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Buy These Nintendo 3DS Games Before They Disappear Forever
March 23, 2023

Buy These Nintendo 3DS Games Before They Disappear Forever

Reading Time: 4 minutes

This is your last opportunity to download 3DS and Wii U eShop titles.

The Switch may have succeeded the 3DS and Wii U, but that doesn’t mean the former systems are useless. Both Nintendo’s handheld and console have plenty of reasons to exist in 2023, whether it’s the extensive Game Boy library on the 3DS, or the Wii U’s ability to play every Zelda title on console. If you don’t have these games on your 3DS or Wii U right now, however, you’ll soon miss your chance to buy them forever.

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Pour one out for the Wii U and 3DS eShop

Nintendo plans to shut down the eShops for the 3DS and Wii U on Monday, March 27. While the move threatens game preservation and frustrates fans across the globe, it’s not necessarily a surprise. We’ve known about these plans since Nintendo announced them in February of last year. Even still, it stings. Nintendo isn’t just dropping support for legacy systems—they’re effectively cutting off players from a gigantic library of games.

Sure, many of these games can be found in the second-hand market, whether you head to game stores or browse eBay listings. Plus, a host of the best first-party Wii U games were ported to Switch. But plenty of these titles don’t actually exist in physical form, or are difficult to find in the first place. The Wii U allows you to play every console Zelda title, including the Wind Waker and Twilight Princess HD remakes, and both systems host a huge library of Virtual Console titles to take you back to the past. From now until Sunday, those games are accessible to anyone with a 3DS or Wii U. From Monday on, they’ll be gone forever, unless they find their way to another platform.

If you have a 3DS and/or a Wii U, and you want to pick up some games before they’re gone, there’s another quirk you need to deal with. Nintendo stopped supporting credit card purchases on the eShop in May of 2022. That means, in order to make any purchases from now until the 27th, you need to buy eShop gift cards and redeem them to your wallet.

The move has kicked off a conversation about the state of video game preservation. A company like Nintendo should have no problem making its libraries accessible on a modern system like the Switch. Imagine being able to play almost every game from the 80s through the 20s on your Switch. However, we find ourselves with a handful of retro titles available on Nintendo’s most expensive online subscription, and the vast majority of its Virtual Console library imminently biting the dust.

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Some aren’t taking the eShop’s closing lightly

YouTuber TheCompletionist highlighted the issue inwonderfully dramatic fashion, spending a grand total of $22,791 (464 eShop cards) to buy every single game across the 3DS and Wii U eShop libraries. That adds up to 866 Wii U games at 1.2TB and 1,547 3DS games at 267GB.

It was a massive feat, in more ways than expected. Stores had strict limits on the number of gift cards you could purchase at once; credit cards were declined after too many gift cards were purchased; the eShop has a $250 wallet limit at any given point, forcing the team to constantly cycle between buying games and uploading gift cards; the way Nintendo’s systems saved things to blocks instead of traditional storage was a mess.

My personal hell would be the way Nintendo themselves handle DLC on their first-party 3DS games. Not only do 3DS games force you to play them before having access to DLC purchases, but Nintendo also hides DLC behind particular lengths of gameplay:

I shit you not—New Super Mario Bros. 2. You need to beat the first world, which is a ninth of the game, before the DLC becomes even available for you to purchase. You must play the game before you pay more money to buy more game.

There’s a near never-ending slew of issues the team faced, and the video itself is 100% worth a watch.

As for why TheCompletionist and team tortured themselves with this project for nearly a year, the answer comes down to pure preservation:

Why go through so much effort and spend so mmuch money that I don’t have? Well, because all across the globe, developers did exactly that. They dedicated efforts and funds to get their games up on these various eShops. If you can’t find the physical version of a game, or it was exclusively digital like most games were, the eShop would be your best bet. But with it all closed, all these recommendations from your frinds can’t help you anymore.

Nintendo will likely not have a last-minute change of heart here, and we will still lose the Wii U and 3DS eShops for good. But it’s comforting to know these titles still exist in full somewhere. They won’t be totally lost to the digital ether.

If you have a 3DS or Wii U, I highly recommend hitting up the eShop one last time to see if there are any games you want to keep in your library. Kotaku has a great roundup of must-have 3DS games to buy on the eShop and NintendoLife has an equally great list for the Wii U. For me, you can keep things simple by buying virtually any Mario or Zelda game for sale across both platforms (the Ocarina of Time remake on 3DS is excellent). But take your time going through recommendations and lists to find the games that might resonate with you.

R.I.P. Wii U and 3DS eShop. You will be missed.


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