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

You have until March 27th

Sad Mario Super Smash Bros. Brawl

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

The move has been met with a fair amount of controversy, especially given Nintendo’s historically poor efforts with preservation.

The closure of the two platforms’ digital storefronts is particularly noteworthy due to the rich, expansive catalogues — roughly $31,000 worth of games — that they possess. Naturally, then, there are a lot of games that people would like to purchase before Nintendo ceases to offer them, potentially indefinitely.

How to get started

However, that’s easier said than done. As MobileSyrup‘s Brad Bennett outlined earlier this year, you can’t actually use a credit card to buy games from the Wii U and 3DS eShops on the systems themselves. Last year, Nintendo removed that functionality, as well as the option to use a prepaid eShop gift card. This means that you’ll have 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, which was used for the Wii U and 3DS, must be linked to your Nintendo Account. Nintendo introduced the latter system in 2017 with the Switch, and it’s been used ever since.

To link the two accounts, you’ll have to:

  • Go to the Nintendo Account site and sign into your Nintendo Account
  • Click ‘User info’
  • Scroll down to ‘Linked accounts’ and click ‘Edit’
  • Click the box next to Nintendo Network ID
  • Follow the on-screen steps

If you’re running into issues with this process, Nintendo has a troubleshooting page.

Buying and downloading the games

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

As long as you buy any desired games by March 27th, 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 bunch of platforms, there’s a lot to play. That said, some worth checking out include:

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 ton of retro Virtual Console titles, including Super Mario RPG (SNES), Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon (DS) and Final Fantasy Tactics Advance (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.

Image credit: Nintendo

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