Jeff’s Musings: My Problem with the eShop

Monday, November 11th, 2013

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Nintendo eShop

I have an issue with the eShop.

That may not be the biggest revelation to a lot of you. After all, we all have issues with the eShop.

However, most of the issues seem to stem from the lack of content, particularly that of the Virtual Console. Well, I’ve already come to grips with that situation and realized that both the Wii U and 3DS work differently than the Wii and, therefore, need tweaks here and there that they want to be compensated for. I’ve come to accept that.

Perhaps I shouldn’t do that, but there’s a bigger issue at hand than the lack of VC games. Bigger than the lack of consistent new releases for the Wii U. Bigger than the lack of any cross-compatibility of games that release on both Wii U and 3DS consoles.

I’m having an issue of simple convenience.

Wii Shop Channel | Problem with the eShop

Let’s look back at the Wii Shop Channel from the last generation. The Wii Shop Channel has been rightfully criticized for a number of things, including capping the size of games to 40 MB, slow releases of Virtual Console titles, and for not offering enough demos, all of which I agree with. But there’s also a criticism of being difficult to navigate.


Let’s look for a second at the Virtual Console games on 3DS and Wii. There are over 400 games on the Wii’s Virtual Console. Over on the 3DS, there are 113 as of this writing. For the Wii, I can sort the games—my personal favorite is by console—and easily see a list of games in alphabetical order that I can browse through without any problem. On the 3DS, I can either sort by latest release, highest rating, or popularity.

Seems like there’s something missing… Oh yeah. ALPHABETICAL ORDER!

Nintendo eShop 3DS

…assuming you can actually find the games. Also, why doesn’t my eShop have that DSiWare tab?

And when it started out, it made sense that you wouldn’t need to sort by console to find the games you wanted. But this service is two years old and has a number of games on different systems. This needs to change.

And what about the original games on the eShop versus the WiiWare? There is no doubt about it that the games are of better quality on the eShop than the WiiWare had with classics like V.I.P. Casino: Blackjack, SPOGS Racing, and Midnight Bowling. But with the way the eShop is set up, I can’t find any of the games easily.

For example, I did a review earlier this year for Mighty Switch Force! 2, an excellent platformer that released in June of 2013. However, if you go looking for it today, you will not find it on the 3DS eShop. Over on the Wii, if I go looking for LostWinds—one of the original WiiWare games—I can find it through any number of filters.

Sure, I can go searching for the game on the service. After all, I do know the title. But what if I’m new to the 3DS? What if I’m someone that doesn’t really look up things online and I just decide to browse through the eShop’s collection? I would be rather underwhelmed because Nintendo is hiding their games from the general public. Say what you like about the Wii Shop, but this never happened on that service.

WiiWare | Problem with the eShop

Nintendo, I understand that you want to separate yourself from the problems that plagued the Wii Shop Channel. But I implore you to change this situation. Finding games was not a big problem on the Wii. It could’ve used a tweak on the WiiWare but it worked better than what you’re offering now.

You try to promote great things with your digital service. You try to offer a great opportunity for gamers with sales and additional points on Club Nintendo. Why not offer convenience?

About Jeff Neuenschwander

Jeff has been a supporter of the website and campaign since the beginning. Joining in for E3 2012, he worked his way up the ranks quickly, making it to the Editing Manager post at the beginning of 2013. Jeff has a wide variety of tastes when it comes to gaming and pretty much likes anything that is quirky, although his favorite genres are Action, Platforming, and RPG. Outside of gaming, Jeff is a musician, being trained as a trombonist for Jazz and Classical music, and holds a degree in Sound Recording.

  • multibottler0cket

    I preferred the way games were listed on the Wii shop channel. You could view the entire list chronologically, search a game, or see chronological lists by genre, developer, etc.

    The eShop has this hippie icon list that has like six games, and then a search feature. I’d rather just a chronological list so that in two seconds I can see what’s new without ever missing anything.

    Mostly though… I just don’t understand why they didn’t just use the Wii VC on the eShop. Everything is already out, why release it all over again three games per week or whatever it is they’re doing.

    Nintendo, I love you, but what are you even doing with the VC?

    • Thomas Johnson

      “I just don’t understand why they didn’t just use the Wii VC on the eShop. Everything is already out, […].”

      The Wii U can’t run Wii VC games unless it’s through Wii mode. The games have to be ported individually to the Wii U.

    • multibottler0cket

      The Wii VC is just a bank of ROMs that you can buy. The Wii and the Wii U both have emulators for these ROMs. The Wii VC and the Wii U VC should be the same entity.

    • smacd

      Exactly, so many people don’t get this. The VC isn’t a recompiled port from the original games, its the same exact thing we do on PCs- emulators and ROMs. Its just that you have a proprietary set of emulators from Nintendo. Which tend to be pretty poorly implemented. The emulator might be different across the Wii, Wii U and 3DS, but in principle there is no real reason they couldn’t just dump the entire catalog of NES/SNES/Genesis/SMS/GB/GBC/GBA/TG16/N64 games onto all the eShops tomorrow, other than licensing.

      The big problem is that the Nintendo created emulators are pretty poorly implemented and lack most of the features found on fan made PC emulators. I mean, you can’t play through the Mega Man NES games on the 3DS without massive flickers when a lot of sprites are on screen, which is completely unacceptable.

    • multibottler0cket

      Wasn’t there always massive flickering on NES games when I think 5 or more sprites were drawn over the same Y coordinate? I think it’s just their more accurate emulation that causes this on their own emulators, having the same issues as the actual hardware, but I could be mistaken. I don’t really use the VC much because I already have everything in its original format, so I haven’t been able to compare actual NES sprite flickering with that on the 3DS’ NES emulator.

      Anyway, you’re completely right, there’s no reason at all that the Wii U doesn’t have all the VC games that the Wii does. Unless they’re testing each game on the Wii U’s emulator individually, which I don’t think is the case, they should just merge the Wii VC and the Wii U VC.

    • smacd

      Nah, there is definitely a noticeable difference between how the originals ran on the NES hardware, and how well the VC games run. Like I said, most of the Mega Man games make it really obvious if you’ve played the originals, some parts flicker so much that it makes it difficult to actually play, like the Dragon boss in MM2. Most of the other ports like on the Mega Man Anniversary Collection never had that problem, and the originals may flicker a little but not like that. Honestly, the VC emulator is pretty half-assed, not anywhere near accurate.

    • Thomas Johnson

      I stand corrected. I would guess that they aren’t just dumping the whole lot onto the Wii U is so they don’t undercut the sales of the Wii U versions that have Miiverse and off-tv capabilities.

    • multibottler0cket

      Yeah, probably! Though really those perks are with the emulator, so… They should just merge them and keep the higher prices if that’s what they want 😛

    • Thomas Johnson

      Hm, I’m pretty sure I remember hearing that they had to update each game individually with those features, but clearly I’m not an expert, here.

    • multibottler0cket

      Yeah, they were talking about their strategies for the Wii U virtual console, but considering that they’re using emulation, I don’t see why they would need to. The features on the Wii U VC should work independently of which ROM is loaded.

  • smacd

    I agree with this article in a lot of ways. If nothing else, I’d like a simple browse option that list everything, with simple sort options and filters. I’d like to be able to show ALL DSiWare titles, 3DS downloadable games, Retails games for download, and VC games sortable by title and by original system. As near as I can tell, unless it is listed on one of the short lists on the eShop screen when you happen to look, your only other option to find a game is to use the search and know what you are looking for in advance. How am I supposed to find what I didn’t know I was looking for?

  • RagunaXL

    I’ve never really had difficulty navigating the eshop. though, many titles don’t show up on opening page article or list. you have to ‘dig’ for them. But you hit the nail on the head with content. VC games are scarce and more of an issue. We have 3D Classics, NES, Gameboy (Color), and Game Gear. Only a dozen-or-so titles for each. The NES ports are actually pretty bad, which is sad. Many 3DS retail games are 64 ports and hey have eshop digital versions, so there is no excuse that the 3DS can’t handle some of the older games. And it feels like they’re holding out on the better titles… Super Mario Bros 3 release date: TBA. Where is Import titles, Master System, Super NES, Gameboy Advance, and/or DS digital re-releases?

  • James Best

    You know, the Wii Shop Channel never really bothered me. I never used it much, so that was probably why.

  • Thanatos2k

    Until Nintendo ties digital purchases to an account and NOT hardware, their digital distribution platforms will be an absolute joke, and I will never choose to purchase anything on them.

  • Kyle Emch

    I’ve already gone on at length about why the Virtual Console is a complete joke (, but I completely forgot about the layout of both of the eShops. I guess it never bothered me so much because I knew what I was looking for. If I didn’t, I’d have a miserable time trying to find something I wanted.

    The main problem with Nintendo and their digital efforts is that they don’t appear to be cognisant of these failings. On the occasions that they are, like with friend codes, they take waaaaay too long to solve them, if they even completely fix them at all.