A year ago today, Nintendo launched its WiiWare channel, a marketplace for downloadable games that was Ninty's answer to the Xbox Live Arcade and Sony's Playstation Network. Of course, with Nintendo's lower-res graphics and internal memory limitations, comparing WiiWare to XBLA and PSN is an apples-oranges kind of thing. So no, you can't expect graphics as with XBLA classics like Geometry Wars 2 or Bionic Commando Re-Armed--but yes, you can still find beautiful art direction, retro gaming nostalgia, and a captivating gaming experience for far less than the cost of a single console game (with decent multiplayer to boot).

Sure, there's a ton of shovelware in Wii's usual selection, but WiiWare's best brings out the wide-eyed stoner kid in all of us. We picked our five favorite WiiWare Games to get you started...


• Price: 600 points ($6)
• If You're Looking For: Pong x Beatmania with Aldous Huxley backgrounds. Make like Jae Millz and zone out to this one. Wait, did we just make a Jae Millz reference? Apologies.


• Price: 1,000 points ($10)
• If You're Looking For: Braid x Super Mario Galaxy. You get to control the wind—a treat usually reserved for post-burrito afternoons.


• Price: 1,000 points ($10)
• If You're Looking For: The classic NES Mega Man of the '80s. 8-bit nostalgia at its finest. It's the video-game equivalent of staying up late trying to watch scrambled porn. Minus the shame.


• Price: 1,000 points ($10)
• If You're Looking For: The Conduit x Halo 2. Competent FPS fun without forking over $60 for the newest Call of Duty. Not to mention the best co-op play online since you sprung for a subscription to that webcam girl's site.


• Price: 1,500 points ($15)
• If You're Looking For: Boom Blox x Physics puzzles + quirky animation = bongloads of fun.