It’s truly the end of the road for the Nintendo 3DS. The eShop was shut down months ago, monetary transactions died before then, and now Nintendo has announced all online functionality will cease April 8. Nintendo has also ended all production of physical game carts, but someone got through — more on that in a couple paragraphs.
The 3DS has served its purpose, and the Switch does just about everything better, but when you think about it, we’re losing quite a unique piece of hardware. No other device has a screen that produces glasses-free, non-VR stereoscopic 3D images when a slider is pushed up. The effect wasn’t to everyone’s taste, but future generations will look at it in awe and wonder why we gave it up.
Limited Run Games is a company founded to produce small print runs of console indie video games that might otherwise have been only digital. Lately their focus has been shifting toward reprinting old games, some of great notoriety (they recently reprinted Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties on modern consoles and were proud of it). The point I’m building toward is that they just recently got into 3DS publishing, just in time to print about two games before Nintendo shut it all down.
In fact, the game they’re about to sell tomorrow is the VERY LAST physical 3DS game that will ever be sold. CEO Josh Fairhurst says “This was literally the last game produced on the US 3DS production line, with our cartridge order managing to get to Nintendo at the absolute last possible second (we had to place it through Rising Star in order to make it happen).”
The game is Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse, a game that’s been physical before (good luck finding the Switch version for under $300) but not on the handheld to which it originally debuted. Technically there was a European print run of this game, but 3DS is region locked. This will be the first, and only, American physical edition, as well as the last 3DS game ever.
When you look at a list of the “last games” produced for each console, they tend to be nothing special — sports games, or Just Dance #37, or something. Having the last 3DS game be a Shantae game feels nice. Created by husband and wife team Erin and Matt Bozon, Shantae is a well-made, beloved series of action Metroidvanias about a purple-haired sassy genie who fights with pirates (or, in the case of this game, works with them).
So now for the bad news: you probably won’t be able to get a copy of this. Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse for 3DS is going on sale tomorrow morning at 7 AM Pacific, and while Limited Run is limited to the stock on hand, there is no limit to the amount of copies one account can order. That means the majority of them will be vacuumed up by scalpers within the first minute, and you will never have one.
But it will exist! It took until the last possible second for Shantae’s pirate adventure to get a physical pressing, but at least it happened.