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What just happened? Following Nintendo's announcement that the Wii U and 3DS eShops would shut down in March 2023, some gamers rushed to keep their favorite games available. However, one person took preservation to an entirely different level, purchasing every title on each console's eShop.
Many customers were upset when Nintendo announced the unfortunate discontinuation of the Wii U and 3DS eShops. The shutdown meant users could no longer digitally purchase games and may only install ones that they had previously bought.
While this might not sound too serious, both consoles have a massive "digital-only" library scheduled to close on March 27. Each console's Virtual Console catalog will no longer be available following the shutdown. Though some of these retro games have now found their way onto the Switch, most haven't.
Nintendo's decision led Jirard Khalil, better known as "The Completionist," and his friends to perform a significant feat of gaming preservation. In a process that took nearly 11 months, cost over $22,000, and used 464 Nintendo eShop gift cards, Khalil purchased every game and DLC available on either console's eShop.
Khalil and his team ran into numerous hitches along the way. Stores limited how many gift cards could be purchased, and banks started getting suspicious around the $20,000 mark. Furthermore, Nintendo has a hard limit for digital wallet balances of just $250, meaning Khalil had to constantly add funds, purchase titles, and repeat the cycle.
Later on, the team ran into a considerable limitation. Once either console had 300 programs downloaded, it wouldn't allow any further installs. So the group had to stockpile external hard drives and MicroSD cards to download every game. Interestingly, some games locked DLC behind game progression, extending the workload further. After months of work, the job was complete.
The process took 328 days to complete, costing Khalil (and his sponsors) $22,791. The collections took up 1.2 TB of storage for the Wii U and 267 GB for the 3DS. It seems like a lot of trouble, especially downloading every title, even though Nintendo promised to keep the archived servers open for users to download their purchased games.
However, there was a method to the madness. Khalil plans to donate all the games, hard drives, and consoles to the Video Game History Foundation, a non-profit organization that preserves video game history. He also scheduled a charity stream on his Twitch channel for April 15 and 16 to further support the foundation.