The Wii's Virtual Console has quickly become a premier destination for gamers to get their hands on titles from days gone by on myriad systems. In addition to the NES, Super Nintendo, and Nintendo 64, the Mario Factory has revitalized the antiquated libraries of one-time rivals SNK, NEC, and Sega by rereleasing games from their respective Neo-Geo, TurboGrafx-16, and Genesis systems.
In Japan today, Sega announced that the 16-bit Genesis would be joined by its 8-bit predecessor, the Master System, on the Wii's Virtual Console beginning in February. While a Nintendo of America representative wasn't willing to confirm the information, Sega's Japanese announcement included word that Master System titles delivered through the VC would also surface in North America and Europe.
While not as commercially successful as Nintendo's Famicom/NES, the Master System did help pave the way for Sega's more widely popular Genesis. The Master System also shares close ties to Sega's Game Gear, which featured technical specifications on par with the console. Sega's announcement indicates that the company considers Game Gear titles to be part of the Master System, suggesting those offerings could also appear on the Virtual Console.
The first Master System titles slated for the Japanese Wii VC both hail from 1986. Based on the manga Hokuto no Ken, Fist of the North Star is a side-scrolling beat-'em-up that will run for 600 Wii points (¥600, $6). Also a side-scroller, Fantasy Zone is a shoot-'em-up that substitutes the standard spaceship fare for cutesy characters and will cost Japanese gamers 500 Wii points (¥500, $5).