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Posted on Apr 18th 2017 at 08:00:00 AM by (slackur)
Posted under Wii U, Collecting, Modern, Retro, Retail

I guess it makes sense that Nintendo.com has pictures that makes me want to buy a third one.

Isn't it funny how we easily get caught in a trap of thinking that, because things have been a certain way for awhile, that is how they will stay?  For years and years and years, Atari games were a dime a dozen at yard sales.  NES games were everywhere, and a copy of Contra was $5 to $10 tops.  Final Fantasy VII and Symphony of the Night were both twenty bucks new everywhere.  Collecting N64 and Atari Jaguar games seemed like a silly idea.  PS2 games were never, ever going away.

And before that a Coke was a nickel and gas was a quarter and yada yada, I get it.  Different times.

My point; How many of us are kicking themselves for not buying that complete Earthbound from Blockbuster, or those last few Saturn games like Panzer Dragoon Saga and Burning Rangers on clearance?  Wish we knew then what we knew now, right?  Queue the classic discussion about time machines and grabbing retro video games.

Well, I gotta say, it seems we are at one of those key moments in collecting history, and it involves the dark horse, red-headed stepchild of our current to last generation;

Oh- yes, well, that one counts.  Fits the bill perfectly, come to think of it.  Great games, tough to find library, and Limited Run Games turning completionist collectors into insane lunatics.
But no, the system I'm thinking of is-

Ack!  No, not that one either.  I'm referring to a Nintendo system that is out of print and even tougher to find-

Cruel.  Just cruel.  Speaking of how Nintendo hates money, I'm referring to their recent Generation Zero Switch, also known as;

The Wii U has its fans here, to be sure.  And many a gamer kinda wanted one for a handful of games, but just they'd wait for the price to go down.  Well, sadly the system never reached that low price point we all hoped for, and of course the library never grabbed the third party support it really needed.  The hardware is officially discontinued and the total region 1 library will top out at fewer than 170 games, just a little more than half of the N64, which itself had a few thousand fewer releases than its own PlayStation competitor.   

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild generated a spike in Wii U system sales over the last few months, meaning that right as we hoped the post-holiday months would see some low price sales, in fact prices went up slightly.  But now is the time for Ninty faithful, retro collectors, or just fans of great games, to look out for clearances on the Wii U, its games, and accessories. 

The newest Zelda may be getting all of the love lately (sorry Crabby!), but there are a few other games for the system worth playing.  Quite a few, really.  In fact, according to this article, the Wii U has almost twice as many highly acclaimed exclusives as PS4 and Xbox One put together. 

Can't argue with math.  That's not true, my kids do it all the time.  And sales certainly don't represent the critical praise.  But it does paint a picture of a future in a few years' time where the Wii U is far more desirable for folks trying to finally play those exclusives.  Considering over half the library is already tough to find and how the low library count makes a complete set far more likely than many systems, and we have pretty much the perfect storm for prices to keep going up.  So, with that in mind, I'd highly recommend keeping an eye out if you have any interest, as things will likely not get easier (or cheaper) anytime soon. 

And just for fun, and since most folks know all of the big releases (considering they're either made by Nintendo or third party outliers like Bayonetta 2,) here's a list of oddities in the library you may not have heard about or will likely have trouble finding in the wild.

The Book Of Unwritten Tales 2

A modern point 'n' click by the Adventure Company

The Croods: Prehistoric Party
Yeah, before you laugh, look at the absurd prices this goes for.

Devil's Third

Not as limited as claimed, but it will only get tougher to find.

Fast & Furious: Showdown
Not too bad now, but going for more than most would want to pay...

Fifa 13
Same as above, and like many others on this list.

Funky Barn

Game & Wario

Sadly, can't say we thought it was as good as the last few in the series, but its never seemed to be particularly easy to find either.

Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams- Directors Cut

Unlike many on this list, this one is worth tracking down just because it is a great, fun game.

Hello Kitty Kruisers
Like many on this list, it seems easier to find until you realize it is the European version that is listed.

Legend of Kay Anniversary

Not a bad game, really.

Mario & Sonic at the Rio Olympics

Yeah, I was surprised with this on the list too.  But those prices are nuts now.

Monster High: 13 Wishes
The other Monster High game is much cheaper, but this one is pricey.  Lack of availability, maybe?

NBA 2K13

And continuing the trend of expensive sports games...

Rapala Pro Bass Fishing
See above.

Rodea: The Sky Soldier

Should come with a Wii version on a separate disc that many gamers prefer.

Runbow: Deluxe Edition
Limited release, interesting multiplayer.

The Smurfs 2
Hey, I don't pick'em, folks.  I just notice a few of these are going up in price.

SpongeBob SquarePants: Plankton's Robotic Revenge
Yeah, see above.

Tank! Tank! Tank!

C'mon, how can you not want a game with three exclamation marks in the title?  Lotsa multiplayer fun.

Another limited release.

Turbo: Super Stunt Squad
Yeesh.  After looking at some of these prices, maybe I'm too late...

Wii Party U

Try to nab the big outer box and additional controller if you can.

And as a bonus, it looks like the last two releases will likely be Darksiders: Warmastered Edition, and a late addition in Cars 3.  And probably another Just Dance or three.

Hope this helps, and happy hunting!


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I've grabbed a couple WiiU titles lately and I plan on grabbing more. I asked a Gamestop employee about the system and he called it Nintendo's Saturn. Thanks for the article and I'm going to pick up some more Wii U games before I'm paying Saturn prices.
Awesome article Jess and thanks for putting some hard to find games on our collecting radar.  I guess my question is, "Is NOW really the time to start collecting for a full set for Wii U?"  I know that we should probably be on the lookout for some of the games you are pointing to that are starting to go up in price (if we are trying to complete a set), but don't you think that the prices will continue to plummet for the more common titles like they did, and are still doing with the Wii?  I understand that the Wii had far more releases and of course, far more shovelware than the Wii U, but are there that many people out there seeking a full set right now?  I don't know, I guess I see more value, in terms of saving money, in collecting for the Wii and PSP at this point.  Just my thoughts.
I agree that it's a great time to collect for Wii U, and I think the Wii U will be a collector favorite in years to come, with its limited library and many high quality Nintendo games.

However, I've seen precious few deals at brick and mortar stores.  Maybe it's just where I am, but stores seem unwilling to let go of their Wii U inventory for low, low prices just yet.  I've had much more success following the CAG twitter feed and picking stuff up from Amazon.

Even GameStop removed its Wii and Wii U inventory from the floor rather than blow it out at my local locations.  In my experience, Wii U games tend to disappear rather than be discounted, so the hunt for games at retail may end rather abruptly.
Good write-up!  This will be a handy resource for me, as I try to track down more Wii U titles.  I'm kinda sorta trying for a full Wii U set, though for some of the absolutely terrible games, I'm not sure I want to pay the insane prices.  This is one set I may see about finishing "eventually", but I think I might want to concentrate on the other sets I have a good possibility of finishing, and be happy with the respectable library of actually great Wii U games that I already own.  Outside of Splatoon 2, SSB4, and a handful of other games, I think I have most of the best Wii U games already, so at this point, I'm undecided as to which direction I want to go.  BAH!  The perils of being a game collector!  #FirstWorldProblems

@singlebanana: I'm kind of in the same boat as you - especially since I'm trying to achieve a full PSP set.  I have no illusions that I'll ever accomplish a full Wii set, so I'm just trying to get any decent to good games I can find when I see them cheap.  But the PSP, that's actually a collection goal, so I'm going a bit more hardcore with that.

@Ikariniku: Thankfully, the Wii and Wii U stuff is still at the GameStop locations in my area, so I hope I'll be able to continue to have access to that stuff until the Switch library gets large enough that they have to let it go.  By that point, I'm hoping the Wii U and Wii stuff then start to trickle down to Goodwill and the local pawn shops, since families who own that stuff will no longer have anywhere to go with it for trade-ins.  That just might have to be part of my long term Wii and Wii U collection strategy.
I'm not entirely sure I agree with the thesis here because WiiU shortages have been priced into the market for quite some time. If you're coming in now, you'll have missed a bunch of windows where the collecting was better than the market today. I think this system is an anomaly to what you'd normally expect if you went looking for Wii, oXbox or PSP titles. This is for a couple of reasons:

WiiU launch titles - and really WiiU games in general - just didn't get a second print (for the most part - NSBU did with its variants) so titles like Wii U Sports Club still go for over its original 2012 MSRP. NBA 2k13 made the list here, another example of people already seeking out the catalog so prices are higher. Games like Pikmin 3 were expensive in 2013 because they didn't reprint until the Nintendo Selects. There was a window to get these at a reduced price but once they left retail they started getting pricey again. The games just didn't sell and in turn, publishers stopped making as many.

GameStop has fully priced in scarcity in WiiU titles so you're not going to find a lot of deals there. It's the third party titles that are hard to get also, and the counter to that is Nintendo's first party titles which take forever to drop in price (there are some exceptions here like Starfox, Mario Party, and Xenoblade chronicles where there were big print runs that didn't sell). I recently found the Bayonetta double disc set pre-owned - they sell it for $49.99 used so they know the deal (that's still $15 or more less than eBay, if you can find one actually at a store). Rodea is another one you mentioned above - the double set with the Wii disc was around for a bit, but you had to really time that deal as it's harder to find now.

I do think it's smart to get in on your Runbows, etc right now as they are sitting in major retailers like Target and Toys R Us for $20 (their MSRP), but could become scarce. Mario & Sonic Rio was a full $60 release and sat at that price, no sales, never really dropped and now it's incredibly hard to find. And the Olympics were just last year! who would have known the rarity with those (the 2014 Winter one is like $25-$30) given the series history, but I think it comes down to just no sales and a smaller print run.
@singlebanana: I would say the WiiU's long term viability in being a collector's system will depend upon how many of it's exclusives are ported to the switch.
I should add, I'm actively looking to complete my WiiU want list, as slackur describes, right now because outside of yard sales and hunting in the wild, I don't see the market getting any better. So that *does* agree with the article (which is very good - with some titles I didn't even know about).

I've grabbed Hyrule Warriors, Duck Tales, the Bayonetta double set and I picked up Breath of the Wild (at the time, was the last copy anywhere near me). I have seen BotW back in Targets now for WiiU, but who knows in a couple months.
@Addicted:That was my exact hope for this article, so yay!

@singlebanana:Thanks!  There will always be the chance to catch that leftover clearance game, but we've been actively collecting for the Wii U for about a year now, and the "cheapies" (shovelware and commons) seem to be globally increasing in price.  There are and will always be outliers, but it seems statistically that the library's price as an average has passed the bottom-out and is now on the rise.  We canvas about 100 miles around the PA/OH/NY area, and that's our local experience.  A rough examination on internet pricing (Amazon/eBay) seems to confirm this to the best of our observation.  It is admittedly difficult to assess until a few years out (which would be too late, of course.)

@Ikariniku:Yep, that's our experience as well.  Most retailers don't seem to budge on pricing, and it seems many games disappear before going on sale.

@MetalFRO:The Wii U has been fun to collect for, and there are certainly some somewhat hidden gems.  There are about 20 titles most agree are worth picking up, another 20 or 30 nifty games depending on your tastes and multiplayer interest, and the rest are personal preference or probably not desirable outside of collecting.  Considering how expensive several in that last category are becoming, I'd probably go for the rest of the ones you know you want, and just pick up others as you go if you happen upon them for cheap.  Just my thoughts, but if you are already going for a complete set on another system and are on the fence for this one, it gets pretty pricey to go for both!

We didn't set out to get a complete set, but the whole family plays the system so much that we'd buy almost any game for it on sale.  Those sales are disappearing, hence the article. Smiley

@retrosportsgamer:I hear what you are saying, and I can agree with much of your critique.  In fairness, we never know when the best window to collect is until it has passed!  And there have been better opportunities for several games before they already spiked.  The built-in scarcity pricing (particularly at GameStop) is still a process that is occurring, though, and not yet finished; just in the last few months I ordered games from GS online to be delivered to store, and in the few days it took the game to be mailed over, the price went up!  (They adjusted it for me in each case, because I'm good friends with the staff at that store, and they are great with customers.)

So to the point of the article (and your fair rebuttal) I'd clarify that the ideal window to collect for the Wii U is overall closing fast; the ship has sailed for some of it, and the rest is going there pretty quick.  Even many of those $20 MSRP retail games still in store tend to be only a few copies per store, and once they're gone, they are gone for good.  Most places I know would only get 1 to 3 copies of any new Wii U game outside of a Nintendo release. 

As an aside, few people can be both critical and kind (especially on the internet), so kudos sir. Smiley

@Addicted:@singlebanana:It would make sense from a player perspective that the Wii U library's collectability would depend on what is ported to the Switch.  However, in my experience the pricing will end up generally more based upon perceived availability, even moreso than desirability.  tldr; A better version on a newer system doesn't appear to greatly effect collector pricing much, historically speaking.
@slackur: That's a great point regarding perceived availability. Mario Kart 8 on the WiiU won't be dropping any time soon even after the Switch version releases. I picked up a WiiU copy of Barbie's Dream House for the WiiU for $1 and I'm amazed it's $23 and climbing! Also why is it always a Just Dance game that ends up costing so much?
Good call, Jess, and some good recommendations.  I've been seeing many Wii U games start to creep onto clearance shelves at local Targets as of late.  True, there are three times as many PS4 and XBone games on the same shelves, but only the Wii U has shrinking shelf space on their current games.  Personally,  I'm waiting until the Wii U starts to completely decompose before jumping aboard.  You know, right when the games at the rental stores are pretty much free and GameStop starts selling refurb systems for less then $100?  Mmm, that's some good eating.
As a player, I was quite disappointed with the Wii U in terms of small and lacking selection despite my best of trying to support the thing as well as some Nintendo 1st party titles weren't as enjoyable for me.

The thing is when it comes to collecting, you just don't know what the value of the games are going to be. Like with the Switch, it will make owning the Wii U version of Mario Kart 8 less likely (due to the DLC thing, when the servers go some of the Wii U stuff becomes undesirable, Splatoon being the most affected) so prices will go down and it was the most popular game of the console. I see a LOT of used copies of Mario Kart 8. LEGO City Undercover is already the cheapest version. BOTW could go either way either like GC Twilight Princess and be the more expensive version or dropped down since people want the (objectively better) Switch version. Bearing in mind that I'm not from the US so there could be some variation. It's going to be like so many systems where the hard to find games happens to be the less desirable ones and seems to be the case. I once saw a large pile of Devils Third copies and only because the multiplayer part got switched off. I do wonder about 007 Legends though (its okay but rushed though), it's the only version that has the Skyfall DLC on disc and wonder whether any collectors will jump to that about 10 years time. I'm not even sure if the Wii U will become a collectable console like the others; only a couple of RPGs or fighters, the battery of the GamePad and the requirement of it, little Japanese made games and some lesser 3rd party titles. it'll be more like collecting for the Virtual Boy mixed with the forgotten side of the N64 rather than say the SNES, Gamecube or even the Wii. There's only the Mario/Zelda games, Donkey Kong, Bayonetta 2 and Pokken that I can think of what people would want. Maybe Smash Bros too.

Out of the entire list, the only game that is appealing to get for me would be Tank! Tank! Tank! (the Battle City like game) since I either have them (Legend of Kay that was quite good until I got into a gamebreaking bug, Mario & Sonic Rio, Rodea), on another system (Fast & Furious Showdown) or just not for me. Not sure whether Giana Sisters was released physically on the Wii U in Europe. Oh and also would have got Wii Sports Club but the price is off putting back then and now, still full price.

Then again I got lucky when I got Fast Racing Neo on Amazon after unable to find it in any store (as in the 4 stores that sell any Wii U stuff at all) and when a supermarket had a sale on Mario & Sonic Rio (hey, I wanted it to play) perhaps the only time when the game got the sub 30 price. Also had that hunch about Rodea and one of the very few times in recent history where I actually pre-ordered a game (and good reasons why, NISA release so it's hard to find, Wii version done by Yuji Naka so the Sega/NiGHTS fans will be buying it), however it came down in price because of my bad luck and judgment. It did disappear after 6 months though.

Funnily enough, at one point New Super Luigi U was worth more than I what I paid for it however it has dropped a lot since. On the other spectrum, it took ages for Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate to come down from full price to half, used copies too and it took like 3 years for that to happen (did get it though when it was half price to play at some point).

Oh and I noticed that Sniper Elite V2 seems to be missing, from what I read the hardest to find out of the versions of the game (some of the game series is hard to find such as the Xbox and Wii versions of the 1st game).
Yeah, I am kicking myself about that Croods game. I have seen it so many times and assumed it was just another third party, poorly produced, dime-a-dozen, movie-into-game title...and now it will take a Benjamin to locate one should I pull the trigger soon. Damn.
New Super Luigi U has dropped a bit, but seems steady over the last year or so in the low 30s. I picked that up a year or so ago. I thought it would spike a bit and wanted to get in before it was really hard to find.

New Super Mario Bros U + New Super Luigi U combo pack has definitely dropped. You can get near mint for $35 now - it still goes for $60 new at GS.

Stupid Funky Barn. Been after that since launch and have never seen one locally.

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