McDonald’s Nintendo DS training game finally found, preserved
Game curators at Forest of Illusion recently got their hands on the holy grail of the Nintendo DS catalog: a cartridge meant to teach McDonald’s employees the ins and outs of fast food via the popular dual-screen handheld. It is called eSMART 2.0, and after years of research, it’s finally saved and made available for download.
eSMART 2.0 was part of a series of educational Nintendo DS pseudo-games distributed to McDonald’s locations across Japan in 2010 for training of existing employees. An accompanying cartridge for new McDonald’s hires known as the ECrew Development Program, Where eCDP in short, was found and shared online in 2020, corn eSMART itself has long eluded collectors and archivists.
Of course, there’s a whole story behind how this game ended up in the capable hands of Forest of Illusion, much of which is detailed by one enthusiast. Cody Trentuit in the video below. The acquisition saga eSMART 2.0 was filled with many starts and stops as various auctions for the training program appeared online and copies were purchased by people unwilling to share with the community due to piracy issues.
A group of Forest of Illusion and other generous benefactors were finally able to secure a copy of eSMART 2.0 for a whopping 300,000 (or around $ 2,600 USD). After ensuring the preservation of the game by backing up the cartridge data, Forest of Illusion sent eSMART 2.0 to Trentuit, who shared a lengthy video detailing its content for those unable to download and play on their own.
As you can see, this software will not make any list of “Best Nintendo DS Games of All Time”. eSMART 2.0 is pretty much what it says on the box: a way to teach then-McDonald’s employees the best practices for preparing Quarter Pounders and Chicken McNuggets orders for hungry customers via interactive demonstrations and scenarios .
That said, it remains an important moment for the preservation of video games. Although it doesn’t seem as important as, say, release hundreds of PlayStation 2 prototypes and demos, eSMART 2.0Archiving is a small step in preserving the entire Nintendo DS catalog for future use. And hey, you never know, maybe the secret to making an authentic Big Mac sauce is hidden somewhere in its code.