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Wii Virtual Console 2006-2012

With the lifecycle of the Wii coming to a close and Nintendo concentrating their Virtual Console releases more and more on the newer 3DS it’s a good opportunity to look at how well the classic game download service did on Wii in Japan. I used the Wii Shopping Channel and the Nintendo Channel to count games, publishers and genres, as well as play time statistics to calculate minimum download numbers.

These are only displayed for games which get a certain amount of usage by enough users, and only by users who allowed Nintendo to use their data for statistics in the Nintendo Channel. This means they only indicate a minimum number, real download numbers might be even higher. I found the games which display these play time statistics to have at least 3000 confirmed downloads, so the missing titles should have sold less than that.

Nine different vintage platforms have been supported on Wii so far with 636 titles released:

Systems

System Current # Alltime # Best supporter Games # Percentage
FC: 148 148 Nintendo 44 29,73%
SFC: 101 103 Nintendo 27 26,21%
N64: 20 20 Nintendo 19 95,00%
PC-Engine: 111 122 Hudson/Konami 55 45,08%
MD: 89 92 Sega 68 73,91%
NG: 64 64 D4 Entertainment 64 100,00%
SMS: 13 15 Sega 14 93,33%
VCA: 77 77 Bandai Namco 50 64,94%
MSX: 13 15 Konami 13 86,67%
636 656
Games removed: 20

Not surprisingly Nintendo and Sega are the top supporters of their respective old hardware platforms. The PC-Engine got a lot of love from Hudson back in the day, which also shows here (Konami now holds the rights to the Hudson catalogue, but also contributed some titles of their own). Some minor platforms with limited success are almost exclusively represented by one company, like the Master System by Sega or the N64 by Nintendo.

D4 Entertainment has the rights to all the old SNK software on VC and ends up being the sole supporter of the NeoGeo, which has an impressive number of releases but none sold all too well (i. e. below 3000). The MSX seems to be the favorite vintage platform for Konami, who contribute all remaining titles available. Two games by D4 Entertainment for MSX, ALESTE and EGGY, were removed again. All in all 20 games which were once available were removed again.

The Virtual Console Arcade, which was added last, is mainly supported by the companies who dominated this field in the pre-Famicom age. Notably missing are Konami and Nintendo, who as opposed to Capcom, Sega and Namco haven’t even released the arcade versions of their Famicom hits like Gradius or Donkey Kong. The latter three did this with games like Ghost ’n‘ Goblins, Puyo Puyo and Xevious. Similar to the NeoGeo, downloads for VCA have remained underwhelming. This means that despite having released 86 games (50 of which for VCA), almost as many games as Nintendo and more than Sega, Bandai Namco’s success on VC was quite limited.

Publishers

Publisher Games Percentage Publisher Games Percentage
Arc System Works: 16 2,52% D4 Entertainment: 65 10,22%
Artdink: 3 0,47% Tecmo: 11 1,73%
Activision: 1 0,16% Tozai: 1 0,16%
Atlus: 6 0,94% naxat soft: 9 1,42%
Interplay: 2 0,31% Natsume: 1 0,16%
Enterbrain: 4 0,63% Nihon Computer System: 5 0,79%
Capcom: 30 4,72% Nihon Falcom: 8 1,26%
Koei: 5 0,79% Nintendo: 90 14,15%
Konami: 43 6,76% Netfarm: 2 0,31%
Sunsoft: 10 1,57% Paon: 3 0,47%
G-Mode: 2 0,31% Hudson: 69 10,85%
Square-Enix: 21 3,30% Hamster: 18 2,83%
Spike: 3 0,47% Hal Laboratories: 1 0,16%
Sega: 86 13,52% Bandai Namco: 86 13,52%
Taito: 26 4,09% Pony Canyon: 2 0,31%
Takara Tomy: 2 0,31% Marvelous: 1 0,16%
Chunsoft: 3 0,47% UPI Soft: 1 0,16%
All: 636

Maybe the number of titles adds up in sales for Namco, as they probably do for D4.

Genres

A lot of games can be associated with more than one of the very broad Japanese genre denominators:

Games # Percentage
Action: 395 62,11%
Adventure: 49 7,70%
FTG: 63 9,91%
Puzzle: 37 5,82%
Racing: 17 2,67%
RPG: 101 15,88%
Simulation: 48 7,55%
Sports: 44 6,92%
Shooting: 134 21,07%
Table: 16 2,52%
Wi-Fi Con.: 3 0,47%
Other: 16 2,52%
923 145,13%
Average # of genres per game:
1,45

Using more Western genre denominators, I compiled the top selling games for various genre groups:

 Action-Adventures & Action-RPGs

TitleDownloadsPublisherSystemhours (per player)days (per player)
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time78058NintendoN6432.3517.98
Legend of Zelda39735NintendoFC7.208.52
Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past38283NintendoSFC12.489.33
Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask34374NintendoN6433.7314.52
Super Metroid26599NintendoSFC14.3810.88
Secret of Mana20060Square-EnixSFC13.537.68
Ganbare Goemon20051KonamiSFC5.076.12
Link's Adventure18358NintendoFC6.006.94
Kid Icarus14145NintendoFC4.107.88
Metroid11763NintendoFC5.507.56
Ganbare Goemon 38450KonamiSFC8.325.91
Front Mission: Gunhazard4287Square-EnixSFC13.077.24

Dominated by Nintendo, but with the Mystical Ninja (Ganbare Goemon) series Konami also gets to sneak in two of their three VC titles to put up decent sales (the other one being Gradius in the shooter section). Square’s Secret of Mana is also Square’s strongest title in the RPG section.

Fighting games and Beat ‚em ups

TitleDownloadsPublisherSystemhours (per player)days (per player)
Downtown Special37776Arc System WorksFC6.507.9
Super Smash Brothers34961NintendoN6415.4315.97
Downtown Nekketsu29699Arc System WorksFC2.634.95
River City Ransom20566Arc System WorksFC3.584.79
Street Fighter II16779CapcomSFC3.688.39
Super Street Fighter II16433CapcomSFC4.658.46

The two Street Fighter games rank relatively low (with Turbo and the non-SFC versions missing entirely) and even Smash Brothers has to admit defeat against the highest ranking River City Ransom sequel. The Downtown Hot Blooded Kunio-kun games are a series by Technos, now Arc System Works, that contributes three impressively selling titles. The absence of Final Fight probably means that the RPG elements are the main reason for Kunio’s popularity.

Platformers

TitleDownloadsPublisherSystemhours (per player)days (per player)
Super Mario Bros.245560NintendoFC8.7021.07
Super Mario Bros. 3176235NintendoFC11.5817.13
Super Mario World117214NintendoSFC11.8215.02
Super Mario 6491014NintendoN6419.1318.35
Super Mario Bros. 277440NintendoFC6.0815.28
Kirby75595NintendoFC7.6813.78
Ice Climber54622NintendoFC1.877.18
Mario Bros.42793NintendoFC2.679.6
Donkey Kong Country41934NintendoSFC8.9311.83
Kirby 6437434NintendoN6413.1213.57
Kirby Super Star25637NintendoSFC9.659.89
Megaman 223388CapcomFC6.7710.43
Donkey Kong Country 221827NintendoSFC12.7712.37
Super Mario USA19425NintendoFC4.039.19
Yoshi's Story17226NintendoN648.629.32
Sonic the Hedgehog16713SegaMD3.7010.79
Kirby's Dream Course16210NintendoSFC5.177.08
Megaman15904CapcomFC3.727.18
Super Ghouls 'n' Ghosts15071CapcomSFC7.379.52
Kirby's Dream Land 314351NintendoSFC7.728.72
Donkey Kong Country 313467NintendoSFC11.8010.3
Megaman 312164CapcomFC5.659.13
Ghouls 'n' Ghosts9781CapcomMD5.679.89

Unsurprisingly, with Mario and Kirby Nintendo dominates this genre. But thanks to the Megaman and Ghost ’n‘ Goblin series Capcom too scores some successful releases here, as does Sega with Sonic. Later games like Megaman5, Megaman X1 and X2, as well as Sonic 2, & Knuckles etc. are also on VC but don’t register in the playtime data.

Puzzle

TitleDownloadsPublisherSystemhours (per player)days (per player)
Puyo Puyo 277295SegaMD9.9514.48
Puyo Puyo27466SegaMD11.5316.79
Mario's Super Picross22844NintendoSFC25.0517.42
Solomon's Key10578Koei-TecmoFC5.978.27
Panel de Pon7218NintendoSFC19.9215.81
Columns6010SegaMD23.6524.94
Wario Woods4908NintendoFC29.8222.83

Sega dominates the Puzzle section. Color based puzzlers must be the most popular ones.

Racing

TitleDownloadsPublisherSystemhours (per player)days (per player)
Mario Kart 64120760NintendoN6410.5715.64
Super Mario Kart14632NintendoSFC4.057.54
F-Zero X14047NintendoN646.629.6

Not many racing games on VC to begin with (only 17 in all), but a good showing for Nintendo’s hardware with the smallest library on VC, the N64.

 RPGs

TitleDownloadsPublisherSystemhours (per player)days (per player)
Paper Mario52471NintendoN6433.8718.51
Super Mario RPG41331NintendoSFC18.6811.37
Secret of Mana20060Square-EnixSFC13.537.68
Final Fantasy III18391Square-EnixFC14.539.1
Shiren the Wanderer16476ChunsoftSFC39.9319.32
Ys Book I + II15273Nihon FalcomPC-Engine7.776.45
Actraiser11998Square-EnixSFC6.455.04
Final Fantasy9504Square-EnixFC10.287.37
Romancing Saga 27877Square-EnixSFC27.6011.29
Final Fantasy IV7492Square-EnixSFC19.0710.36
Romancing Saga 37381Square-EnixSFC31.4012.59
Shin Megami Tensei7054AtlusSFC17.278.89
Glory of Heracles III6707PaonSFC12.356.83
Final Fantasy V6660Square-EnixSFC27.6012.4
Final Fantasy VI6464Square-EnixSFC24.3810.85
Final Fantasy II5661Square-EnixFC15.528.6
Breath of Fire 24374CapcomSFC23.4010.1
Romancing Saga3683Square-EnixSFC16.058.05
Chrono Trigger3661Square-EnixSFC18.488.36

Suprisingly weak showing for most Final Fantasy and other late Square titles, with Secret of Mana (probably due to the three player mode) and FFIII being the impressive exceptions. From the Enix side there are almost no games on VC, but their early SFC game Actraiser charts very high.

Even in the RPG section Mario dominates and many classics from small companies that have only few titles on VC chart relatively high: Falcom’s only big VC title Ys 1 & 2 was downloaded a lot but hardly got enough playtime (7 h 46 min on average) for most players to have actually beaten both games in the set. Atlus‘ classic SMT charts, but the sequels don’t. Out of the two Glory of Heracles games on Wii VC by Paon only the highly lauded part three charts. Chunsoft’s Shiren the Wanderer from the Mystery Dungeon series is a spectacular success (as is their Sound Novel Kamai-tachi no yoru).

Shooting

TitleDownloadsPublisherSystemhours (per player)days (per player)
Star Fox 6444953NintendoN6411.6011.36
Xevious24180Bandai NamcoFC2.079.19
Deta na!! Twinbee17598HudsonPC-Engine3.037.33
Gradius17067KonamiFC3.1510.26

Classic 2D shooting not very popular despite the high number of titles (134), all beaten by Star Fox 64. Konami and Namco still make their expected showings.

Strategy

TitleDownloadsPublisherSystemhours (per player)days (per player)
Fire Emblem Monshou no nazo25013NintendoSFC30.2215.02
Fire Emblem Seisen no keifu22777NintendoSFC44.2817.88
Sim City19378NintendoSFC12.288.06
Fire Emblem Trakkia 7768875NintendoSFC43.5317.52
Tactics Ogre7360Square-EnixSFC31.2312.65
Famicom Wars5799NintendoFC34.0315.11
Sangokushi5204Koei-TecmoSFC22.7510.58
Fire Emblem4753NintendoFC13.638.91
Fire Emblem Gaiden4342NintendoFC23.8711.39
Shining Force4195SegaMD15.958.39
Ogre Battle3789Square-EnixSFC18.187.52
Ogre Battle 643518NintendoN6432.1711.35
Bahamut Lagoon3155Square-EnixSFC17.187.34
Super Famicom Wars3102NintendoSFC61.2524.08

Fire Emblem reigns supreme, notable showings by Sega and Quest (the rights to their Ogre games now owned by Square-Enix). With Famicom Wars (part of the Advance Wars series) Nintendo has another strong strategy title, especially by playtime (see below).

All genres: downloads

TitleDownloadsOriginal salesPublisherSystemGenre
Super Mario Bros.2455606810000NintendoFCPlatformer
Super Mario Bros. 31762353840000NintendoFCPlatformer
Mario Kart 641207602240000NintendoN64Racing
Super Mario World1172143550000NintendoSFCPlatformer
Super Mario 64910141920000NintendoN64Platformer
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time780581144000NintendoN64Action-Adventure
Super Mario Bros. 2774402650000NintendoFCPlatformer
Puyo Puyo 277295SegaMDPuzzle
Kirby755951000000NintendoFCPlatformer
Ice Climber54622NintendoFCPlatformer
Paper Mario52471NintendoN64RPG
Bomberman '9448725HudsonPC-Engine
Star Fox 6444953640000NintendoN64Shooting
Mario Bros.42793NintendoFCPlatformer
Donkey Kong Country419343000000NintendoSFCPlatformer
Super Mario RPG413311470000NintendoSFCRPG
Legend of Zelda39735NintendoFCAction-Adventure
Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past382831160000NintendoSFCAction-Adventure
Downtown Special37776Arc System WorksFCFighting
Kirby 64374341070000NintendoN64Platformer
Super Smash Brothers349611970000NintendoN64Fighting
Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask34374600000NintendoN64Action-Adventure
Pokemon Snap30236NintendoN64
Downtown Nekketsu29699Arc System WorksFCFighting
Puyo Puyo27466SegaMDPuzzle
Super Metroid26599710000NintendoSFCAction-Adventure
Kirby Super Star256371100000NintendoSFCPlatformer
Fire Emblem Monshou no nazo25013780000NintendoSFCStrategy
Xevious241801270000Bandai NamcoFCShooting
Megaman 2233881510000CapcomFCPlatformer
Mario's Super Picross22844NintendoSFCPuzzle
Fire Emblem Seisen no keifu22777500000NintendoSFCStrategy
Donkey Kong Country 2218272210000NintendoSFCPlatformer
River City Ransom20566Arc System WorksFCFighting
Secret of Mana200601500000Square-EnixSFCRPG
Ganbare Goemon200511500000KonamiSFCAction-Adventure
Super Mario USA19425700000NintendoFCPlatformer
Sim City19378900000NintendoSFCStrategy
Final Fantasy III183911400000Square-EnixFCRPG
Link's Adventure183581670000NintendoFCAction-Adventure
Deta na!! Twinbee17598HudsonPC-EngineShooting
Yoshi's Story17226850000NintendoN64Platformer
Gradius17067KonamiFCShooting
Street Fighter II167792880000CapcomSFCFighting
Sonic the Hedgehog16713SegaMDPlatformer
Shiren the Wanderer16476ChunsoftSFCRPG
Super Street Fighter II164331290000CapcomSFCFighting
Kirby's Dream Course16210NintendoSFC
Megaman15904CapcomFCPlatformer
Custom Robo V215590NintendoN64
Ys Book I + II15273Nihon FalcomPC-EngineRPG
Super Ghouls 'n' Ghosts15071CapcomSFCPlatformer
Super Mario Kart146323820000NintendoSFCRacing
Kirby's Dream Land 314351360000NintendoSFCPlatformer
Kid Icarus141451090000NintendoFCAction-Adventure
F-Zero X14047290000NintendoN64Racing
Donkey Kong Country 3134671800000NintendoSFCPlatformer
Megaman 3121641080000CapcomFCPlatformer
Actraiser11998400000Square-EnixSFCRPG
Metroid117631040000NintendoFCAction-Adventure
Kamai-tachi no yoru114381250000ChunsoftSFCAdventure
Solomon's Key10578Koei-TecmoFCPuzzle
Ghouls 'n' Ghosts9781CapcomMDPlatformer
Final Fantasy9504520000Square-EnixFCRPG
Fire Emblem Trakkia 7768875110000NintendoSFCStrategy
Ganbare Goemon 384501700000KonamiSFCAction-Adventure
Romancing Saga 278771170000Square-EnixSFCRPG
Final Fantasy IV74921440000Square-EnixSFCRPG
Romancing Saga 373811300000Square-EnixSFCRPG
Tactics Ogre7360500000Square-EnixSFCStrategy
Panel de Pon7218NintendoSFCPuzzle
Shin Megami Tensei7054AtlusSFCRPG
Mario Party 270291090000NintendoN64Table
Glory of Heracles III6707PaonSFCRPG
Final Fantasy V66602450000Square-EnixSFCRPG
Mario Golf 646552NintendoN64Sports
Final Fantasy VI64642550000Square-EnixSFCRPG
Columns6010SegaMDPuzzle
Famicom Wars5799NintendoFCStrategy
Final Fantasy II5661760000Square-EnixFCRPG
Sangokushi5204Koei-TecmoSFCStrategy
Sengoku Mahjong4970HudsonSFCTable
Wario Woods4908NintendoFCPuzzle
Fire Emblem4753330000NintendoFCStrategy
Breath of Fire 24374CapcomSFCRPG
Fire Emblem Gaiden4342320000NintendoFCStrategy
Front Mission: Gunhazard4287180000Square-EnixSFCAction-RPG
Shining Force4195SegaMDStrategy
Ogre Battle3789400000Square-EnixSFCStrategy
Romancing Saga3683980000Square-EnixSFCRPG
Chrono Trigger36612030000Square-EnixSFCRPG
Ogre Battle 643518200000NintendoN64Strategy
Bahamut Lagoon3155530000Square-EnixSFCStrategy
Super Famicom Wars3102NintendoSFCStrategy

It’s no surprise to see Nintendo dominate here but Sega finding success with Puyo Puyo is also remarkable. They have 5 successful Mega Drive titles in all. Despite having few games on VC, the N64 manages to chart with 15 of its 20 games. Three games for PC-Engine make the cut, but after that it’s all Famicom and Super Famicom.

Playtime: hours

TitlePriceOriginal pricePublisherSystemGenrehours (per player)days (per player)
Super Famicom Wars800NintendoSFCStrategy61.2524.08
Fire Emblem Seisen no keifu9007500 yenNintendoSFCStrategy44.2817.88
Fire Emblem Trakkia 7769005200 yen 2625 yenNintendoSFCStrategy43.5317.52
Shiren the Wanderer90011800 yenChunsoftSFCRPG39.9319.32
Famicom Wars500NintendoFCStrategy34.0315.11
Paper Mario10006800 yenNintendoN64RPG33.8718.51
Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask12005800 yenNintendoN64Action-Adventure33.7314.52
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time1200NintendoN64Action-Adventure32.3517.98
Ogre Battle 641000NintendoN64Strategy32.1711.35
Romancing Saga 380011400 yenSquare-EnixSFCRPG31.4012.59
Tactics Ogre800Square-EnixSFCStrategy31.2312.65
Fire Emblem Monshou no nazo9009800 yenNintendoSFCStrategy30.2215.02
Wario Woods5004900 yenNintendoFCPuzzle29.8222.83
Final Fantasy V9009800 yenSquare-EnixSFCRPG27.6012.4
Romancing Saga 28009900 yenSquare-EnixSFCRPG27.6011.29
Mario's Super Picross8007900 yenNintendoSFCPuzzle25.0517.42
Final Fantasy VI90011400 yenSquare-EnixSFCRPG24.3810.85
Fire Emblem Gaiden5006800 yenNintendoFCStrategy23.8711.39
Columns600SegaMDPuzzle23.6524.94
Breath of Fire 28009980 yenCapcomSFCRPG23.4010.1
Sangokushi100014800 yenKoei-TecmoSFCStrategy22.7510.58
Panel de Pon800NintendoSFCPuzzle19.9215.81
Super Mario 6410009800 yenNintendoN64Platformer19.1318.35
Final Fantasy IV9009240 yenSquare-EnixSFCRPG19.0710.36
Super Mario RPG9007500 yenNintendoSFCRPG18.6811.37
Chrono Trigger90011400 yenSquare-EnixSFCRPG18.488.36
Ogre Battle800Square-EnixSFCStrategy18.187.52
Custom Robo V210006800 yenNintendoN6417.8011.46
Shin Megami Tensei9008800 yenAtlusSFCRPG17.278.89
Sengoku Mahjong600HudsonSFCTable17.2312.72
Bahamut Lagoon80011970 yenSquare-EnixSFCStrategy17.187.34
Romancing Saga8009500 yenSquare-EnixSFCRPG16.058.05
Shining Force7008700 yenSegaMDStrategy15.958.39
Mario Party 210006090 yenNintendoN64Table15.739.89
Final Fantasy II5006825 yenSquare-EnixFCRPG15.528.6
Super Smash Brothers12005800 yenNintendoN64Fighting15.4315.97
Final Fantasy III5008400 yenSquare-EnixFCRPG14.539.1
Super Metroid8009800 yenNintendoSFCAction-Adventure14.3810.88
Fire Emblem5006000 yenNintendoFCStrategy13.638.91
Secret of Mana8009800 yenSquare-EnixSFCRPG13.537.68
Kirby 6410006800 yenNintendoN64Platformer13.1213.57
Front Mission: Gunhazard80011400 yenSquare-EnixSFCAction-RPG13.077.24
Donkey Kong Country 280010290 yenNintendoSFCPlatformer12.7712.37
Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past9007700 yenNintendoSFCAction-Adventure12.489.33
Glory of Heracles III800PaonSFCRPG12.356.83
Sim City9007700 yenNintendoSFCStrategy12.288.06
Super Mario World8008000 yenNintendoSFCPlatformer11.8215.02
Donkey Kong Country 38006800 yenNintendoSFCPlatformer11.8010.3
Star Fox 6410004800 yenNintendoN64Shooting11.6011.36
Super Mario Bros. 35006500 yenNintendoFCPlatformer11.5817.13
Puyo Puyo6004800 yenSegaMDPuzzle11.5316.79
Bomberman '946006800 yenHudsonPC-Engine11.2714.72
Mario Golf 64500NintendoN64Sports11.2710.82
Mario Kart 6410004800 yenNintendoN64Racing10.5715.64
Final Fantasy5006195 yenSquare-EnixFCRPG10.287.37
Puyo Puyo 26006800 yenSegaMDPuzzle9.9514.48
Kirby Super Star8007500 yenNintendoSFCPlatformer9.659.89
Donkey Kong Country8009800 yenNintendoSFCPlatformer8.9311.83
Super Mario Bros.500NintendoFCPlatformer8.7021.07
Yoshi's Story10007140 yenNintendoN64Platformer8.629.32
Ganbare Goemon 38009800 yenKonamiSFCAction-Adventure8.325.91
Pokemon Snap10007140 yenNintendoN647.788.94
Ys Book I + II800Nihon FalcomPC-EngineRPG7.776.45
Kirby's Dream Land 38004800 yenNintendoSFCPlatformer7.728.72
Kirby5006500 yenNintendoFCPlatformer7.6813.78
Super Ghouls 'n' Ghosts8008500 yenCapcomSFCPlatformer7.379.52
Legend of Zelda500NintendoFCAction-Adventure7.208.52
Megaman 25005800 yenCapcomFCPlatformer6.7710.43
F-Zero X10005800 yenNintendoN64Racing6.629.6
Kamai-tachi no yoru800ChunsoftSFCAdventure6.524.96
Downtown Special500Arc System WorksFCFighting6.507.9
Actraiser800Square-EnixSFCRPG6.455.04
Super Mario Bros. 2500NintendoFCPlatformer6.0815.28
Link's Adventure500NintendoFCAction-Adventure6.006.94
Solomon's Key500Koei-TecmoFCPuzzle5.978.27
Ghouls 'n' Ghosts6005800 yenCapcomMDPlatformer5.679.89
Megaman 35006500 yenCapcomFCPlatformer5.659.13
Metroid5002600 yenNintendoFCAction-Adventure5.507.56
Kirby's Dream Course8007900 yenNintendoSFC5.177.08
Ganbare Goemon9008800 yenKonamiSFCAction-Adventure5.076.12
Super Street Fighter II500CapcomSFCFighting4.658.46
Kid Icarus5002600 yenNintendoFCAction-Adventure4.107.88
Super Mario Kart800NintendoSFCRacing4.057.54
Super Mario USA5004900 yenNintendoFCPlatformer4.039.19
Megaman5005300 yenCapcomFCPlatformer3.727.18
Sonic the Hedgehog6006000 yenSegaMDPlatformer3.7010.79
Street Fighter II800CapcomSFCFighting3.688.39
River City Ransom500Arc System WorksFCFighting3.584.79
Gradius500KonamiFCShooting3.1510.26
Deta na!! Twinbee600HudsonPC-EngineShooting3.037.33
Mario Bros.5003800 yenNintendoFCPlatformer2.679.6
Downtown Nekketsu500Arc System WorksFCFighting2.634.95
Xevious500Bandai NamcoFCShooting2.079.19
Ice Climber5004500 yenNintendoFCPlatformer1.877.18

Strategy (up to 61 h) and RPG types take the most time to complete, as expected.

Playtime: days

TitlePriceOriginal pricePublisherSystemGenrehours (per player)days (per player)
Columns600SegaMDPuzzle23.6524.94
Super Famicom Wars800NintendoSFCStrategy61.2524.08
Wario Woods5004900 yenNintendoFCPuzzle29.8222.83
Super Mario Bros.500NintendoFCPlatformer8.7021.07
Shiren the Wanderer90011800 yenChunsoftSFCRPG39.9319.32
Paper Mario10006800 yenNintendoN64RPG33.8718.51
Super Mario 6410009800 yenNintendoN64Platformer19.1318.35
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time1200NintendoN64Action-Adventure32.3517.98
Fire Emblem Seisen no keifu9007500 yenNintendoSFCStrategy44.2817.88
Fire Emblem Trakkia 7769005200 yen 2625 yenNintendoSFCStrategy43.5317.52
Mario's Super Picross8007900 yenNintendoSFCPuzzle25.0517.42
Super Mario Bros. 35006500 yenNintendoFCPlatformer11.5817.13
Puyo Puyo6004800 yenSegaMDPuzzle11.5316.79
Super Smash Brothers12005800 yenNintendoN64Fighting15.4315.97
Panel de Pon800NintendoSFCPuzzle19.9215.81
Mario Kart 6410004800 yenNintendoN64Racing10.5715.64
Super Mario Bros. 2500NintendoFCPlatformer6.0815.28
Famicom Wars500NintendoFCStrategy34.0315.11
Fire Emblem Monshou no nazo9009800 yenNintendoSFCStrategy30.2215.02
Super Mario World8008000 yenNintendoSFCPlatformer11.8215.02
Bomberman '946006800 yenHudsonPC-Engine11.2714.72
Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask12005800 yenNintendoN64Action-Adventure33.7314.52
Puyo Puyo 26006800 yenSegaMDPuzzle9.9514.48
Kirby5006500 yenNintendoFCPlatformer7.6813.78
Kirby 6410006800 yenNintendoN64Platformer13.1213.57
Sengoku Mahjong600HudsonSFCTable17.2312.72
Tactics Ogre800Square-EnixSFCStrategy31.2312.65
Romancing Saga 380011400 yenSquare-EnixSFCRPG31.4012.59
Donkey Kong Country 280010290 yenNintendoSFCPlatformer12.7712.37
Final Fantasy V9009800 yenSquare-EnixSFCRPG27.6012.4
Donkey Kong Country8009800 yenNintendoSFCPlatformer8.9311.83
Custom Robo V210006800 yenNintendoN6417.8011.46
Fire Emblem Gaiden5006800 yenNintendoFCStrategy23.8711.39
Super Mario RPG9007500 yenNintendoSFCRPG18.6811.37
Star Fox 6410004800 yenNintendoN64Shooting11.6011.36
Ogre Battle 641000NintendoN64Strategy32.1711.35
Romancing Saga 28009900 yenSquare-EnixSFCRPG27.6011.29
Super Metroid8009800 yenNintendoSFCAction-Adventure14.3810.88
Final Fantasy VI90011400 yenSquare-EnixSFCRPG24.3810.85
Mario Golf 64500NintendoN64Sports11.2710.82
Sonic the Hedgehog6006000 yenSegaMDPlatformer3.7010.79
Sangokushi100014800 yenKoei-TecmoSFCStrategy22.7510.58
Megaman 25005800 yenCapcomFCPlatformer6.7710.43
Final Fantasy IV9009240 yenSquare-EnixSFCRPG19.0710.36
Gradius500KonamiFCShooting3.1510.26
Donkey Kong Country 38006800 yenNintendoSFCPlatformer11.8010.3
Breath of Fire 28009980 yenCapcomSFCRPG23.4010.1
Kirby Super Star8007500 yenNintendoSFCPlatformer9.659.89
Mario Party 210006090 yenNintendoN64Table15.739.89
Ghouls 'n' Ghosts6005800 yenCapcomMDPlatformer5.679.89
Super Ghouls 'n' Ghosts8008500 yenCapcomSFCPlatformer7.379.52
Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past9007700 yenNintendoSFCAction-Adventure12.489.33
Yoshi's Story10007140 yenNintendoN64Platformer8.629.32
Xevious500Bandai NamcoFCShooting2.079.19
Super Mario USA5004900 yenNintendoFCPlatformer4.039.19
Megaman 35006500 yenCapcomFCPlatformer5.659.13
F-Zero X10005800 yenNintendoN64Racing6.629.6
Mario Bros.5003800 yenNintendoFCPlatformer2.679.6
Final Fantasy III5008400 yenSquare-EnixFCRPG14.539.1
Pokemon Snap10007140 yenNintendoN647.788.94
Fire Emblem5006000 yenNintendoFCStrategy13.638.91
Shin Megami Tensei9008800 yenAtlusSFCRPG17.278.89
Kirby's Dream Land 38004800 yenNintendoSFCPlatformer7.728.72
Legend of Zelda500NintendoFCAction-Adventure7.208.52
Super Street Fighter II500CapcomSFCFighting4.658.46
Street Fighter II800CapcomSFCFighting3.688.39
Shining Force7008700 yenSegaMDStrategy15.958.39
Chrono Trigger90011400 yenSquare-EnixSFCRPG18.488.36
Solomon's Key500Koei-TecmoFCPuzzle5.978.27
Final Fantasy II5006825 yenSquare-EnixFCRPG15.528.6
Sim City9007700 yenNintendoSFCStrategy12.288.06
Romancing Saga8009500 yenSquare-EnixSFCRPG16.058.05
Kid Icarus5002600 yenNintendoFCAction-Adventure4.107.88
Secret of Mana8009800 yenSquare-EnixSFCRPG13.537.68
Metroid5002600 yenNintendoFCAction-Adventure5.507.56
Super Mario Kart800NintendoSFCRacing4.057.54
Ogre Battle800Square-EnixSFCStrategy18.187.52
Final Fantasy5006195 yenSquare-EnixFCRPG10.287.37
Bahamut Lagoon80011970 yenSquare-EnixSFCStrategy17.187.34
Deta na!! Twinbee600HudsonPC-EngineShooting3.037.33
Front Mission: Gunhazard80011400 yenSquare-EnixSFCAction-RPG13.077.24
Ice Climber5004500 yenNintendoFCPlatformer1.877.18
Megaman5005300 yenCapcomFCPlatformer3.727.18
Downtown Special500Arc System WorksFCFighting6.507.9
Kirby's Dream Course8007900 yenNintendoSFC5.177.08
Link's Adventure500NintendoFCAction-Adventure6.006.94
Glory of Heracles III800PaonSFCRPG12.356.83
Ys Book I + II800Nihon FalcomPC-EngineRPG7.776.45
Ganbare Goemon9008800 yenKonamiSFCAction-Adventure5.076.12
Ganbare Goemon 38009800 yenKonamiSFCAction-Adventure8.325.91
Actraiser800Square-EnixSFCRPG6.455.04
Kamai-tachi no yoru800ChunsoftSFCAdventure6.524.96
Downtown Nekketsu500Arc System WorksFCFighting2.634.95
River City Ransom500Arc System WorksFCFighting3.584.79

Puzzle games and Super Mario are played again and again, more than 20 unique days being reached by several games. The former probably for their multiplayer modes.

 Sorted by release dates

TitleDownloadsOriginal salesRelease VCOriginal releasePublisherSystemGenre
Legend of Zelda397352006-12-021986-02-21NintendoFCAction-Adventure
Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past3828311600002006-12-021991-11-21NintendoSFCAction-Adventure
Xevious2418012700002006-12-021984-11-08Bandai NamcoFCShooting
Bomberman '94487252006-12-021993-12-10HudsonPC-Engine
Puyo Puyo274662006-12-021992-12-18SegaMDPuzzle
Columns60102006-12-021990-06-30SegaMDPuzzle
Gradius170672006-12-021986-04-25KonamiFCShooting
Street Fighter II1677928800002006-12-021992-06-10CapcomSFCFighting
Super Mario Bros.24556068100002006-12-021985-09-13NintendoFCPlatformer
Solomon's Key105782006-12-021986-07-30Koei-TecmoFCPuzzle
Super Mario World11721435500002006-12-021990-11-21NintendoSFCPlatformer
Super Mario 649101419200002006-12-021996-06-23NintendoN64Platformer
Sonic the Hedgehog167132006-12-021991-07-26SegaMDPlatformer
Donkey Kong Country4193430000002006-12-121994-11-26NintendoSFCPlatformer
Wario Woods49082006-12-121994-02-19NintendoFCPuzzle
Mario Bros.427932006-12-121983-09-09NintendoFCPlatformer
Mario's Super Picross228442006-12-191995-09-14NintendoSFCPuzzle
Sim City193789000002006-12-261991-04-26NintendoSFCStrategy
Fire Emblem Monshou no nazo250137800002006-12-261994-01-21NintendoSFCStrategy
Ice Climber546222007-01-161985-01-30NintendoFCPlatformer
Link's Adventure1835816700002007-01-231987-01-14NintendoFCAction-Adventure
Kid Icarus1414510900002007-01-231986-12-19NintendoFCAction-Adventure
Mario Kart 6412076022400002007-01-301996-12-14NintendoN64Racing
Fire Emblem Seisen no keifu227775000002007-01-301996-05-14NintendoSFCStrategy
Kamai-tachi no yoru1143812500002007-02-131994-11-25ChunsoftSFCAdventure
Shin Megami Tensei70542007-02-131992-10-30AtlusSFCRPG
Sangokushi52042007-02-201994-12-09Koei-TecmoSFCStrategy
Super Ghouls 'n' Ghosts150712007-02-201991-10-04CapcomSFCPlatformer
Kirby7559510000002007-02-271993-03-23NintendoFCPlatformer
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time7805811440002007-02-271998-11-21NintendoN64Action-Adventure
Ganbare Goemon2005115000002007-03-131991-07-19KonamiSFCAction-Adventure
Actraiser119984000002007-03-201990-12-16Square-EnixSFCRPG
Glory of Heracles III67072007-04-061992-04-24PaonSFCRPG
Star Fox 64449536400002007-04-171997-04-27NintendoN64Shooting
Kirby's Dream Course162102007-04-241994-09-21NintendoSFC
Puyo Puyo 2772952007-04-241994-12-02SegaMDPuzzle
Super Mario Bros. 27744026500002007-05-011986-06-03NintendoFCPlatformer
Sengoku Mahjong49702007-05-151988-07-08HudsonSFCTable
F-Zero X140472900002007-05-291998-07-14NintendoN64Racing
Breath of Fire 243742007-06-261994-12-02CapcomSFCRPG
Shining Force41952007-07-101992-03-20SegaMDStrategy
Paper Mario524712007-07-102000-08-11NintendoN64RPG
Shiren the Wanderer164762007-07-241995-12-01ChunsoftSFCRPG
Ghouls 'n' Ghosts97812007-07-311989-08-03CapcomMDPlatformer
Super Mario USA194257000002007-08-101992-09-14NintendoFCPlatformer
Deta na!! Twinbee175982007-09-181992-02-28HudsonPC-EngineShooting
Super Metroid265997100002007-09-201994-03-19NintendoSFCAction-Adventure
Ys Book I + II152732007-10-161989-12-21Nihon FalcomPC-EngineRPG
Donkey Kong Country 22182722100002007-10-231995-11-21NintendoSFCPlatformer
River City Ransom205662007-10-231989-04-25Arc System WorksFCFighting
Yoshi's Story172268500002007-10-301997-12-21NintendoN64Platformer
Panel de Pon72182007-11-271995-10-27NintendoSFCPuzzle
Downtown Nekketsu296992007-12-041990-08-07Arc System WorksFCFighting
Pokemon Snap302362007-12-041999-03-21NintendoN64
Super Mario Bros. 317623538400002007-12-111988-10-23NintendoFCPlatformer
Super Street Fighter II1643312900002007-12-181994-06-25CapcomSFCFighting
Custom Robo V2155902008-02-192000-11-10NintendoN64
Metroid1176310400002008-03-041986-08-06NintendoFCAction-Adventure
Kirby 643743410700002008-04-152000-03-24NintendoN64Platformer
Front Mission: Gunhazard42871800002008-05-201996-02-23Square-EnixSFCAction-RPG
Super Mario RPG4133114700002008-06-241996-03-09NintendoSFCRPG
Fire Emblem Trakkia 77688751100002008-07-151999-08-28NintendoSFCStrategy
Megaman159042008-07-291987-12-17CapcomFCPlatformer
Megaman 22338815100002008-08-261988-12-24CapcomFCPlatformer
Secret of Mana2006015000002008-09-091993-08-06Square-EnixSFCRPG
Mario Golf 6465522008-09-30NintendoN64Sports
Donkey Kong Country 31346718000002008-10-211996-11-23NintendoSFCPlatformer
Megaman 31216410800002008-11-041990-09-28CapcomFCPlatformer
Ogre Battle37894000002008-11-111993-03-12Square-EnixSFCStrategy
Super Smash Brothers3496119700002009-01-201999-01-21NintendoN64Fighting
Tactics Ogre73605000002009-02-101995-10-06Square-EnixSFCStrategy
Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask343746000002009-04-072000-04-27NintendoN64Action-Adventure
Kirby's Dream Land 3143513600002009-04-281998-03-27NintendoSFCPlatformer
Downtown Special377762009-05-121991-07-26Arc System WorksFCFighting
Famicom Wars57992009-05-191988-08-12NintendoFCStrategy
Final Fantasy95045200002009-05-261987-12-18Square-EnixFCRPG
Super Mario Kart1463238200002009-06-091992-08-27NintendoSFCRacing
Final Fantasy II56617600002009-06-161988-12-17Square-EnixFCRPG
Final Fantasy III1839114000002009-07-211990-04-27Square-EnixFCRPG
Final Fantasy IV749214400002009-08-041991-07-19Square-EnixSFCRPG
Ganbare Goemon 3845017000002009-09-151994-12-16KonamiSFCAction-Adventure
Bahamut Lagoon31555300002009-09-291996-02-09Square-EnixSFCStrategy
Kirby Super Star2563711000002009-10-131996-03-21NintendoSFCPlatformer
Fire Emblem47533300002009-10-201990-04-20NintendoFCStrategy
Fire Emblem Gaiden43423200002009-11-041992-03-14NintendoFCStrategy
Romancing Saga36839800002009-11-241992-01-28Square-EnixSFCRPG
Ogre Battle 6435182000002010-01-261999-07-14NintendoN64Strategy
Super Famicom Wars31022010-02-161998-05-01NintendoSFCStrategy
Romancing Saga 2787711700002010-03-231993-12-10Square-EnixSFCRPG
Romancing Saga 3738113000002010-09-211995-11-11Square-EnixSFCRPG
Mario Party 2702910900002010-11-021999-12-17NintendoN64Table
Final Fantasy V666024500002011-01-181992-12-06Square-EnixSFCRPG
Final Fantasy VI646425500002011-03-151994-04-02Square-EnixSFCRPG
Chrono Trigger366120300002011-04-261995-03-11Square-EnixSFCRPG

The earlier games had more time to accumulate sales and many of the bigger titles were released right away, but VC releases and sales in general seem to have started fading. Especially the late FFs by Square-Enix underwhelm.

With VC releases being basically free money, all the titles but the ones constantly being remade (like Dragon Quest, a VC no show or FF, which might as well not have bothered) make sense to republish. I’m expecting releases to pick up again on Wii U as well.

Link: List of all Japanese VC games at Wikipedia (Japanese)

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