How to navigate Nintendo’s messy eShop to buy Wii U and 3DS games before they’re gone

On March 27th, Nintendo will officially shut down the eShop on its Wii U and 3DS systems.

The move was met with quite a bit of controversy, especially given Nintendo’s historically poor preservation efforts.

The closure of the two platforms’ digital storefronts is particularly notable given the rich, expansive catalogs — worth around $31,000 worth of games — that they hold. Of course, there are plenty of games that people will want to buy before Nintendo might stop offering them indefinitely.

how to start

However, that’s easier said than done. As MobileSyrup‘s Brad Bennett explained earlier this year, you can’t use a credit card to buy games from the Wii U and 3DS eShops on the systems themselves. Last year, Nintendo removed this feature, as well as the option to use a prepaid eShop gift card. That means you’ll need to go to the My Nintendo Store website and add funds using a credit or gift card.

But there’s a catch. Your old Nintendo Network ID used for Wii U and 3DS needs to be linked to your Nintendo Account. Nintendo introduced the latter system with the Switch in 2017 and has been using it ever since.

To link the two accounts, you must:

  • Go to the Nintendo Account website and sign in to your Nintendo Account
  • Click on “User Information”.
  • Scroll down to Linked Accounts and click Edit.
  • Check the box next to Nintendo Network ID
  • Follow the on-screen steps

If you run into any problems with this process, Nintendo has a troubleshooting page.

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Purchase and download the games

3DS games can be purchased either on a 3DS/2DS system or on the My Nintendo Store website. However, Wii U games can only be purchased on the tablet-like device itself.

As long as you buy all the games you want by March 27, Nintendo says you’ll be able to re-download them “for the foreseeable future.”

What should you buy?

Of course, with so many games available across a range of platforms, there’s plenty to play. Some worth checking out are:

Wii-U: The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD and Twilight Princess HD, Xenoblade Chronicles X, Star Fox Guard
3DS: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D and Majora’s Mask 3D, Fire Emblem Awakening (and Fates and Echoes), Pokémon X and Y (and Sun and Moon, etc.), Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Metroid: Samus Returns, Mario & Luigi (Dream Team etc.)

There are also a lot of retro virtual console titles, including Super Mario RPG (SNES), Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon (DS) and Final Fantasy Tactics progression (GBA). It’s worth noting that some retro games are available through the Nintendo Switch Online service, but the vast majority are not.

What games are you planning to get? Let us know in the comments.

Photo credit: Nintendo

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