During spring break, I visited the Computerspielemuseum in Berlin, a museum dedicated to the history of games. It included several old games that players could try out. There was a comically large SNES controller that I used to play Zelda, old-school arcade machines, SEGA Bass fishing on the Dreamcast, and more games that I couldn’t physically try out on my own outside of the museum.
It got me thinking about how game companies, but especially Nintendo right now, really don’t like preserving their own games.
March 27th marks the end of service for Nintendo’s 3DS and WiiU online stores, meaning people will no longer be able to buy new games for these systems. And there’s no word on whether these games will be available via Nintendo Switch Online or any other official method, leaving people interested in these games other options.
They can pick up a copy of the game through the second hand market if a physical copy of the game is available. However, some games can cost $100 on eBay and you need a working 3DS. The battery on mine died years ago and I had to go through tons of hoops to get it fixed so I could play some old games again.
And again, this is just for the ones that had a physical release in the first place. There’s no place to buy legitimate versions of digital-only games if the developers didn’t release them on another platform as well. And the DLC won’t be accessible after the store closes either, something that’s particularly tragic for “Fire Emblem: Fates” because the game’s third and best route where you learn the truth about the entire story is only available as DLC or if it can. get one of the special edition cartridges that costs over $800 on eBay.
The other option for gamers who fail to download these games, for whatever reason, is piracy, an option Nintedo clearly doesn’t like.
“Video game piracy is illegal. Nintendo opposes those who profit from and barter the creative work of game developers, artists, animators, musicians, motion capture artists, and others. Piracy continues to be a significant threat to Nintendo’s business, as well as the businesses of thousands of game development companies that work to provide games for Nintendo systems,” Nintendo notes in its FAQ. “More importantly, game developers and publishers depend on the legitimate sales of their games in order to survive. Piracy discourages innovation and development of new games, which ultimately impacts the consumer.”
However, if literally the only way to get a copy of the game is to hack it or buy it second hand, then that’s quite a different matter. There is no money for the developers and people who worked on the game in any situation, and being able to replay and try old games can be a source of inspiration for young game developers.
While Nintendo is slowly making old games available through Nintendo Switch Online, it’s not enough. NSO currently only has games available through the GameBoy, and there’s no word on if or when Gamecube, DS, 3DS, Wii, or WiiU games will be added to the service.
To demonstrate how many games will be lost, when the WiiU and 3DS eShops close, only around 25% of the games from the Pokémon series, one of the biggest franchises in the world, yes, it will be officially available.
Also, these require a subscription starting at $50 a year to get the most games, while in the 3DS and WiiU eShops you can just make a one-time purchase for the specific game, so even Nintendo Switch Online could be more. accessible.
Gabe Newell, the president of Valve, said in 2011 that piracy is a problem of service, not price. While there are and always will be people who hack stuff just because they can, many only do it because the only other option is to let old games fade into obscurity, which is tragic for any work of art, let alone hundreds. of games. .
If Nintendo really wants to curb piracy, it should announce plans to make these games virtually available on Switch as soon as possible, preferably by making them simple purchases. But even having them on Nintendo Switch Online would be better than nothing.
It would be good for both business and preserving older games.
Otherwise, Nintendo is just driving people to hack their games by giving them no alternatives.