Looking back at the 3DS eShop

The Nintendo 3DS (and Wii U) eShop has officially closed, and it's a weird feeling. We knew this day would come for roughly a year now, but now that it's happened -- the feeling of regret is just extra strong. There's so many games exclusive to the 3DS that may never be seen again, and now our only chance to get them is gone. Sure, many games received physical copies as well, but even those are in short supply and will now only become rarer since there is not an alternative to buying them anymore. Then you have the games that were in fact eShop exclusive, that will now just fade into history. Again, many of these games will never be seen again, and that's just sad to think about. Also let's not forget all of the DLC out there as well, that will now be inaccessible because of this shut down. Games like Fire Emblem Fates were unique, in that you basically had to have the DLC to experience the full title. It released in two versions which featured different story routes, but the third (and final) route had to be downloaded -- this is now gone forever. So again, it's just sad to think about. If you missed out on any of this, it's too late.

But all good things have to eventually come to an end. It's not surprising the shop closed. The 3DS (and Wii U -- let's not forget it's store closed as well) have been "gone" for some time now. The 3DS came out in early 2011, while the Wii U came out near the end of 2012, and were both replaced by the console/handheld hybrid the "Nintendo Switch" in 2017. The 3DS continued on after the release of the Switch, but it became obvious that it was slowly being faded out. The console held a huge part of the market, so obviously they couldn't kill it off the moment something new came out, but now we've reached the point where most people have long ago switched to the Switch. So why keep the store open? Well, us gamers have reasons for it to continue, but that's not good enough for Nintendo.

Anyway... The eShop has been a part of many people's lives for many years now, so I wanted to take the time today to talk a little bit about it, and my memories of it. You see, the part of the eShop I was most looking forward to is something long forgotten. It's sadly something that never came to be, and I'm still disappointed by it. Even so, I do have a lot of good memories from the eShop, and the exclusives I bought from it.

You see, when the 3DS first came out, I was one of those guys who bought it on day one. It was a Sunday, and my dad gave me a ride up to GameStop after he got back from Church, and before we were supposed to meet up with my cousin who had come down for a visit. Thing was insanely easy to buy too, didn't even have it preordered! Of course the 3DS had a rocky start, but I knew where it would eventually go. The DS was a success, and I couldn't wait to see where Nintendo took their new handheld. Eventually popularity of the system did go up of course, and the eShop was announced to be released in June of 2011. Along with the eShop, a tech demo was going to be released -- a tech demo of the then upcoming MegaMan Legends 3.

Now I've talked plenty of times about how Netto's Game Room was founded on Capcom-Unity. It was Capcom's "Dev Room" that drew me back to that site in the first place, and it's where I spent so much of my free time submitting and talking about ideas for MegaMan Legends 3. I was soooo excited for the game, and one of my boss designs even made it to Capcom's desk (it didn't win). With the release of the eShop, we were told that a tech demo of Legends 3 would go up for download, and it was going to be used as a way to let fans test the game, and gauge the interest in the Legends 3 project. It wasn't officially in full development at this point, but Capcom was trying something new with the whole Dev Room process, and allowing fans to help with the development. So there was always a chance the game would be canceled/never picked up, but with everything going on with the project it seemed unlikely. So again, a demo was being released (a paid one at that), and it would help fund the project/see how interested people really were. This demo was going to be there at the launch of the eShop, but... It didn't happen.

Legends 3 was canceled right before the eShop's launch.

It was sad. It's understandable the project was a risk, but I still feel like they should've followed through with the first phase of their plans. If the paid for demo was meant to see how interested people would be in the game, and if the demo was complete (which we knew it was, and had seen it being shown off previously), then why didn't it just launch with the eShop as planned? What was the harm in selling something, and letting it determine the fate of the project? Instead the higher ups pulled the plug before it even had a chance.

So needless to say, the launch of the eShop wasn't as exciting as I (and many others) had hoped. But that was just one small thing, in what would become the eShop. Many unique and interesting games would be released on it over the years, and for the first time Nintendo would dive into true DLC as well. Games like Fire Emblem Awakening got expanded, and other games received updates and patches to fix issues and add in new content. Until then this was unheard of for Nintendo (minus some updates for Wii titles for example), but the eShop made it common place. Not to mention, the eShop was filled with charm, and that made it more of a joy to use. The way the box filled when downloading items, and the whole unwrapping the present thing on the menu once it was done. The music, and the little bag boy mascot character. Sure, it wasn't the most organized shop, but it was packed full of character. And it was nice! 

Seeing the eShop close is still sad, but again, we knew this day was coming. It wasn't going to last forever, as nothing does. It had a good run, but it's still a let down that so many games will now be (officially) lost to history. With the Nintendo Switch being more streamlined, hopefully the same wont happen to it, but it's impossible to know for sure what the future holds. Eventually the Switch will die as well obviously, but let's hope in the future we can carry our games and purchases forward into the next generations.

Anyway... Goodbye eShop. It was fun.

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