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Buyer's Guide: WiiWare & Virtual Console


That little white box of yours doesn't just play discs -- it's also home to a virtual treasure trove of downloadable games. In this guide, we recommend our favorite WiiWare and Virtual Console titles from 2009, fit together to appeal to Wii's eclectic audience. What kinds of gamers are in your home?

iHeart Hudson
Back in the late '80s and early '90s, there was a little game console called the TurboGrafx-16. It had a small, yet passionate, following. Here's a few of Hudson's best on WiiWare and the Virtual Console:

Adventure Island: The Beginning (800 Nintendo Points)
This update to the Hudson classic includes several mini-games but, for the most part, is the same classic experience fans will appreciate. And don't worry: all of the fruit still floats.

Bomberman '94
(700 Nintendo Points)
Who doesn't love Bomberman? It's a treat every time we visit it.

Kids Corner
Kids love video games, and the Wii has some great games for download that will delight the youngsters. Here are a few:

LIT (800 Nintendo Points)
Wayforward's WiiWare title is unlike any other. In LIT, you run from classroom to classroom, avoiding the evil that lurks in the dark. By turning on lights and knocking out windows, you can create paths of light in the room that let you reach the exit.

Bubble Bobble Plus! (600 Nintendo Points)
Bubble Bobble is about as timeless as they come and is sure to bring smiles to the children everywhere. The concept is basic: You blow bubbles at enemies, trapping them inside, and then pop the bubbles for points. Once you clear one map, you move on to the next. Simple, sweet and oh-so-fun!

Crash 'n the Boys: Street Challenge (500 Nintendo Points)
A mixture of several unorthodox sports, this NES classic offers a lot of variety and is fairly simple to play. Sports include: 400m hurdles; hammer throw golf and rooftop jumping -- otherwise known as Skyline Scramble.

Nouveau Retro
Some of us are hopelessly trapped in the past, convinced that "back then" will always be better than right now. Help toe the line between the old and the new with these titles:

Mr. Driller W (800 Nintendo Points)
Mr. Driller's been around forever, and this updated version of Namco's classic puzzler has all the classic gameplay, with a more visually-appealing presentation. What's not to love?

Bit Trip Void (600 Nintendo Points)
Bit Trip Void is a perfect fit for the retro gamer: an entirely new gameplay concept with 4-bit graphics. It plays unlike any other game out there and has simple, rhythm-based gameplay.

Arkanoid Plus (600 Nintendo Points)
Retro gamersl likely remember Arkanoid and this update to the classic adds several different game modes to the mix, as well as multiplayer. The core gameplay hasn't changed, but should you wish to expand the experience, there's even some optional add-on content to check out.

Parent Trap
Mom and dad may seem like foreign aliens from another planet, but that doesn't mean there aren't games out there for them. Open them up to the splendors of video games with some of these titles:

ColorZ (700 Nintendo Points)
In ColorZ, players must match the pieces on the game board with their corresponding color. It's a simple game that doesn't have a lot of buttons or advanced concepts to tackle -- perfect for the newbie mom or dad gamer.

Texas Hold Em Tournament
(500 Nintendo Points)
Your folks have probably seen poker on the TV, but you can get them all in with this inexpensive WiiWare game. Hold Em even features online play, so they won't get stuck betting against cold, unfeeling AI players all the time.

Bust a Move Plus!
(600 Nintendo Points)
Another color-matching puzzler, this game is great for quick, pick-up-and-play sessions and has an easy learning curve. And every time mom or dad pops a cluster, you can show them how great a dancer you are by busting your own move. It's a win-win!

Sega Defense Force
Revisiting the theme of "People Who Can't Let Go of the Past," these are some of the best games available on the Virtual Console from Sega systems of old:

Phantasy Star (500 Nintendo Points)
The classic Sega RPG that started it all, Phantasy Star is an easy recommendation for anyone who thought the Dreamcast 2 was coming on 9/9/09. It's a lengthy game and considered to be one of the best RPGs ever made.

MERCS (800 Nintendo Points)
Capcom's run-and-gun arcade classic only made its way to Sega systems. Pretend it's the early '90s all over again -- plus, the Genesis port has features not seen in the original arcade release, including unique characters and an all-new "Original" mode. Could a special ops unit called "Wolf Force" be any more badass?

R-TYPE (500 Nintendo Points)
This Sega Master System shmup port is a classic and should please any Sega fanboy (or fangirl). It's not the best version of R-TYPE available on the Virtual Console, but for your the Sega-obsessed, it's the only one.

Wannabe Plumber
Many of us grew up playing Nintendo games (and a lot of us still do), but these are two games for the ultimate Nintendo fan. You know, the kind of person who may be a bit over-excited to receive a gift with "Nintendo" written on it:

Excitebike World Rally (1,000 Wii Points)
Nintendo's WiiWare revival of the Excitebike series features a track editor and all of the addictive classic gameplay of the original NES game.

Super Mario Kart
(800 Nintendo Points)
The racer that spawned a thousand karts, Super Mario Kart is widely believed to the be the best in the series, even to this day. As you can imagine, it's for good reason.

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