Game history

Nintendo criticized for being ‘destroyer of video game history’

The Video Game History Foundation blames Nintendo for being “destructive of video game history” due to the closure of 3DS and Wii U stores.

Last week nintendo announced that it would shut down the Wii U and 3DS digital storefronts. It is estimated that the decision will remove nearly 2,000 games from availability. Nintendo says it might bring back some games as part of its Nintendo Switch Online subscription service, but few believe or expect Nintendo to follow in any meaningful way. A video game archive foundation even went so far as to say Nintendo’s behavior is “actively destructive to video game history.”


The quote comes from the non-profit archival organization Video Game History Foundation and what it describes is more complex than Nintendo simply shutting down the Wii U and 3DS storefronts. While obviously that’s a big part of the problem, the bigger problem goes beyond that. As the Video Game History Foundation describes, Nintendo “also actively funds lobbying that prevents even libraries from being able to provide legal access to these games”, due to its support of the controversial Entertainment Software Association.

RELATED: Nintendo 3DS Games To Buy Before Its eShop Shuts Down

The Video Game History Foundation understands, even if it doesn’t support, the business realities associated with the removal of digital storefronts from the 3DS and Wii U. But it doesn’t understand what Nintendo wants from its fan base. Denying commercial access is one thing, but only if it is accompanied by support for the preservation of institutional archives. Nintendo’s joint removal of games from availability and continued efforts against archiving is what is described as “actively destructive”.

To give some perspective on the situation, Nintendo’s closure of the Wii U and 3DS eShops will make nearly 2,000 games unavailable. This includes 450 digital-only Wii U games, 600 digital-only 3DS games, and approximately 530 Virtual Console games outside of those already available on Nintendo Switch Online. That’s an astonishing number of game releases that Nintendo simply has no plan or will to make available – potentially ever again.

As for what the Video Game History Foundation would like Nintendo to do, they ask it to “rethink its position” on archiving and work with the ESA to find a solution. Whether it’s making classic games available through library systems or otherwise, all VGHF wants is for those games not to be lost in time.

Judging by social media, Nintendo fans absolutely agree with the Video Game History Foundation. It’s not just that thousands of games could disappear overnight, but that Nintendo’s only plan for them is to make a few of them available through a subscription service. Although the widespread opinion online is that Nintendo is leaving the Wii U and 3DS storefronts permanently. Given Nintendo’s history, neither the Video Game History Foundation nor nintendo fans are likely to get what they would like.

MORE: The closure of the Wii U/3DS eShop is another great argument for preservation efforts

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