Bigger deal than you think

The cast of Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon stand in front of Team Rainbow Rocket's base.

Picture: Pokémon/Kotaku Company

Welcome to Exp. Participation, Kotaku‘S Pokémon a column where we dive deep to meet famous characters, urban legends, communities and just plain weird quirks from around the world Pokémon franchise. This week we take a look at the upcoming 3DS and Wii U eShop closures and how they impact the franchise.

3DS and Wii U e-stores are in two weeks shutdown March 27 and taking digital access to the system library with you. From a conservation point of view, this is already a parody, but for Pokémon series, this will have a particularly devastating impact on the accessibility and functionality of the entire series.

Remember that before we played games like Pokémon Scarlett AND Purple Or Sword AND Sheild on the switch Pokémon was mostly a handheld series. Sure, the series had some console spin-offs as Pokémon Stadium AND Pokémon Snapbut overall, these pocket monsters have always been pocket-sized. Now the 3DS digital storefront is closing down and taking away much of what is currently available Pokémon Games. As it turns out, Nintendo’s lack of concern for the preservation of its games has had an impact on the series before.

Phil Salvador, director of the Library of Video Game History Foundationhe laid it all out clearly in the graphics on Twitter. The graph shows that by the time the 3DS and Wii U shut down later this month, only about 26 percent Pokémon video games released in America will be readily available for purchase.

Even before the 3DS and Wii U stores disappear, swathes Pokémon history are no longer legally available. As much as 41 percent Pokémon the games are now only available in physical copies as Nintendo has yet to add Game Boy Advance games or original DS RPGs to any digital storefront. This includes major games such as Ruby AND Sapphire to spin-offs such as strategic RPGs Pokémon Conquest. With the closure of the eShop, 3DS games such as Sun AND Moon will only be available as physical copies, which will inevitably become expensive collector’s items, selling for obscene amounts on places like eBay.

In addition to losing native 3DS games, The Pokémon Company ported the first two generations Pokémon games to the system via the Virtual Console, which was a rare example of Nintendo’s attempt to provide access to old games through legal means. These titles were also compatible with Pokémon bank, which meant that players could carry their Pokémon from those games into contemporary entries. Now it will not be possible to recreate the original red pokemon, BlueAND Yellow via Nintendo storefronts, and the physical cartridges of these games have long suffered from internal batteries depletion, so some features such as Gold AND Silverthe day-night cycle becomes obsolete or, in worse cases, makes it obsolete progress cannot be saved. I still have my original copies Yellow AND Silverand after more than 20 years the innards of the cartridge won’t work on my Game Boy Advance SP. While getting physical copies of games can be a hassle, so can hardware analog pocket makes them relatively straightforward to play, even though Nintendo is moving away from native backwards compatibility altogether. The old cartridges you find are assumed to still be usable.

Brigette is seen next to the Pokemon Bank logo.

Picture: The Pokémon Company

In addition, the 3DS online store acted as a bridge between the series’ past and present because the system is the only way to transfer old Pokémon from old games to modern ones. From Diamond AND Pearl, Pokémon made it possible to transfer monsters from old games to new ones. Since then, it has become more complicated Sword AND Shield got rid of the all-encompassing National Pokédex, but the act of trading old Pokémon and carrying them with you into future games has been a special part of the series for many fans. Once the 3DS eShop closes, it will take time Pokémon bank AND Transporter, two applications exclusive to the system. These apps were used to store and transfer old Pokémon and are compatible with them Pokémon Home, a modern, console-independent storage application for the series. Those who have the apps in their digital collection will still be able to download them on 3DS, but they will be unavailable to anyone entering the series after March 27.

A call to pull the plug from old digital storefronts is beyond The Pokémon Company’s reach, but for a series that is as focused on many years of experience his fans as Pokémon, it’s astounding to look at the numbers and realize that nearly three-quarters of video game history will soon be completely inaccessible through legal means. Right now, the only reason there are few non-Switch games available is because Nintendo has put a few of them on the Nintendo Switch Online service. It’s a start, but even these are spin-offs Pokémon Snap AND Pokémon puzzle league. This is state of preservation for Nintendo. The company spends years building a digital library because it doesn’t invest in backward compatibility, then storms through it years later. Pokémon isn’t the only series suffering from this soulless call, but when the series is so tied to Nintendo’s handheld history, closing the last bastion to preserve it leaves us with nothing but unsalvageable wrecks that we can only view on online wikis and YouTube video essays. What a pity.

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