Updated: Aug 20
As of March 27th, 2023, the Nintendo eShop for the Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo Wii U are gone forever. It was bound to happen eventually. Nothing lasts until the end of time. But, it was gone just too soon.
But, what can you do about it? Is it a dead system? We looked quite a while and came up with a pretty concise list of options for 3DS owners now. You’d be surprised how much you can actually still do with it. Here’s 5 things you can do with your Nintendo 3DS now that the eShop is closed.
It makes a great paperweight or a moderate Switch stand
Let’s get the jokes out of the way. We’re just going to come out and say it, a New Nintendo 3DS makes a pretty good Nintendo Switch stand, if left alone. We didn’t expect it to work so well, but here we are. Just don’t touch it or it’ll slide. If you open your 3DS at just the right angle, you can lean your Switch against it. Is it worth the money to buy a 3DS just to use as a stand? No, absolutely not.
Likewise, any 3DS or 2DS will absolutely hold your papers in a windy room pretty well as a paperweight. Fan going too hard in your office? Your 3DS has you covered.
One thing that it fails at pretty badly is being a doorstop. It’s too light, sadly. You could also use it as a weapon or a really crappy frisbee, if you throw it, but it isn’t really designed for that.
Access the eShop for prior purchases.
Since the eShop is closed, that means you can’t add funds to your account. But, you might have had your system for a while. You likely have a handful of apps and games that you’ve downloaded or purchased over time. The good news here is that you can still get them.
If you head on over to the eShop, you can goto the Menu. From there, click “Settings / Other”. Then, look for “Redownloadable Software” on that list. You’ll be able to download anything from this list. Maybe there’s an old demo you want to try again or software you forgot you bought.
We found Steeldiver Sub Wars and Flipnote Studio 3D hidden away in this manner and they both work! So, if nothing else, you can grab your old games for now.
Download new themes
If you head over to your HOME menu settings, you can see that you have access to all of your previously downloaded themes. You can swap between them, if you took advantage of grabbing any when the eShop was still around. There were tons of free options, or maybe you spent a couple bucks on a cool theme that wasn’t free. We don’t judge. We did both.
But, what about now? You can still head to the “Theme Shop”. It’s a little emptier than it was prior to the closure. But, Nintendo didn’t leave you entirely high and dry.
You can download two free themes right now: “Dots & Stripes: Yellow & White” and “Stars: Gold & Black” are the only two themes in the theme shop. There’s nothing special about them. But, they do allow you to give yourself a little extra customizability in a dead system with no new content going forward.
If nothing else, add a little color to your paperweight’s HOME screen.
Use the internet
Here’s a little known fact: There’s a fully capable internet browser on the Nintendo 3DS systems. More accurately, the original 3DS consoles have basic lookup functionality that aren’t fully compliant to the modern web, but can suffice in a pinch.
However, the “New” 3DS and 2DS systems run HTML5. After trying both an original 2DS and a New 3DS, it’s like night and day. You have access to go to any website and watch videos directly through the browser. Do with that info what you want.
You can play it. It’s still a console.
Many years ago, back in the before times, there was a time that people physically walked into a Blockbuster to rent a movie instead of streaming it. Back then, your video game consoles didn’t utilize the internet at all. You’d put a game into the system, turn on the console, and play it. There were no updates. There was no ”always on” internet connection. You didn’t have the option to jump to Netflix or Prime Video. You didn’t even have a chat option to talk to other people. You just played games.
It was a simpler time. In fact, one of the predecessors to the 3DS, the Nintendo DS, didn’t even have a special eShop to download content. You had to go down to Gamestop or Best Buy and purchase a physical game.
While you likely won’t find many 3DS games brand new in your local game shop anymore, there’s a plethora of available games you can hunt down and get. The 3DS does allow for both 3DS and DS games in the systems after all.
You might be a fan of Pokémon, where an absolute ton of games are available for both systems. Or, you might like niche licensed games. Try out one of the older Animal Crossing games. Or you can grab from a long list of indie and third party titles spanning across nearly two decades. Seriously, the DS came out in 2004 and every game works on the 3DS. You’re not lacking in content and never were.
If you like fun lists about gaming, you should check out our take on the top 10 most frustrating games of all time. Unfortunately, none of them are available to play on your 3DS now that the eShop is closed.