While the Nintendo Wii doesn't go on sale in the US for a few more hours, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime confirmed for GameSpot today that the first owners of the system will be able to get online and download classic games right out of the box.
Already on the Virtual Console, users can purchase Wii Points and download games from older systems. NES games cost 500 Wii Points ($5), Super NES and Sega Genesis games are 800 Wii Points ($8), and Nintendo 64 games are 1,000 Wii Points ($10). There weren't any TurboGrafx-16 games on the service at press time, but Nintendo has said pricing for those will start at 600 Wii Points ($6).
While the games are expected to be faithful re-creations of the originals instead of the type of revamped or rearranged arcade classics that have been sold on the Xbox 360's Marketplace, GameSpot editors found at least one new trick had been added. After quitting a session of Sonic the Hedgehog back to the Wii channel menu, and then loading the game back up, the editors found that the Wii had automatically saved the editors' place in the game and resumed play right where it had left off. Also, while downloading games, users are shown a Mario-themed progress bar that shows the mascot plumber or his brother Luigi running across the screen, hitting coin blocks and collecting coins off the ground.
Nintendo announced last month that the following titles would be available on the Virtual Console by the end of the year. Games already confirmed to be up on the service today are italicized.
The Legend of Zelda
Donkey Kong Jr.
Super Mario 64
Sonic the Hedgehog
Ecco the Dolphin
Space Harrier II
Toe Jam & Earl
Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine
Super Star Soldier