Ten years later, the Nintendo 3DS is an unsung hero
Imagine the scene ten years ago: mobile phones had evolved drastically overnight, Sony was preparing to enter the handheld gaming market with the enticing PS Vita, and Nintendo was essentially working against itself with the impending launch. of the Wii U home console. Even with a new 3D gimmick, the odds weren’t in Nintendo’s favor before the 3DS launched.
It sure had a hefty price tag and huge dual-screen boots to fill thanks to the runaway success of the Nintendo 2DS, but the big N was going all out on its latest device. First released in Japan on February 11 and a month later everywhere else, the Nintendo 3DS celebrated with a barrel of launch titles and pure bluster that set the tone for this wonderful device.
Of course, the 3D gimmick wasn’t for everyone and if you closed the screen you’d leave a mark on the top monitor, but it worked! Heck, you can even take photos with it and turn them into low-res 3D works of art. However, that initial steam quickly ran out, as even an established library of backward compatible 2DS games couldn’t sustain the prophesied shift of focus to other upcoming consoles.
And for a while, the 3DS was just… there. It wasn’t a third wheel by any stretch of the imagination, but the 3DS had gone from Party Pete to this guy to a shindig who just stands in a corner and sips low attention IPs. A few years later, the situation had changed dramatically. The PS Vita was largely forgotten as Sony focused its efforts on the PS4, and the Wii U had become a massive, unloved flop early in its life. Exactly like me.
It’s worth pointing out that without the ideas pioneered by the Wii U, we wouldn’t have the massive success of the Nintendo Switch, but it was a project that was still years away from success. Nintendo needed something to stay relevant while it worked on its home and handheld hybrid console that would reverse its fortunes, and that’s where the Nintendo 3DS came in.
It’s because of a number of fantastic proprietary games that could only be played on it, hardware revisions and less focus on the 3D aspect of games that not everyone was a fan of, the 3DS became Nintendo’s unsung hero. One of my favorite moments with the 3DS was using its built-in Miitopia game and brushing it up with new friends I met around the world.
The popularity of this console was on full display when I went to E3, as it wouldn’t even be five minutes before I could open it and have a hundred new friends waiting outside my castle gates. Really, everyone loved this miracle machine. It’s also the device that introduced me to one of my favorite video game franchises of all time: Fire Emblem.
Fire Emblem Awakening hit this console like a love letter to a franchise that never got enough love, and in this attempt to release with the biggest hit possible, it became a smash hit that is continued to this day and which is currently extremely entertaining. input on the switch. Other proprietary games of course include Pokemon. Heck, Nintendo’s library of Pokemon games is among its best on the 3DS, encompassing two new generations and a remake of beloved Gameboy Advance games Ruby and Sapphire.
The 3DS would see 2DS spinoffs that included the hilarious cheese wedge model, and its final revision would increase the size of the screens, add an extra analog stick, and beef up the hardware. Although it didn’t sell as many units as the Nintendo DS and was recently overtaken by the Nintendo Switch, it still had an impressive 75.9 million sales by the time its release. hardware was officially discontinued at the end of 2020.
Is it still worth tracking down and owning one of these consoles? Absoutely. Not only is it still great hardware to play on, it’s home to multiple generations of Nintendo games, something the Switch console largely failed to do. Along with the established 3DS and 2DS libraries, its Virtual Console has allowed Gameboy, NES, and SNES games to flourish there.
The eShop is still running, and with the right memory card size and enough cash, you can an entire generation of games on one system. And therein lies the spirit of Nintendo 3DS. An underrated hero who rode to Nintendo’s aid in its darkest hours, held back the darkness for hours, and quietly disappeared into the night when its mantle was taken over by the Switch.
Undoubtedly one of Nintendo’s best pure handheld devices, the 3DS leaves behind a legacy of excellence and triumph that few other systems could hope to beat, let alone replicate. In the Video Game Hall of Fame, he deserves a section of his own for paving the way for Nintendo to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
Last update: March 29, 2021