The Wii Shop Channel is a channel that comes bundled with every Wii, and it's a program that allows those with a broadband Internet connection on their Wii to shop around for Virtual Console games, which are classic titles for all the most famed gaming systems of the 80's and 90's (plus the very early 2000s), WiiWare, which is exclusive content from Nintendo, and some other fun things like episodes of old cartoons that Nintendo was involved with.
For the longest time, I completely ignored the Wii Shop Channel because I didn't want to connect my Wii to the Internet. But then, my dad and I became interested in getting Netflix, so we decided to go through with the process and to kill two birds with one stone, I decided to try it out.
Lo and behold, this ended up being one of the greatest channels on the Wii!
The ability to instantly download and play cult classics from Nintendo, from Mario to Bomberman, is priceless. I know myself, it's easy as heck to lose a gem of a game without even knowing how it happened, and this channel gives long-time gamers the chance to get back the magic of playing games that they had during their childhoods. That is truly amazing.
Plus, you can buy classics that you wish you had, but couldn't play since you don't have the consoles or can't get the games because they're out of production. For example, I have Paper Mario, Pac-Man, The Legend of Zelda, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Kirby's Adventure, and more! And, it's not exclusively Nintendo titles they sell. You can also get titles from Rare and Sega that were simply playable on Nintendo consoles, so for those craving Sonic, you can have it.
Still, there are a couple of major things I disliked about this channel. The first major one is something a game reviewing acquaintance of mine, Kwing, pointed out in his review of Super Smash Bros. Brawl. SSBB has a gallery of Masterpieces, which are short demos of games that were the defining title for famous Nintendo characters like Super Mario, Link, Fox McCloud, and Captain Falcon. I thought these were excellent, and that reinforces my agreement with Kwing that Nintendo should progressively make more and more gaming demos available on the Wii Shop Channel, so that potential buyers can try out the games they're interestd in and become not only more likely to buy, but more satisfied with their decision. For example, I was incredibly disappointed with the gameplay of Kirby's Dream Land 3, and a demo would have kept me from buying a game I disliked in favor of one I would have.
Secondly, while the Shop Channel does provide some details of their games, it doesn't provide any of the potential dealbreakers. For example they never say that Star Fox 64 never allows you to save your progress, meaning if you get it, you'll end up having to replay the main game over and over without agreeing to. Then again, this isn't really a major issue.
Thirdly, I was pretty frustrated with the fact that Wii Points Cards used to buy content only came in 2000 point increments. Since not all titles cost the same amount, meaning that unless you bought very specific combinations of games, you would unavoidably end up wasting your money. This is really just a ridiculous issue; it almost feels like a ponsy scheme by Nintendo to get more profit for having to give up less content. It would have been better if there were a function that allowed you to pay a corresponding amount of money to the amount of points you need, and after entering the code, you get only as many points in your account as cents you gave.
The biggest relative disgrace of the Wii Shop Channel is the WiiWare. When I saw WiiWare, I was excited! I thought it would be all sorts of advanced remakes of old Nintendo games, sidestories, interesting programs (like a Pokedex, which was on the 3DS), and maybe even animated shorts of some kind. Instead, it was just a bunch of tiny and, for the most part, unfinished games and lame programs that provided no fan service at all; just weird third party titles that were good to play for about 5 minutes. Plus, this stuff wasn't any kind of bargain, just the opposite. All WiiWare games are tremedously varying in price, and overpriced most of the time considering their quality. Most of the only somewhat good games were priced at about 1500 Points where the most expensive, N64-era, and fantastic VC games were 1000, with all the rest costing less.
In the end, my opinion is that the Wii Shop Channel is a great feature if you're interested in getting some classic games. However, the WiiWare up for offer is a load of crud much of the time, so if you don't like playing older games of any kind, I wouldn't go to the trouble of setting up this channel.