To begin, click one of the links below to jump to a category or simply head on past the break to peruse the guide form top to bottom.
Retro-esque Gamer | Authentic Retro Gamer
Art Aficionado | The Independent | Person Who Would Enjoy Muscle March
Click on a game title to view its Joystiq game page (where available) and see more news and information about it. Note: Nintendo Points Cards can be redeemed in either the Wii or DSi Shop Channels; however, once redeemed on one of the systems, the points can't be used on or transferred to the other platform. Choose wisely!
Tip: You can gift WiiWare and Wii Virtual Console games to friends (if you have their "Friend Codes"), but not DSiWare titles.
Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth (WiiWare) - 1000 Wii Points / $10
It's billed as a remake of the Game Boy game Castlevania: The Adventure, but that pretty much only comes through in the appearance of rolling eyeballs. For all intents and purposes, this is a new Castlevania game in a 16-bit style.
Blaster Master Overdrive (WiiWare) - 1000 Wii Points / $10
When Sunsoft made its big return to the Western market last year, it debuted with a Virtual Console release of Blaster Master. This sequel/remake/whatever was the perfect followup.
Mega Man 10 (WiiWare) - 1000 Wii Points / $10
It's a faithfully NES-style Mega Man game, just like 2008's brilliant Mega Man 9 -- except maybe a little less brilliant ... and a little less faithful, now that it has an easy mode. Still, it's totally Mega Man.
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney [series] (WiiWare) - 1000 Wii Points each / $10 ea.
Okay, so this isn't so much a retro-themed game as an actual Game Boy Advance game emulated on the Wii, but the Phoenix Wright games weren't released outside of Japan until they were ported onto the DS (and then the Wii). So for us, this is sort of like a GBA series that never was. In any case (geddit?), these games are wonderful, and WiiWare is a convenient way to experience them.
Authentic Retro Gamer
Ufouria: The Saga (VC: NES) - 600 Wii Points / $6
Castlevania: Rondo of Blood (VC: PC Engine) - 900 Wii Points / $9
WiiWare's Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth is a new game that feels like an old Castlevania, but Rondo of Blood is a genuinely vintage 'Vania that might still be new to you. And any Castlevania fan -- or action fan -- who hasn't played it absolutely needs to. It was released on PSP as part of the Dracula X Chronicles, but the Virtual Console version is the most accurate emulation.
Princess Tomato in Salad Kingdom (VC: NES) - 500 Wii Points / $5
Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi (VC: Genesis) - 800 Wii Points / $8
SonSon (VC: arcade) - 800 Wii Points / $8
Bit. Trip Runner (WiiWare) - 800 Wii Points / $8
And Yet It Moves (WiiWare) - 1000 Wii Points / $10
Developer Broken Rules made a really clever side-scrolling platformer in which you rotate the world as you navigate, and then it gave it a style that looks like it's made of torn craft paper.
Art Style: Light Trax (WiiWare) - 600 Wii Points / $6
Tomena Sanner (WiiWare) - 500 Wii Points / $5
As a businessman running through a park, an alley, Mars, etc., you must tap to avoid fire hydrants, robots, break dancers and pink poops in your way, with the evasion more stylish the better your timing.
Toribash (WiiWare) - 1000 Wii Points / $10
Cave Story (WiiWare) - 1000 Wii Points / $10
Bit. Trip Fate (WiiWare) - 800 Wii Points / $8
Frobot (WiiWare) - 600 Wii Points / $6
Zombie Panic in Wonderland (WiiWare) - 1000 Wii Points / $10
The Person Who Would Enjoy Muscle March
Muscle March (WiiWare) - 500 Wii Points / $5
Be-speedoed bodybuilders run in single file, flexing in the proper pose to fit through holes in the wall. Obviously!
The All DSi Band
Rytmik & Rytmik: Rock Edition (DSiWare) - 800 & 200 DSi Points / $8 & $2
This pair of apps allows players to arrange collections of samples into original compositions.
Music On [series] (DSiWare) - 200 DSi Points each / $2 ea.
Electroplankton [series] (DSiWare) - 200 DSi Points each / $2 ea.
Developer Toshio Iwai's experimental audiovisual toys are available individually through DSiWare. [Eds. note: Okay, so we cheated a little. The DSiWare Electroplankton series was released in 2009.]
The Busy Gamer
G.G. Series: Ninja Karakuri Den (DSiWare) - 200 DSi Points / $2
Game & Watch [series] (DSiWare) - 200 DSi Points each / $2 ea.
Tetris Party Live (DSiWare) - 800 DSi Points / $8
Maestro: Green Groove (DSiWare) - 500 DSi Points / $5
Based on a DS rhythm-action game that didn't leave Europe, Green Groove involves guiding a bird across strings by strumming them to the beat of the music.
Photo Dojo (DSiWare) - 200 DSi Points / $2
The weirdest thing about this fighting game isn't that it makes sprites out of your photos. The weirdest is that it's designed for two players ... simultaneously ... on one DS.
16 Shot! Shooting Watch (DSiWare) - 200 DSi Points / $2
Originally a toy produced by Hudson, this is gaming boiled down to its barest elements. Push a button as many times as you can in ten seconds! Use this to train your fingers for improved skill in shooters. Or just enjoy the strangely compelling, addictive "gameplay" on its own merits.
Longterm Portable Gamer
Shantae: Risky's Revenge (DSiWare) - 1200 DSi Points / $12
The long-awaited sequel to WayForward's Game Boy Color platformer about a belly-dancing, shapeshifting half-genie was originally intended to be episodic. In the end, WayForward just decided to cram all the episodes into one download, which is now Metacritic's highest-rated DS game of 2010. Not DSiWare game -- DS game.
Cave Story (DSiWare) - 1000 DSi Points / $10
Little Red Riding Hood's Zombie BBQ (DSiWare) - 800 DSi Points / $8
X-Scape (DSiWare) 800 DSi Points / $8