Virtual Console Now Open on Wii U

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Nintendo has opened the digital vaults on the Wii U, spilling eight classic games onto the Virtual Console service:

Balloon Fight

Donkey Kong Jr.

Excitebike

Ice Climbers

Kirby’s Adventure

Punch Out

F-Zero

Super Mario World

If some of those appear familiar, most were available during the Virtual Console promotion Nintendo has been running for a few months, selling these digital files for 30 cents.

The Wii Virtual Console expanded as far as the arcade, busting out hits from multiple generations. This slate is… not so impressive. Virtual Console games will not move hardware units, but for those who are currently in ownership of the Wii U, something to play is better than nothing. Why not flood the service with 50 titles or more, if only to get people into the eShop, spending money, and using the tablet controller? Why hold back now?

As a longtime collector and adamant defender of physical media, none of the initial offering are of interest. I own them already. However, on the Wii, I purchased a number of games I did not own. No doubt I would do the same for the Wii U despite Nintendo’s lackadaisical approach to accounts and DRM. I can see celebrating Nintendo’s own greatness for the initial flurry, and even holding back Zelda titles until nearer the release of new entries on 3DS or Wii U.

However, without something obscure or rarely seen in this mix, it feels like this Virtual Console is going through the most predictable  and safe of motions.