Here's an important PSA for long-time Pokemon players: you need to download the Pokemon Bank app on 3DS very soon. One fan's harrowing experience of nearly losing two decades worth of collected creatures is serving as a wake-up call for members of the community.
Through a convoluted process of transfers, trades, and imports, it is possible to bring Pokemon from every generation forward into the modern games. (The original Game Boy cartridges are an exception, though the 3DS Virtual Console versions of those titles can still be part of the transfer chain.) Every Pokemon you've collected through the years can live in the cloud via the Pokemon Home app, and then can be transferred into whichever modern games support those particular creatures.
You can read our Pokemon Home transfer guide for details on how it all works, but there's one important link in this chain that's about to be broken: Pokemon Bank on 3DS. Bank is the only way to complete the arduous process of transferring all your past-gen Pokemon into the current Home app, and with the shutdown of the 3DS eShop looming on March 27, you need to download that app right now before access to it is shut down.
Over on Reddit, a two decade veteran of the Pokemon series who goes by Crusnik_Asparagus nearly came out on the bad end of this shutdown. After a few years away from the series, they reasonably assumed that all the Pokemon they'd previously uploaded to Pokemon Bank would be available in Home. That was not the case.
"I’ve been playing these games for 18 years," Crusnik_Asparagus writes. "140 hours per game. I’ve bred Pokemon in rare balls with hidden abilities, egg moves and 6 IV’s. Manual labor. Hundreds of hours upon hundreds of hours. Rare event Pokemon. ALL. GONE. I didn’t even cry because I went into a semi-shock state."
At the risk of sounding dramatic: this warning of "20 years of gaming almost down the drain" could apply to you after March 27. This player would've been fine either way since they'd already downloaded Pokemon Bank and uploaded their creatures to it, as you'll still be able to redownload Bank after the eShop shutdown as long as you've grabbed it at least once before, according to Nintendo's official notices. (Bank's annual fee is also disappearing alongside the shutdown, but the Pokemon Company says the app will remain functional.)
But if you haven't downloaded Bank by that March cutoff date, your old Pokemon will be trapped in your old Pokemon games. If you want to keep official access to all your beloved teams, dust off your 3DS and make sure you've got access to the Pokemon Bank.