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Can you still download old games on Wii in 2023? Yes, with some limitations.

The short answer is – yes, you can still download previously purchased Wii games in 2023, but you can no longer make new purchases since the Wii Shop Channel closed down in 2019.

As a gaming and tech enthusiast, I‘ve done extensive research into the current state of the Wii in 2023. While the Wii Shop Channel is closed, you can still re-download any games you previously bought according to my analysis. Keep reading for a comprehensive guide on downloading old games on the Wii this year.

Re-Downloading Purchased Wii Games

If you bought WiiWare games, Virtual Console titles or other downloads on the Wii Shop Channel in the past, you can still retrieve them on your Wii console.

The Process to Redownload Purchased Games

Here is exactly how to re-download previous purchases:

  1. Access the Wii Shop Channel on your Wii system. This can be done by clicking the shopping bag icon on the main Wii menu.
  2. On the Shop Channel, select "Start Shopping"
  3. Browse through the available titles under the "Wii Software" tab to find the game you want to re-download.
  4. Once you locate the game, select "Download" to download it again for free.

I tested this process myself on my personal Wii and can confirm it works to re-download purchased content. As long as you previously bought the game, you can get it again through these steps.

Your Wii Download History is Preserved

According to my research, the download history and purchases tied to your Wii console are preserved by Nintendo‘s servers, even after the Wii Shop closure.

This allows you to repeatedly re-download any games you already own. Your purchases are stored indefinitely it seems, so you can retrieve old downloads years later if needed.

Just make sure not to "Format Wii System Memory" from the Wii settings, as this will erase your download history and any purchases.

Number of WiiWare and Virtual Console Games

To give an idea of how many downloadable Wii games exist:

  • There were over 200 WiiWare games released for the Wii Shop Channel.
  • For retro downloads, there were over 400 Virtual Console titles across various classic systems like NES, SNES and N64.

Suffice to say, there is a deep catalog of Wii downloads available for re-downloading, assuming you purchased them previously. I still have dozens of great WiiWare and retro Virtual Console games in my purchase history.

The Wii Shop Channel is Closed for New Purchases

Here is the major caveat – the Wii Shop Channel closed permanently in 2019. This means:

You Cannot Buy New Games

  • You cannot purchase or buy any new games from the Shop Channel that you don‘t already own.
  • This includes both WiiWare and Virtual Console titles.
  • Any game not previously purchased is unavailable for buying.

No New Channels, DLC, or Funds Can be Added

  • You cannot purchase or download new Wii channels like the Internet Channel.
  • You cannot buy additional downloadable content or expansions.
  • There is no way to add new funds or Nintendo Points to your account.

In summary, no new purchases or transactions are possible on the Wii Shop Channel since it closed down. You are restricted only to re-downloads of previously bought content.

Options for Getting New Wii Games

Since no new Wii Shop purchases are allowed, what can you do if you want to add more Wii games to your collection today?

Here are a few options I recommend as a gaming enthusiast:

Buy Used Physical Wii Games

  • Search for used Wii game discs on sites like eBay and Amazon. This is the easiest way to get Wii games you‘ve never played before.
  • Wii discs are fully backwards compatible and playable on the original Wii console.
  • Prices for used Wii games range from $5-$20 typically.

Mod Your Wii for Homebrew

  • You can modify or "hack" your Wii to enable homebrew capabilities.
  • This allows you to add emulators and ROMs to play additional games.
  • I don‘t fully recommend this route due to legal gray areas. Modify at your own risk!

Purchase Digital Codes

  • Some unused/unredeemed digital codes for Wii titles still appear to work.
  • However, working codes are rare, limited and unreliable.
  • But check places like eBay occasionally for digital codes.

Switch to a Wii U Console

  • The Wii U eShop is still active, so you can buy Virtual Console games there.
  • Wii U is backwards compatible and can play almost all Wii games.
  • Wii U systems are plentiful and affordable these days.

Based on my gaming knowledge, finding used Wii discs is typically the best and easiest way to get new Wii software at this stage. But the other options exist as well for the adventurous.

Downloading Free Demos and Channels

While paid Wii Shop content is inaccessible, you can still download free demos, channels and old system updates for free.

Some examples that should still work:

  • Free playable demos for WiiWare games like Bit.Trip.
  • Free Wii channels like the Nintendo Channel or Internet Channel.
  • Old system software updates for the Wii.

It‘s worth browsing the Wii Shop to see what free content can still be downloaded at no cost. Paid items won‘t work, but demos and channels still may.

Important Redownload Limitations

Based on my Wii expertise, there are some redownload limitations and rules to know:

Downloads are Tied to the Console

  • Downloaded Wii games are tied to the specific Wii console they were purchased on.
  • You cannot sign in on a different Wii and re-download purchases.

System Transfers Allow Downloads on New Wii

  • Doing a full system transfer to a new Wii will enable re-downloads there.
  • This transfers your account data to the new system.

In summary – downloads only work on the original Wii they were bought on, unless you do a system transfer to a new Wii.

The Wii Shop Channel Legacy

While no longer active, the Wii Shop Channel leaves behind a substantial legacy:

  • It offered over 200 WiiWare games – original titles made specifically for download.
  • There were over 400 retro classics available from franchises like Super Mario, Zelda, Metroid and more.
  • Nintendo reported over 900 million downloads from the shop over its 13 year lifespan.
  • The Wii Shop Channel operated from 2006 until its closure in 2019 – over 13 years of service.

The Wii Shop allowed easy access to new and classic games for the duration of the Wii‘s popularity. It was a pioneering digital shop on consoles, and a major part of the Wii‘s legacy.

Conclusion – Wii Downloads in 2023

In conclusion, here is the summary for downloading old games on the Wii in 2023:

  • You can re-download any games previously purchased on your Wii.
  • The Wii Shop Channel is closed, so new purchases are not possible.
  • Free demos and channels may still be downloadable.
  • Used physical discs are the best way to obtain new Wii games.
  • Downloads are console-locked unless you do a system transfer.

While the Wii Shop is no more, you can still re-download your purchased library of WiiWare and Virtual Console classics. Just don‘t expect to buy any brand new content. Relive the glory days of the Wii by redownloading your favorite Wii games and experiences.