Nintendo recap: What the 3DS and Wii U eShops closing means for you

Nintendo 3ds Tombstone Grave
Nintendo 3ds Tombstone Grave (Image credit: Rebecca Spear / iMore)

Welcome to this week's Nintendo recap. It's a bit of a somber one this week since we learned that the Wii U and 3DS eShops will be closing in 2023, with the ability to add funds to your account going away much sooner than that. In other news, a man named Gary W. Bowser, who was the leader of a video game hacking group, was sentenced for his illegal trade. In happier news, players can enjoy the upcoming Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course Pass tracks even if they don't pay for them. There's plenty more to discuss too, so let's dive in.

Wii U and Nintendo 3DS online eShops will no longer allow purchases very soon

Wii U Console (Image credit: iMore)

Nintendo ruffled some feathers this week when it announced that both the Wii U and 3DS online eShops will no longer accept purchases come March 2023. But these limits are actually worse than they first appear. Nintendo went on to clarify that users will no longer be able to add money to their Wii U or 3DS eShop accounts using credit cards starting on May 23, 2022, which is just around the corner. Adding funds to those accounts via Nintendo eShop gift cards will also end come Aug. 29.

If players have already purchased something on the Wii U, 3DS, or 2DS, they will still be able to download it for the foreseeable future. In that same vein, multiplayer games on these Nintendo platforms will supposedly be accessible past March 2023, but for how long is unknown. It's also worth noting that the 3DS eShop is also where 2DS owners purchase digital games, so the same deadlines apply.

This whole situation once more puts the existence of digital video games in a strange light, especially when it comes to ideas of ownership and preservation. Nintendo isn't the best at keeping older games accessible as new gaming systems come out, so halting purchases on these platforms could severely restrict access to some of these games for years to come. What makes the situation even worse is that Nintendo actively fights against the preservation of its own video games, as explained by the Video Game History Foundation.

"While it is unfortunate that people won't be able to purchase digital 3DS or Wii U games anymore, we understand the business reality that went into this decision. What we don't understand is what path Nintendo expects its fans to take, should they wish to play these games in the future. As a paying member of the Entertainment Software Association, Nintendo actively funds lobbying that prevents even libraries from being able to provide legal access to these games. Not providing commercial access is understandable, but preventing institutional work to preserve these titles on top of that is actively destructive to video game history. We encourage ESA members like Nintendo to rethink their position on this issue and work with existing institutions to find a solution" - Video Game History Foundation

Unless Nintendo makes games from the 3DS and Wii U eShops accessible elsewhere, it's destroying video game history. You'd think the company would at least allow a formal institution to immortalize their creations, but that isn't the case. It's no wonder that so many people turn to emulators and jailbreaking in order to Nintendo games.

Closing these eShops is also a strange move given that so many people picked up the Wii U or 3DS during the pandemic when the Nintendo Switch was impossible to get. Cutting off access to purchasing Wii U and 3DS games so soon is stingy, but Nintendo will do what Nintendo wants to do.

If you've been thinking about a game on either of these platforms you should snag it now. The Wii U's Virtual Console, in particular, gives access to several retro Nintendo classics that aren't on Switch and we might not have access to them once these eShops close. Some of my favorites include Super Mario RPG, Chrono Trigger, and Final Fantasy III. It's also possible that some indie devs will put their 3DS and Wii U games on sale, so keep an eye out in the coming months to snag some good deals.

PSA: Download Pokémon Bank and Poké Transporter on your 3DS ASAP

Pokemon Home How To Transfer From Pokemon Bank Hero (Image credit: Rebecca Spear / iMore)

As part of the 3DS eShop closure, Pokémon Bank, which is a subscription service used to store Pokémon captured from Pokémon games playable on 3DS, "is scheduled to be free of charge" in late March 2023, according to the Pokémon website. That means you'll need to download Pokémon Bank and Poké Transporter on your 3DS before May 23, 2022 or you won't have access to them going forward. Oh! And make sure you download any updates before then, too, or they won't work properly.

Doing this is very worth your time considering that the first and second-gen core Pokémon games are all available for just $10 or less on the 3DS eShop, whereas buying all of the physical versions for these same games will cost you hundreds of dollars. Plus, only the digital versions can use Pokémon Bank and Poké Transporter, which can be used to bring your monsters into the Switch storage and trading service, Pokémon HOME.

Mario Kart 8 DLC courses can be accessed online by those who don't own them

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Mario Booster Course Pass (Image credit: Nintendo (screenshot))

As reported by Eurogamer, it seems that the official U.K. website for the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course Pass says something the U.S. site doesn't. Players will apparently be able to play DLC courses online with friends even if they themselves don't have access to the DLC.

Courses from Wave 1 of the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - Booster Course Pass can be played from 18th March locally or online in Friends and Rivals races, even if only one player owns the Booster Course Pass or has access to it as part of a Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack membership.

So, if I were to purchase the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe DLC on Switch and then invite friends to race against me online, those friends would be able to play the DLC courses I selected. It's a great way to give players a taste of the extra courses before they buy them.

Mario RPG Director would love his last game to be another Mario RPG

Mushroom Kingdom Super Mario Rpg (Image credit: iMore)

During an interview, Youtube channel MinnMax spoke with video gaming Director Chihiro Fujioka, who has had a very full career working on several notable games, most notably Super Mario RPG. During this interview, Fujioka mentioned that he would love to work on another Mario RPG as his last game.

Q: "Were you eager to get your hands on a Mario RPG again at some point in your career?"A: "Yeah, I would absolutely love to make one...yeah, so in my career, I've been involved in a lot of games and I would really like my final one to be another Mario RPG game, if possible."

Super Mario RPG might be the game I've replayed the most in my life, so I'd absolutely love it if a direct sequel came out. Back in the 90s, this game stood out with its isometric 3D visuals, fun story, and interactive turn-based combat. Today, it's still just as fun to play and holds up incredibly well.

So why haven't we had a sequel? Well, Super Mario RPG has a complicated history with Nintendo and Square Enix. This is partially why Nintendo has moved to other Mario RPGs like Paper Mario and the Mario & Luigi series rather than continuing where the SNES game left off. If Fujioka does work on a Mario RPG as his last project, it likely won't be the Super Mario RPG sequel, but it will still be a good time.

Modern bedroom found in Pokémon Legends: Arceus

While looking through Pokémon Legends: Arceus' code, @DeepGameRes on Twitter discovered a completed modern bedroom filled with the usual large TV, desk, and even a Nintendo Switch. According to @DeepGameRes, this bedroom is "part of a separate map that is not normally accessible."

Of course, this discovery has led to a lot of speculation on Twitter. Some fans wonder if it was an unused location for an alternate opening that was eventually scrapped. Others wonder if this points to some Legends: Arceus DLC that is yet to be announced.

PlatinumGames open to acquisition but not sale

Bayonetta 2 (Image credit: Nintendo)

After becoming president and CEO of PlatinumGames, Atsushi Inaba was asked if the company would be open to acquisition offers, as reported by VGC. Inaba responded by saying that as long as the company's freedom was maintained he would be open to the idea.

"The most important thing for us is to have the freedom to make the games that we want to make," he said. "What I hear about the recent acquisitions, I don't think Microsoft is going to start micromanaging Activision to where they take away all their freedom."

Rumors have been flying that Microsoft has been eyeing PlatinumGames with the intention of bringing its games to Xbox Game Pass. However, while PlatinumGames is open to acquisition, Inaba has previously stated that the company is not interested in selling to Microsoft. Furthermore, Inaba stateed that an offer from Microsoft is only an internet rumor and the company hasn't seen any advances from the Xbox studio.

Wonder Boy Collection gets rating for Nintendo Switch

Wonder Boy Dragons Trap (Image credit: DotEmu)

You might want to make some room on your microSD cards in the near future. An official Wondery Boy Collection ESRB rating showed up this week, with Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 listed as platforms.

Wonder Boy games center around a character who can turn into various animals, and uses their powers to solve puzzles and platform through challenging enemies and locations. There currently are a few Wonder Boy remakes on Nintendo Switch so it could be that these games will be bundled together, but it's also possible that this collection could include some retro entries as well. Whether or not Monster Boy will be included in the Wonder Boy Collection is currently unknown, but it could be a possibility.

Monster Boy The Cursed Kingdom Frog (Image credit: FDG Entertainment)

For anyone who doesn't know, Nintendo Switch is also a platform for one of my favorite games, Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom. While the name is slightly different from Wonder Boy, the games are connected. According to the official Monster Boy Q&A, Sega had the rights to the Wonder Boy name, but not the rights to the IP. As such, FDG Entertainment was able to make a game that used the same mechanics but had a slightly different title, which makes Monster Boy an official successor to the Wonder Boy series. With any luck, it will be included in this collection.

Bowser sent to jail for pirating video games

Bowser Amiibo Video Game Cartridges In Background (Image credit: Rebecca Spear / iMore)

As reported by Business Wire, a man associated with the video game hacking group Team Xecuter, was given a 40-month sentence behind bars. The ironic thing about all this is that the man's surname is the same as Mario's biggest nemesis — Bowser, Gary W. Bowser.

Team Xecuter had been modifying and jailbreaking video game consoles in order to pirate games since as far back as 2013. Bowser was sentenced to 40 months in prison for his role in the organization, which the U.S. Attorney's office said involved running the group's website. It claims the work cost Nitnendo more than $65 million in losses.

Nintendo came out with a formal statement on the matter, thanking the U.S. government for the sentence.

Nintendo appreciates the hard work and tireless efforts of federal prosecutors and law enforcement agencies to curb illegal activities on a global scale that cause serious harm to Nintendo and the video game industry. In particular, Nintendo would like to thank the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) of the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Washington, the U.S. Department of Justice's Computer Crime & Intellectual Property Section and the Justice Department's Office of International Affairs for their significant contribution and assistance.

Nintendo is very strict when it comes to piracy of its property, so it's no surprise that they were eager for Bowser and Team Xecuter to get busted. However, Bowser's lawyers claim that the defendant did not make much money from his role in the group.

That's all for now

Nintendo is having a very busy 2022 so far and we're only in the second month of the year. There are bound to be even more exciting announcements in the next few weeks and I'll be here to talk about them all. Enjoy your weekend and make sure to look through the 3DS and Wii U eShop for any hidden gems that are going away.

Until next time.

- Rebecca Spear

Rebecca Spear
Gaming Editor

Gaming aficionado Rebecca Spear is iMore's dedicated gaming editor with a focus on Nintendo Switch and iOS gaming. You’ll never catch her without her Switch or her iPad Air handy. If you’ve got a question about Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, or just about any other Nintendo series check out her guides to help you out. Rebecca has written thousands of articles in the last six years including hundreds of extensive gaming guides, previews, and reviews for both Switch and Apple Arcade. She also loves checking out new gaming accessories like iPhone controllers and has her ear to the ground when it comes to covering the next big trend.