“holy crap. they decided to go ahead and do it.”
That was my response to Nintendo announcing that they would shut down the eShop for the 3DS and Wii U systems, posted in a private IRC channel with a bunch of friends.
Imagine if you will.
It’s 2015 again. You’re in elementary school, sitting in a classroom with the lights on, as the teacher continues on and on about some math stuff you can’t seem to recall right now.
Lunch happens. You go into the cafeteria, and sit down. With a tray full of tasteless food, you reach into your coat pockets and pull something out. A light on it is blinking orange, and you open it-making a loud CLICK-CLICK-CLICK noise.
You can stop imagining now.
That was how one day in my life went.
That thing I pulled out? You probably guessed that was a 3DS.
At the time, almost everybody who was considered a ‘gamer’ at this school had a 3DS.
Many of us saw the graphics demonstrations for the Xbox and PlayStation with our mouths dropped open. People who actually owned one of those consoles were considered almost god-like.
If you happened to wander into the cafeteria-like what happened earlier-it could be extremely easy to find someone to connect with and play multiple rounds of whatever game. This was aided by Download Play, where if a game supported it, you could play multiplayer with someone-even if you didn’t own the game.
It was also very easy to find people using the StreetPass feature on the console-you could walk past people and collect tons of Miis and maybe a couple Mystery Boxes in Mario 3D Land if you were lucky.
Now let’s fast forward to 2019.
At this point, the Nintendo Switch has been gathering steam, and most of us have already shelved our 3DSes.
Fast forward some more to 2021. I’ve entered 8th grade and now with less COVID insanity, the world finally has stopped whirling like a top.
The gaming world has now become, well, another console war. The PS5, Xbox Series X/S, the Switch, and PC are now almost at equals, doing console war things.
I, myself, sat down on PC, since I was never going to get a new console-plus most of my friends were now playing on platforms like Steam.
And by that point-Nintendo consoles became sorta…casual.
In the world of high school gaming, you are either hardcore, or casual. One is better than the other.
You are either shelling out $1000+ for top-of-the-line hardware or you aren’t playing any games.
You are either playing what everybody else is or you aren’t playing any games.
You are either Xbox, PlayStation, PC, or Nintendo.
And the platform divide is big. And always has been.
I still sometimes remember when most of us used one platform-and were happy with it.