Wed. Nov 30th, 2022

<i>ArtStyle: Pictobits</i> is one of many DSiWare games that will soon be unavailable on their original hardware.” src=”https://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/artstyle.jpg” width= “256” height=”384″/><figcaption class=

ArtStyle: Pictobits is one of many DSiWare games that will soon be unavailable on their original hardware.

If you’ve got an old Nintendo DSi or DSi XL lying around, you might want to dig it up today for one last visit to the online store. That’s because today is your last chance to add cash to buy downloadable games that will soon be lost in digital gaming’s ever-expanding memory hole.

After 5pm PDT today, you will no longer be able to purchase the virtual “DSiWare Points” currency used to download digital games onto DSi systems. Points purchased today (or earlier) can still be spent on new games until March 31, 2017; that’s also the last day you can re-download games you’ve previously purchased.

Games already downloaded to a DSi will still work after that date, and you can even transfer those DSiWare purchases to a newer 3DS to keep them consolidated on newer hardware. The vast majority of the DSiWare library will also still be available through the DSiWare section of the Nintendo 3DS eShop, so this isn’t exactly the end of the line for the hundreds of titles created for Nintendo’s first portable digital store. (If you’re looking for some good DSiWare download recommendations, NeoGAF has a robust crowdsourced list.)

Still, there are a few DSiWare games that can’t make the jump to the 3DS, including a quality port of The Oregon Route. There are also plenty of purists who complain that games made for the DSi’s 256×192 resolution look odd when scaled up to fit the 3DS’ less vibrant 400×240 screen (to say nothing). not to mention the black border required thanks to the different aspect proportions and shapes).

However, specifics aside, the impending closure of the DSiWare store is worth noting as part of the ongoing trend of digital games stores closing – and threatening to take pieces of gaming history with them. Last year, Sony shut down PlayStation Mobile, cutting off access to plenty of great Vita titles from smaller indie publishers. Xbox Live’s Indie Games program is shutting down completely in 2017, leaving quite a few hidden gems with no online home. And Apple has begun removing “problematic and abandoned” older games from the App Store, continuing a game removal process already started by many iOS game publishers themselves. Unlike physical games, which are easier to collect and archive for future generations, these digital store closures pose a huge problem for video game custodians. Abandoned by the platform owners who once supported them, thousands of games are now orphaned and imprisoned, existing only on the scattered bits of hardware they happened to download before the kill switch was flipped. And since there’s no easy (or legal) way to copy those games to another medium, it’s only a matter of time before hardware failures slowly erase them from history altogether.

Yes, DSiWare titles will live on (for now) through the 3DS, and many successful titles in abandoned stores will be ported to newer, more robust platforms. But if we’re not careful, one day we’ll look up and wonder why it’s so hard to find a working copy of Geometry Wars or Braid that can be played on the original hardware.

By akfire1

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