I could have sworn there was a thread like this already, but I can’t seem to find it. Oh well.
As most of y’all probably are aware, in 10 days the 3DS and Wii U eShops will close permanently, making all games on both consoles harder to acquire and rendering digital-only games inaccessible by legal means. So! Let’s make this a thread to shout out favorites, share recommendations for stuff to grab before the ship goes under, or just reminisce about a pair of consoles that deserved better than what they got.
I never owned a Wii U nor a 3DS, which outside of the Virtual Boy and Game and Watch, would be the only Nintendo hardware I didn’t experience firsthand. The Wii U I am less regretful about considering the majority of its library made it to the Switch (Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE rules!), but it does sting to miss out on the 3DS, especially with hardware costing so much these days. Setting aside the fact that Nintendo is terrible with maintaining its archive, the form factor of the 3DS makes it all but impossible for hobbyists to preserve its legacy in any reasonably accessible form. It’s an absolute tragedy, and I’m saddened that I’ll never get the chance to play A Link Between Worlds, Super Mario 3D Land, or Fire Emblem Awakening.
Anyway, let this be an lesson to never trust Nintendo with anything digital, and be sure to get the physical version of Tears of the Kingdom when it drops.
This post made me panic and check that A Link Between Worlds was still loaded onto my 3DS. The other two classics I have the carts for.
A Link Between Worlds really is a gem. I spent a lot of time with the 3DS in high school and college, since it was my only gaming device for a long time. Its virtual console was what really let me get into Zelda after only having Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks available on the regular DS. Something like half the series was (well, still is, for a little while) available on there. And the Ocarina of Time/Majora’s Mask remakes were what let me experience those games for the first time too.
And I definitely wouldn’t have done (or, erm, still be doing) my whole Metroid thing without either of these consoles. Basically every game is on either one or the other (though at least now it seems like they’re being drip-fed onto Switch online). It seems like the Wii U also has almost every Mario Kart title on its VC — and again I guess I just have to hope Nintendo dumps them on Switch Online eventually.
And shoutout to Kid Icarus: Uprising. That game rocks and deserves a control scheme that doesn’t make your fingers fall off.
Unfortunately, due to finding the battery of my 3DS swollen and thus disposing of it when I unpacked it a month ago, I can’t check my library but I didn’t engage too much with eshop exclusives. Some of my friends would always speak highly of Crimson Shroud so I’d love to check that out if I get the chance.
Also, reminder to check on the batteries of your old devices every so often. They can be actual fire hazards when lying dormant. Note the product ID and search AliExpress or something for a replacement.
Xenoblade X deserved better. Please play that game if you have the means.
Oh yeah, I forgot there was a Yasumi Matsuno 3DS-eshop exclusive game that’s going to be basically Lost Forever after this. That was part of a four game downloadable collection and wasn’t really the grand epic I wanted to see from him after FFXII, but it deserves better than to be flushed down the toilet like this.
I honestly played my DS a lot more then my 3DS. I don’t know if I actually finished anything on my 3DS other then pokemon now that I think about it.
I got really far into Soul Hackers which is really good and I should probably go back and finish it up but at the same time I think Im kind of done with RPG’s for a bit.
I think there’s this sort of undercurrent that Nintendo is doing something cruel by killing off the eShop, which I think is sort of weird, because the issue isn’t that the 3DS or the eShop is dying, it’s that Nintendo has a really ugly relationship with archival. It was inevitable that these servers shut down, but this stuff is probably never coming back, and that sucks.
Something I’m thinking about now is that, for a brief moment in the seventh console generation, it felt like the gaming companies were open to making old games accessible and easy to acquire. The Wii Shop had an enormous catalog of retro games (with really good N64 emulation too!) and the PS3 was capable of running like every PS2 and PS1 game either through the PSN or by straight up putting the old discs in there. Nintendo weirdly held on to that dream longer into the next-gen; I feel like Sony and Microsoft dropped it pretty comfortably (though I never owned those consoles; correct me if I’m wrong). But now Nintendo has this pretty weak retro catalog on Switch and very occasionally a rerelease will drop. It sucks.
Completely unrelated to anything, I’m assuming hacking one’s 3DS can be done whenever and doesn’t need to be done immediately, right? Or?
No you’re right, and I think that hits the nail on the head. The 3DS and Wii U had access to really solid digital archives of lots of retro games, and were also the last vestige of a tradition of backwards compatibility with physical games on these consoles. It’s understandable why the Switch had to break the trend of Nintendo machines being able to play the previous console’s games (something they had clearly always designed for, otherwise there wouldn’t have been a big ol’ GBA slot built into the DS), but Switch Online replacing the Virtual Console is just another shift to the limbo of subscription services.
I think at one point in time I would have agreed but the ability for companies to now scale up and down infrastructure based purely on current load has me feeling like the only reason services get shut down now is they were either never built/transitioned to be scaling infrastructure and they want you to rebuy the games again.
Yes you do need someone to come through and probably update the gold image once a month for the latest Linux build and whatever other open source packages are running but we’ve also gotten to a point in network security that if done correctly a single server take over is not a shut down everything event.
What I’m saying is the ability for digital shops to exists perpetually as long as the company is making enough to cover hosting costs is real. So long as the people building it are doing so with that in mind which let’s be real the eShop for old Nintendo consoles going away is exactly what Nintendo wanted so they can sell that content to you again.
Sure, the inevitability comment was less about the actual necessity of it being shut down (most of these could run for much, much longer) and more that that’s just what these companies consistently do (the fact that they were up for over a decade is in and of itself surprising, and it’s wild that the PS3 PSN is still available). I was trying to indicate that this would be less of a problem if these companies actually dedicated resources to preserving and maintaining any of these things. Losing access to the specific shop does suck absolutely, but it’s much more troubling as a part of a consistent refusal of any form of archival.
Hard for me to not feel like I’m leaping to the huge corporation’s defence here but I’d argue Microsoft has ended up with the best backwards compatibility of the big three. The 360 played original Xbox discs, and then the One played anything that they updated to run on the new hardware - which was a very long list, regularly updated, either digitally or from the original disc. The Series X|S inherited all that. It’s probably the best backwards compatibility effort outside of PC gaming, where even there older games can have issues if there aren’t official or fan interventions (my favourite is stuff that relies on CPU speed for things like AI cycles or animation, so games like Commandos, the old real time tactics series, ran comically fast on modern hardware).
The PS3 briefly picked up the “yes, it just plays the old discs” policy of the PS2, but you’re right, Sony quickly ditched that. Only early PS3s had the PS2 chipset (IIRC, only the launch model 60GB version) and it was later plucked out. The PS4 never did much in the way of backwards compatibility except in the case of specific digital re-releases, and Sony has only recently revisited it at all with their new subscription model stuff, which is lacking when PS3 games are still relegated to the cloud.
I think that’s what makes the loss of the 3DS and Wii U libraries so frustrating - they were themselves flourishing libraries for older software as well as their own games, and there are (imperfect) models for how to preserve that, keeping things available rolling forwards.