The Xbox One Just Made A Mockery Out Of Nintendo’s Virtual Console

The Xbox One Just Made A Mockery Out Of Nintendo’s Virtual Console

Thanks to the release of Rare Replay today, Xbox One owners will now be able to play seven Nintendo 64 classics on Microsoft’s console. Nintendo’s current console, the Wii U, only sells people the chance to play six.

While there is an asterisk to this — Wii U owners can buy and play 15 more N64 games through the Wii U’s last-gen “Wii Mode” — this is another sad indictment of Nintendo’s paltry support for its incredible back catalogue.

The Rare Replay compilation runs the following games, which originally were published by Nintendo on the N64:

  • Killer Instinct Gold
  • Jet Force Gemini
  • Blast Corps
  • Conker’s Bad Fur Day
  • Banjo-Kazooie
  • Banjo-Tooie
  • Perfect Dark

The first four of those games run in an N64 emulator. The last three are presented in the form of their Xbox 360 remakes, which improved the graphics but kept the level design largely intact.

Over on the Wii U’s Virtual Console shop, you can buy and download the following Nintendo 64 games:

  • Paper Mario
  • Donkey Kong 64
  • Super Mario 64
  • Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards
  • Mario Tennis
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

That’s seven for Xbox One, six for Wii U.

Enterprising Wii U gamers who click the Wii icon on their Wii U GamePad can turn their Wii U into a Wii, then load the Wii’s shopping channel and click through to a list of 21 Nintendo 64 games, five of which are also offered on the Wii U’s much easier to access eShop.

It’s not much of a loophole. Wii Virtual Console games are indeed available for Wii U users, but their functionality is substandard. They can’t be controlled by the Wii U GamePad and won’t even show up as application icons on the Wii U’s menu. You can play them, but Nintendo is making little effort to sell them to you and has all but hidden them in a nearly-obsolete last-gen marketplace.

Back to the matter at hand, that’s seven original N64 games running in all their glory on Xbox One and only six presented for sale by Nintendo on the Wii U’s downloadable store. And there’s more (or less, depending on your perspective). Nintendo charges $US10 for each of its N64 games on Wii U. That’s $US10 for all-time great Ocarina of Time and $US10 for, forgive me, all-time not-great Donkey Kong 64. Microsoft, by contrast, is offering all seven of its N64 games along with 23 other games from the former Nintendo partner studio Rare in one bundle for $US30 total.

If you’re a Nintendo business person, you might argue that Nintendo clearly knows the premium value of its classic games. You might suggest that, if people will buy copy after copy of Super Mario 64 for $US10, then that’s what you sell it for. You might even have a justification for only offering six N64 games in the three-year existence of your new console, or 21 in the entire lifespan of the Wii, for that matter.

If you’re someone who loved playing Nintendo 64 games, however, you might simply shake your head at Nintendo’s apparent disinterest in letting you play a library of games that its new console can clearly run and that Nintendo clearly can sell but that it chooses not to offer. It’s no wonder people hold onto their old systems or start using emulators.


  • Nintendo’s whole online offering is a farce, so it doesn’t take much to make a mockery of it.

    The fact they don’t have an online account service even close to rivaling that of PS and Xbox is an indictment on them as a business.

    That being said, I think this Rare replay collection looks very good. If I had an Xbone I would definitely pick it up.

    • This ^ – I love Nintendo, have since I got my first NES in 1990, however their online offering is sub par. Their Australian offering on the virtual store is abysmal on the Wii U (compared to the Wii ).

      Nintendo just has to modernise themselves like they have before (when they decided to do electronic games and during the earlier days of Mr Iwatas term).
      This includes their online services.

  • Nintendo’s offering has always been a mockery of itself. Rare pitching in is just a reminder.

    • Nah, I have one still, screw that control, it was revolutionary at the time but it’s a piece of shit now. Perfect Dark is so much better on 360.

      • Yep. Looks like garbage on a modern screen, C-Button camera controls are a hate crime and the analogue stick sucks. If it’s the only option I’ll take it but I’d much rather play a N64 game after it gets the HD remaster treatment.

  • even the new game line up is pretty paltry for the Wii U which is sad. i think they have basically just given up on it and are looking to develop for their new console.

    • Sega, one of the craziest companies ever can get a bunch of megadrive games on 3DS, where’s my goddam Diddys Kong Quest already???

  • “Nintendo’s profit-related decision to produce games on cartridge would come back to haunt them … ” (After Sony unveiled it’s PS1 Platinum range/pricing).
    Nintendo never learns. But we’ve known for a long time it’s one of the world’s most stubborn companies.

    At least some of their employees are literally being whipped after the company failed to deliver or announce pretty much anything at all at E3.

    • Nintendo has 2 things going against it as far as change goes – Japanese and Age.
      Let me explain, Nintendo is a traditional company that is over 126 year old. For them change in terms of mindset can be very difficult especially being Japanese where traditions are harder to change. Irrespective of a dynamic president, the Shareholders would all be very traditional people that would have to be appeased.

      Nintendo need to realise that they have an excellent library of games, and capitalise on it by making the new console a direct competitor in terms of power to their counterparts. This with an improved online service (more akin to PS or XBOX instead of some gimmicky Mii dealy) would surely improve their sales.

      I would gladly pay big money for a powerful Nintendo console where I am going to see a kick arse metroid or zelda game with graphics that amaze.

      • I’ve still got the box and everything, 2 controllers, one rumble pack, one expansion pack, but (and it’s a big one) TV connection is S-Video (hence why I don’t use it anymore because since I disconnected my VCR there are no S-Video in my house anymore!)

  • Nintendo are beyond incompetent.

    The faster a decent company takes over the hardware and online responsibilities and allows them to focus on making new, good games (like they used to back in the N64 days) the better.

    Their online systems suck, their hardware sucks, the way they sell their games sucks. They suck. YOU SUCK NINTENDO!

    • Calm down there, son. While they could improve in some places, Nintendo is a LONG way from being anywhere near as bad as BP, Monsanto, Goldman Sachs, Walmart, etc.

      • Nope.

        Nintendo would make a baby seal buy Excitebike separately on the NES, DS, 3DS and as a bonus in Animal Crossing…… and then ask that seal to open up the Wii emulator within the WiiU so he can spend OVER $5 to own a 30 year old game for the 6th time….

        BP never treated an animal that badly. Never.

        • Can’t argue with that! Nintendo have two consoles on the market, and the only thing they offer them other than ridiculously overpriced GameBoy games, is remakes and multiplayer games aimed at kids. Where is our F-Zero, Zelda and Metroid games, Nintendo?

    • Everyone always complains about Nintendo not making new IP’s but when they were given a chance to tell Miyamoto what they wanted to see on the WiiU what happened?

      Smash Bros!

      • Fair enough, but where is our Zelda? Where is our Metroid? Heck… There’s not even an new platforming Mario game available in the scale of Super Mario 64, not considering ‘Super Mario 3D World’ which is just the same as ‘Super Mario 3D Land’ released years earlier for the 3DS.

    • Their hardware is quite good. The 3DS does 3D right, even better than cinemas in my opinion. The WiiU has the best controls for a console shooter found in splatoon thanks to the gamepad. The WiiU also has far less heat and power consumption than a Wii let alone a 360 which melted itself (RROD).
      If you’re talking about raw power then all console hardware sucks in comparison to a well built PC.

      • The hardware is fine, I love my 3DS, but the Wii U has seriously few games that are interesting for an adult audience. I remember both GameCube and Nintendo 64, even Wii, had quite large catalogue of tempting games. That said, I’ll buy the WiiU once the new Zelda is out.

  • Pricing is an issue, yes, but that’s the only real point the Rare bundle has going for it in terms of “making a mockery” of Nintendo’s VC. Where are the GBA, DS, SNES and NES titles on the XBone? Where’s Microsoft’s handheld that hosts a further selection of older Nintendo titles? Where are the non-Rare titles on XbOne? Pyrrhus would approve though.

    • That first line is smug, dismissive and hypocritical all in one!

      I hope you felt like a genius writing it.

      Edit: you edited your post, so my comment makes no sense now…. Oh well.

      The Nintendo store is undeniably terrible though.
      Overpriced everything, incompatibility across platforms and a piss-poor library of titles really sums the whole thing up.

      You’d think a company which is glued in the past, which has been using the same hardware/software frameworks for nearly a decade, would be able to put together a cohesive system that allows you to access their back-catalogue in a reasonably priced, reasonably efficient way.

  • Perhaps the problem is not so much Nintendo’s lack of desire to make old games available but probably the licensing agreements connected to these old games. The current N64 titles available on WiiU are all standard Nintendo fare that they directly own or control. The Rare titles most likely went with them when they were bought by Microsoft and, quite possibly, Microsoft doesn’t want to let these old titles be resold on a competitor’s console.

    I know it’s a cop-out but that seems to be what’s happening here. Nintendo just doesn’t want to put in the effort to make old games available that probably wouldn’t generate too much money for them anyway. Between the new agreements with publishers and license holders and the cost of making these games available, Nintendo’s take home profit from selling old, non-Nintendo licensed games is probably quite small.

  • I can emulate more N64 games on my PC, does that mean my PC is better?
    Joking aside, MS have released just about all the N64 games they can now, whereas Nintendo can still release more and most likely will.

  • I’ve already got all of Rare’s best games, Donkey Kong Country trilogy and Goldeneye.

  • To be fair, $10 for Ocarina of Time is a steal, but just reading this article makes me giggle at the irony. Nintendo, c’mon, man, fix your shit.

  • Ah, Xbox One – the conole where any good game is either a remake or a port. I do regret getting one now, because it crashes more than any version of Windows.

      • Its worth it, if only for rare replay 😛 dunno what he is on about with crashing. I’ve not had it crash on me once, might have happened at launch, but not that I have ever seen, on mine or any of my mates consoles

  • Here’s to hoping that the NX will have a comprehensive back catalogue of Nintendo games.

    • Wouldn’t it be cool if this new NX actually had a subscription service like a Netflix for games where you could pay $10 a month and access all the classics

  • Was playing Rare Replay last night, was an absolute blast. You forget how good some of those games were

  • Mockery, really?

    I can live with the fact that the coverage already feels like a paid promotion, but the difference in one title isn’t heaven and earth.

    • It’s not a good look when the competing console has better coverage of your legacy catalogue than you do.

      It may not count as a mockery, but… really, not a good look.

      Of course, the XBox One’s library is nothing to write home about in general. I bought one a couple of weeks ago, having had a PS4 for something over a year, and the XBox One’s catalogue of exclusives is actually pretty terrible. There’s a bunch of shooters, the Forza games, Ryse, Ori, Dead Rising 3, Rare Replay (very nearly worth the purchase of the console by itself, admittedly) and… not really much else.

      There are some decent exclusives due for release soon, but the catalogue as it stands is pretty thin. I was shocked when I went through the digital back-catalogue and found maybe two or three titles of interest. (Admittedly, there were also a bunch I already had on PS4.)

      It doesn’t help that the UI is shockingly sluggish (not to mention somewhat irritating to navigate). I thought I’d seen the last of spinning loading indicators in the middle of blank screens, but the XB1 has re-educated me.

      Heh. This started as a vindication of sorts for the XBox One, but mostly I’ve complained about it. Buyer’s remorse, I suppose; I was expecting the digital back-catalogue to be better and the discounts for legacy titles to be in line with those on PSN, but neither is true. (They still want $70 for Ryse, for example.)

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