To boost Wii U, Nintendo calls in the usual suspects: Mario, Yoshi, Link

Nintendo President Satoru Iwata reveals upcoming releases for the Wii U, including virtual console, all-new games, and the return of a GameCube favorite.

Yuriko Nakao/REUTERS
Nintendo Co's President Satoru Iwata speaks next to the company's Wii U game controller during an interview with Reuters at the company headquarters in Kyoto, western Japan.

Mario, Link, Yoshi, and other heroes are getting a Wii U makeover, according to Nintendo President Satoru Iwata. The Nintendo Direct webcast, released on Jan. 23, revealed the company's next round of big releases for the Wii U.

The long-awaited Virtual Console will be available on the Wii U this coming spring, announced Mr. Iwata. The service will resurrect classic games from Nintendo's past. Virtual Console will start with a limited selection of NES and SNES games before broadening to include Game Boy Advance games and other retro revivals. VC also includes what Iwata called, “special pricing,” for those who already own Wii versions of each Virtual Console game. The cost: $1 for NES and $1.50 for SNES games. Wii U gamers must first transfer the Wii VC games to the Wii U, in order to receive the discount.

Nintendo also kicked off a special discount program at the end of the webcast. In honor of the 30th anniversary of the Nintendo Entertainment System, Wii U owners will be able to rent certain downloadable titles for $0.30 for 30 days. Buyer beware, warns Engadget: the games will only be available at that price for a limited time. After that, the download will, in a way, self destruct. The first game with the $0.30 price tag is Balloon Fight, the 1984 classic. According to, upcoming titles for the discounted program include Kirby’s Big Adventure, Super Metroid, and Donkey Kong.

Iwata also publicized new (and old) games for the Wii U. The Nintendo President promised that a new 3-D Mario and Mario Kart will be revealed during the E3 convention this coming June. The news comes as no surprise to Nintendo fans that recognize the games as Nintendo staples.

A blast from the past (from 2003 to be exact) will be making a comeback. The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker will be undergoing a face lift to prepare it for its Wii U premiere in the fall. Kotaku reported that the Wind Waker remake will come complete with HD graphics and Off-TV Play, meaning you can play it on your GamePad controller even while the television is off. The Zelda news didn’t stop there. Iwata revealed that Nintendo is working on a new Zelda game for the Wii U.

Wii U owners should be aware that before these changes become available to them; Nintendo will be releasing two software updates to improve the console’s performance.

A USA Today reports that the Wii U, which launched in November 2012, has sold 890,000 units, a less than sterling debut. The Wii U was heavily criticized when it first appeared. Nintendo hopes the upcoming virtual console, NES anniversary pricing, Game Boy Advance titles, reboots, and new games will boost sales and please the critics.

For more tech news follow Aimee on Twitter@aimee_ortiz

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