It’s Official, the 3DS and Wii U eShop are No More

Here’s the thing, the closure of digital shops for platforms is imminent. It’s part of the “natural” life cycle for any product line since it becomes less used by its playerbase over time. The same principle applies to the 3DS’ and Wii U’s eShop. As of today, it’s no longer possible to make any purchases from those online stores—be it DLCs or actual games. Nintendo did provide a notice a year in advance about them closing shop to give us time to prepare, but I still can’t help feeling gutted about it.

Didja Gets Those Games?

During the last few weeks before its closure, websites have been creating compendiums of games and additional content you should purchase on the eShop before it becomes unavailable entirely. From Nintendo-focused websites like Nintendo Life to dedicated news outlets for all things gaming, such as Polygon, there’s been a hodgepodge of content for the games you should consider getting before saying goodbye to the eShop. Credit card payment support may have ended on May 23, 2022, but adding funds was still possible by linking your Nintendo Network ID to your Nintendo Account.

Now that the eShop is out of the picture, did you get the games you wanted? A couple of sales happened before Nintendo said goodbye to its digital stores. We had that huge Capcom sale where the 3DS-exclusive Ace Attorney games were priced at $3 a pop. The same thing goes for the Monster Hunter games. It’s a shame we didn’t get a sale for the Atlus titles. Atlus initially announced they would hold one, but it never came to fruition. I would’ve loved to see the Persona 3 and Shin Megami Tensei games sold relatively cheaply, but it never became a reality.

Expect the Price of Physical 3DS and Wii U Games to Skyrocket

If you’ve got a couple of 3DS and Wii U games in your gaming room, it’s best to hold onto them for the time being. Nintendo’s announcement of the platforms’ eShop back then led to inevitable consequences. First, it drove the prices of 3DS units like mad; if you thought $80 for a 3DS XL might sound expensive, wait until you see the prices for the other handheld variations. And second, the physical; media for those games jumped in price. Scoring the Persona Q and even the Pokemon games could cost a pretty penny back then. Now, things are about to skyrocket further.

Nintendo was never one to port their older games, but they’re slowly getting the hang of it. Prime examples include Rune Factory 4, Megaman Legacy Collection, Alliance Alive, and the like. But you’re out of luck if we’re talking about actual first-party titles like Fire Emblem, Pokemon, and The Legend of Zelda games. Currently, you can exclusively play those titles on the Wii U and 3DS. So if you have those games in your library, I suggest keeping them close to your sleeve since they’re bound to go up in price.

The Completionist Did God’s Work

The decision to close the 3DS and Wii U eShops makes perfect sense for Nintendo, but for video history fanatics and lovers of the platforms, it’s a disaster. And understandably, how can it not be? Many games bound within those consoles will disappear—never to be seen or made available again. Take the 3DS eShop—most of its games consist of tiny indie nuggets that probably haven’t been purchased for years, but that doesn’t mean they’re no longer worth preserving. Then you have the big, important releases like The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD no longer legally available to the masses.

To address these problems, a YouTuber known as The Completionist decided to buy his way through both eShops. The statistics are staggering—amounting to 1,547 3DS titles and 866 Wii U titles. These numbers include all Virtual Console releases, DSiWare, and downloadable content (DLCs). The man spent a cool $22,791 for his efforts. If you want to know more about the whole process, you can watch his video here.

You’re probably thinking, “Okay, so this guy comes up and buys every possible game you can get from the eShops. How does this help?”. It actually helps—a lot. At the end of his video, The Completionist said he’d donate everything he’s downloaded to the Video Game History Foundation. The Video Game History Foundation is a non-profit organization that deals with physical media and preserves video games.

Is Emulation the Way?

Nintendo has always had a stick up their posterior regarding emulation. Still, with the permanent closure of the 3DS and Wii U eShops, it’s arguably the only way to access the plethora of games these platforms offer. You could certainly attempt to buy the physical games for these consoles, but not only will it cost you an arm and a leg, but you won’t even get to have EVERY game since some are digital exclusives.

Thankfully, emulation software has become better in recent times. Citra is the best Nintendo emulator on the block with an impressive program. You might’ve heard of them already since they’re also the brains behind Yuzu, a Switch emulator. Another alternative is RetroArch, a highly revered program considered the best in the business. RetroArch has every console under a single digital roof, making it the perfect one-stop-shop for users to search for different retro consoles besides the 3DS. If you’re the least interested in checking out the performance these give, I recommend you try it on your PC or Android phone (for Citra only).

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