Fan-Favorite Nintendo 3DS Game Saved From Extinction

Nintendo 3DS fan-favorite game Pocket Card Jockey lives on through an upgraded version now available on Apple Arcade.

By Jason Collins | Published

pocket card jockey
Pocket Card Jockey

Nintendo’s unholy crusade of shutting down its own IPs and fan-made tournaments resulted in numerous disgruntled fans across the board, and countless fan-favorite games now lost to the ages. However, every now and then, a valiant knight in the form of a gaming platform recognizes the financial potential in some of these lost games and does everything in its power to actually save a title. This is exactly what happened to Pocket Card Jockey—a 3DS cult title that was saved by Apple.

According to Shacknews, Apple announced that Pocket Card Jockey: Ride On—a gaming title coming from the Pokemon developer Game Freak—made a debut on Apple Arcade on January 20. Apparently, Apple restored the gameplay of the 2016 original with remastered graphics to better adhere to modern standards. The game that mixes horse racing and solitaire—strange but rather effective—has been released on iOS platforms, making it playable on an iPhone. Apple TV and Mac compatibility remains unconfirmed at this point.

The premise of Pocket Card Jockey is that players race horses by playing golf solitaire, a type of card game where you clear cards from the board and stack them—the more cards you clear, the more energy your horse has, and the better chances are of winning the horse race. Sounds really weird, but the experience is oddly enjoyable and humorous. For example, the connection between horse racing and golf solitaire is made by an angel who comes to tell players that their time hasn’t come yet after they had been trampled by horses on a horse track.

Apple’s iteration of the game will give Pocket Card Jockey a third dimension, which is a step away from the 2D original, and its only major difference. All other features from the original are present in Apple’s version as well, including horse romance and breeding, tactical track positioning, power-ups, and an in-game campaign. So, outside of racing, players raise multiple generations of adorable horses, cross-breeding them for better success in future races. As we said, a weird combination, but one that certainly won the hearts of the fans.

pocket card jockey

The original Pocket Card Jockey launched in Japan in 2013, with a subsequent release in North America in 2016 to fantastic success, with many calling the game “unorthodox, but brilliant”—a sentiment we also share. The only criticism it ever received was over the fact that it could be unfair to the player and punitive at times. The title was nearly lost as Nintendo proceeded to shut down 3DS and Wii U storefronts—both of which will end in March 2023. Admittedly, the company made some 130 titles available through its online platform.

But it’s worth noting that Pocket Card Jockey: Ride On!— Apple’s variant of the game—isn’t the first one to appear on iOS. In fact, the original Nintendo game also included an Apple iOS version released in 2014 in Japan only, but it wasn’t as popular as iterations made for Nintendo’s gaming hardware, so the game was shut down in 2015. Hopefully, Apple’s version will fare better. We don’t condone any form of piracy, but we certainly question that standpoint each time a gaming company abandons its products—we need a game preservation platform. Steam Deck, perhaps?

Pocket Card Jockey: Ride On! launched on January 20 on Apple Arcade.