After two months of offering Pilotwings Resort, Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition, and not much else, the Nintendo 3DS is on the verge of receiving an online update that will add the long-awaited eShop to the system along with a web browser. The update rolls out online on the evening of June 6 in North America just in time for the following morning's Nintendo E3 Media Briefing in which I'm sure we'll hear the company's Reggie Fils-Aime boast that the eShop and web browser are "available right now" during the presentation. Nintendo has outlined what we can expect to find in the eShop when it opens for business next week. The top aspect? A free game!
By installing the free update via a wireless broadband Internet connection, Nintendo 3DS users will have access to an Internet browser and the Nintendo eShop, which contains a variety of new content, including Pokédex™ 3D, an application that lets fans see Pokémon™ characters in 3D. To celebrate the grand opening of the Nintendo eShop, Nintendo is offering the NES™ game Excitebike™ re-mastered in 3D as a free download until July 7 for anyone who installs the system update. Upcoming Virtual Console™ content available in the Nintendo eShop includes Game Boy™ games Super Mario Land™, Alleyway™ and Radar Mission™. New content will be added to the Nintendo eShop on Thursdays.
Yes, we're getting the previously mentioned free ExciteBike update that was promised for Japan. From what I understand, they've even enabled the ability to save your track designs (which, as you'll recall, was an unfinished feature in the original Nintendo Entertainment System release). As with the Wii's Virtual Console, the big guns aren't rolling out at launch. Super Mario Land is mentioned as an upcoming title, but there's a noticable lack of heavy-hitters like The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, Wario Land, or Mega Man (although Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Revenge is an eShop launch title in Japan). Even the 3D remakes of classic NES and Super NES games are starting in low gear with ExciteBike. While I'm sure that Super Mario World, Mega Man 2, and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past are all on the slate for future 3Dified release, they're sorely needed now. ExciteBike is OK and all, but it's not going to sell 3DS units. I'm not expecting the gold standards to appear on the service en mass on launch day, but at least one item from the treasure vault of classics would be nice. However, even with my mixed feelings, I'm glad to see the eShop arrive. I just hope that the hotel I'll be staying at for E3 has dependable Wi-Fi on Monday evening.
Here's a quick look at ExciteBike in action (in 2D, natch):