I’ve been spending the last few days wrapping my head around how to talk about my experiences with both the Nintendo Wii U and the 3DS. With the recent news that Nintendo is shutting off eShop support for both over the next 13 months, I’m about to lose the ability to grow my collection of games without having to spend huge markups on physical copies. I spend the majority of my gaming free time playing Nintendo hardware, so this news is big. While I never spent enough time with the Wii U, I am still actively playing with my 3DS.
I didn’t appreciate the Wii U enough
I’ve had a Wii U since at least 2014. But I barely used it. In fact, I only have one disc game for it while I donated the others. The only disc I still have is for Twilight Princess HD and it’s still in its shrink wrap. On the unit, I do have a few games installed, including recently buying both Earthbound Beginnings and Earthbound. This is funny since I did that only a few weeks before Nintendo made both available via Nintendo Switch Online.
The Wii U was a poorly marketed console that was a lot better than we will remember it for. Everyone has fond memories of the Sega Dreamcast and I feel the Wii U will have the same nostalgic response down the road. It improved the Wii and gave us everything we love about the Switch. It certainly had the Nintendo support, just none from most other publishers.
The biggest issue is that most of its best games are playable now on Switch. I did a quick scan at IGN’s Top 25 Wii U Games and the majority of the games here have either been ported to the Switch, have recent sequels, or are multi-platform. As it stands, the only reason to continue to own a Wii U is for its Virtual Console.
The biggest loss is the eShop
The eShop allows you to “Wishlist” games. On the Wii U, my list contains over two dozen games, but most of them are older Virtual Console titles for the SNES, N64, and Game Boy Advance. To be fair, most are currently available through Nintendo Switch Online or its Expansion Pass. However, the GBA ones you can’t play anywhere else unless you can track down a cartridge. I’ve detailed how expensive GBA games are right now, so the Wii U is/was a really affordable alternative.
It’s the same case for the 3DS. Mark-ups on games are unbelievable right now. Take a look at Amazon, and you’ll see that most 3DS games are selling above MSRP. It’s not only rare games, even “Nintendo Selects” titles are selling above their intended $29.99. If you want to play 3DS games affordably, the best way is to buy them digitally.
I don’t expect prices of games to drop both retail or digitally. Some Third-Party publishers like Atlus/Sega and Capcom will do some deals on their games. Unfortunately, Nintendo probably won’t follow suit. They don’t even have to go with 50% discounts, I’d be more than happy if we saw some 30%, 20%, and even 10% savings where possible.
Still planning to play as much as I can
Since the news broke about the eShop’s closure, I already bought one game (SteamWorld Dig since it was only two dollars) and a few demos/free-to-start games. My 3DS wishlist is pretty substantial, including a few Pokémon games that haven’t made their way to the Switch (yet!).
My current collection of 3DS games, both digital and physical versions, is pretty substantial. I’ve dabbled with Samus Returns and a few Pokemon games over the last few months. I even took advantage of the deals on Atlus RPGs. Still missing a few (including Shin Megami Tensei IV), so I am hopeful another sale comes where I can get more.
I fear that I might get FOMO and just buy everything that I’ve ever wanted. Sure, that would take care of my collection but I don’t know how I could play all those games. I already struggle with game completions and I just spent a good bit of money on Game Boy games.
Just another reason to play more portable games
I wasn’t joking when I mentioned in an earlier blog that I felt that 2022 would be my year for portable gaming. At this point, I kind of wish there were easier ways for me to share images/videos from my 3DS. In any case, expect to see me share more thoughts on the 3DS and maybe even a blog or two on the Wii U.