DSiWare was an early attempt by Nintendo to create a digital marketplace for their Nintendo DSi console, one that’s mostly forgotten now after being integrated into the 3DS eShop. Though it’s unclear as to why, over half the DSiWare library has suddenly disappeared from the North American eShop as we entered 2021, though the European and Japanese stores remain unaffected.
The news was discovered on January 2, reported across Twitter, and has started gaining traction. As Delisted Games reports, almost every game released before May 2011 has been removed, with a few exceptions like Art Academy and Game & Watch: Donkey Kong Jr. That’s left over 250 titles delisted in total from a library of 448, including higher profile games like Shantae: Risky’s Revenge, X-Scape and Aura-Aura Climber.
It’s even taken developers by surprise, who seemingly had no idea of this impending removal. That includes Matt Bozon, co-creator of the Shantae series and one of WayForward Technolgies’s founding staff members. Responding to Come Out Punching’s thread, he advised this now means the starting gems bonus you can get in Scuttle Town is inaccessible. This could be activated if you also had Mighty Flip Champs and Mighty Milky Way, the former of which has also been delisted.
Nintendo has yet to release an official statement on why this happened. Given that they provided advance notice when they closed down the Wii Shop Channel back in January 2019, it seems unlikely that this was deliberate, especially considering that Europe and Japan still maintain their full libraries. Until they release a statement though, this currently remains speculative.
It’s opened up the physical versus digital debate once again too, highlighting just how easily digital-only games can be lost forever without physical preservation. Though Risky’s Revenge made its way to other platforms and saw a Limited Run Games physical release, very few DSiWare games can claim to be so lucky and without Nintendo restoring them, are likely lost forever.
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