instead of $ 1325. Apart from this, the vc's disadvantages are minor to the benefits i think.



Valien said:

I'm with Jogurt's comment. I have a SNES, N64, GameGear, GBA, GC, PS2 and now a Wii. I can only have so many hooked up to my TV at once or the wife will blow a gasket.

So I have the Wii and PS2 hooked up. I love being able to sit and play VC games on the Wii without worrying about another console, cartridges, etc.

So for me it's a great deal, especially for consoles I've never owned.



Lwaad said:

I recently tried to collect some of the classic systems and games on ebay and found it was a lot more expensive than I originally thought. A large part of the reason I got the Wii was because it was clearly cheaper and superior quality, but with the same nostalgic feel that comes through perfect emulation.

The virtual console helps you avoid paying inflated prices and shipping costs, buying bundles where you have to resell half of it, waiting forever to find the right ebay price, dealing with sellers who rip you off, cleaning overused cartridges, messing up your living room with innumerable controllers, and in the end dealing with 20 year old electronics that are barely holding on. The VC is far superior in my opinion



Zweck36 said:

I love the VC. I love this site. I'm on it everyday before and after my workday.When the Wii came out, I sold all my systems(I owned all of them except Neo Geo and TG-16) except the SNES. I love it too much. I owned at least 20 games for all my systems, except the N64 which I had nine games. I've made over $700 dollars selling everything else, and I"ve spent about $250 on VC games. I don't regret a thing. If Earthbound comes out for the VC, then I will sell my SNES. I think the VC wins in this bout, even though I'm big on nostalga.



donx998 said:

VC is way better than the origanal if you want to see how the game looks just go to here or youtube and besides some old systems eternal batteries die out then you have to buy those re mixed consles that cost 50 bucks and the vc is virtual so it doent freeze up or go slow and you cant lose break or let it die out unless u through your wii out the window sure the origanal is fun and un forgetable but it wont last too long and youll save a whole lot of money



William said:

There is a computer games shop where I live (The Hague), and its a bit like Gamestaion in the UK- It appels to computer game nerds! They sell all kinds of old computer games- at extortionate prices! A long forrgotten Megadrive game that was no good in the first place can set you back 20 euros! (about £15). There is so much junk in that shop that they will never sell about 70% of it!



Kenryoku_Maxis said:

You forgot to mention one thing. The advantage to buying original stuff over 100% Virtual Console products is they will never put everything on Virtual Console.

Square Enix is sure never to put games like the Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest/Warrior series on the VC, nor Chrono Trigger or probably Super Mario RPG. Then you have all the good NES Zapper games which have been flip flopping between maybe or not, but even if they get on the VC, you will never have the satisfaction of holding the real NES Zapper in your hands. How long is it going to take Konami to get Castlevania III over here, if ever? Where's Mischief Makers? I don't think Seiken Densetsu 3 will ever come. And we might have gotten Harvest Moon in Europe, but what about Harvest Moon 64. Will it take a year...or maybe 3 or never?

We can't just discount buying the actual real thing and relying on VC now that its here. I love VC and I've bought 24 games from it. But I've also gone and bought 35 NES, 1 N64 and a host of GB, GBC and GBA games since the Wii has come out. Hard copy real ones. And I can tell you, that's from my view that almost all of those won't be coming to VC.



Jaxathon said:

The only game I own from the NES days is MetalStorm. Hopefully that comes out on the VC really soon



Stuffgamer1 said:

Overall, VC is definately worth the price of admission. If you include shipping, it's almost impossible to get any VC game for less than VC cost online, and specialty stores tend to either overcharge or not have the game you want. Problem is, VC often doesn't have the game you want either, as Kenryoku_Maxis stated. For that, I try to play my dad's NES (works flawlessly, if you can believe it) or SNES. But they're in the living room, which my mom doesn't want me monopolizing (she likes playing old puzzle games like Loopz and Breakthru). So for me, the convience of playing old games in my room is also invaluable. I know there aren't very many of you who are in that same situation (probably none at all), but it's still possible. When Nintendo designed the VC, they made it perfect for more situations than they could possibly have thought of. The only problems remaining are the possibility of replacing or upgrading a system and losing your games, and lack of storage space for games. If they fix those, the VC will, in my opinion, be flawless.



Jogurt_the_Yogurt said:

While it's true that no one's wish list will ever be 100% complete on the VC, we have to remember that there are a lot of people who simply wouldn't buy and play retro games if it weren't for the VC. These casual retro fans will eagerly play the games that are beamed into their living rooms, but wouldn't go out of their way to acquire the old faves that the VC lacks. The effortless acquisition of these games appeals to a huge market.

If the VC doesn't have certain games that I want, I just don't play those games (chances are I've played them to death during my childhood anyway). My gaming time is more than filled with games that are on the VC (and with new Wii games), so I generally don't have time to whine about the classics I'm missing. I'm sure that's true of a lot of Wii owners.



GamerWho said:

Most carts are only expensive on ebay if you want them in the original box with instructions. Otherwise you can pick most carts up for around £5. The main benefit of doing it this way is you get to choose what games you get each week! Ebay is a neccessary evil where I live. In Greater London its quite hard to buy retro anymore as the high street game stores don't bother. Even my local Gamestation has sent their retro collection to a bigger branch (i.e. further away). Shame that, as I used to rinse their Gamecube aisle every other week and bought a few rare MegaCD and Dreamcast titles from their too.



ChocoDK said:

Well I recently got an NES so I will get the carts that way. I won't be buying a SNES or N64 for a long while and have no interest in owning the other systems. The VC is really a great thing and I hope this gets people to stop complaining about the VC prices. Another thing you got to consider when buying games on Ebay is the shipping costs.



HiPNoTyQ said:

I still have my original 64 collection (with ~50 games, no way im getting rid of it any time soon) and I got my old Sega Genesis stuff boxed up in my closet.

However I no longer have my NES and I never owned a SNES so thats what I use my VC for mainly.



MarkyVigoroth said:

Well, loading games of different systems off a console/card, playing them all off the same controller, and swithcing between them with only arm movoments at most all lean me towards Virtual Console.

However, eBaying your collection is too drastic.



Powerglove2 said:

i had to sign up to chime in on this because this is stupid! of course the real deal is expensive because all the VC is, is "emulation" nothing can or ever will substitute for the original of NES, SNES and N64 hardware! EVER! lol
i started collecting 3yrs ago and have amassed a huge old skool Nintendo collection that could easily be a heavy weight contender for top 5 collections in the world and i wouldn't trade that for the world! especially for a VC "emulator"!

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