Greatest Of 2020: An Ode To The 3DS, Nintendo’s Workhorse Console

Nintendo 3DS© Nintendo Life

Over the vacation season we’ll be republishing a collection of Nintendo Life articles, interviews and different options from the earlier twelve months that we contemplate to be our Better of 2020. Hopefully, this provides you with an opportunity to make amends for items you missed, or just take pleasure in wanting again on a yr which did have some highlights — sincere!

This Soapbox function was initially printed in November 2020. On this piece, former Official Nintendo Journal staffer Kate Grey explains why the 3DS will all the time maintain a particular place in her coronary heart…


Some individuals bear in mind the place they had been after they discovered concerning the assassination of President JFK. I am unable to inform you the place I used to be when JFK was shot, however that is principally as a result of I hadn’t been born, and subsequently wasn’t watching the information on the time, however I can inform you the place I used to be when the Nintendo 3DS first got here out.

It was midnight, March 25th, 2011, and I used to be at a pokey little HMV in Exeter, the town wherein I used to be attending college. It was chilly, and darkish, and I had rolled out of my good cozy mattress to be right here — my first ever midnight launch. My first ever midnight something, to be sincere, as a result of to stand up off the bed and go to the retailers at midnight, it’s important to both actually care about one thing, or be actually hungry. For me, it was the previous.

I traded in my previous, battered DS Lite for £55 off the 3DS (in Aqua Blue) and it appeared just like the fanciest factor I had ever owned. To today, it is top-of-the-line investments I’ve ever made, second solely to a warm-water bidet: I performed that little piece of plastic to loss of life, and it was nonetheless kicking once I traded it in once more for a New Nintendo 3DS a number of years later.

Nintendo 3DS© Nintendo Life

Practically ten years later, and the Nintendo 3DS has lastly been taken out of manufacturing. It isn’t like you’ll be able to’t get your palms on one ever once more, although – a cursory search on eBay turns up over 4,000 outcomes for “3DS”, and Nintendo’s personal figures as much as the center of this yr state that the household of 3DS consoles have collectively offered 75.87 million items. These little guys are ubiquitous. Like rats in New York, you are most likely by no means greater than six toes away from a Nintendo 3DS.

In contrast to rats in New York, the 3DS introduced me, and tens of millions of different individuals, nice pleasure. From the very first second of opening it, to replaying Animal Crossing: New Leaf earlier than the discharge of New Horizons, I’ve by no means had a nasty second with Nintendo’s clicky-hinged handheld. It was my very first expertise with AR, in case you can bear in mind all these little playing cards the unique console got here with – I bear in mind displaying my mum that there have been little balloons throughout the room that you might shoot, feeling like I had personally invented augmented actuality. The gimmick wore off fast, however what a gimmick it was.

Discovering out that the 3DS is not being made is akin to transferring away from dwelling for the primary time. it is for the most effective, proper? that issues change, and die, and the world strikes on, and is healthier for it. However deep down, it would not really feel proper. You need to keep on the earth that has comforting reminiscences and tender, non-threatening nostalgia. I need generations upon generations to play the 3DS, and admire how good it was.

Nintendo 3DS© Nintendo Life

It did not have to be that good. It might have been a handheld console with a neat technological thought – 3D with out glasses! Wow! – however the actual fact that I am 500 phrases into telling you about how a lot I liked this console, and I’ve solely simply talked about the 3D, goes some approach to demonstrating how the 3D ended up being a lot much less of a promoting level than initially supposed.

You see, what made the 3DS good was the sheer vary of ingenious, inventive, bizarre video games that nobody else was publishing on the time. I’ve a lot of scorching takes on this. I might inform you that the 3DS (and DS, with which it shares a number of widespread options) was partly chargeable for how good cellular video games might be, as a result of it (together with the iPad, launched just some months earlier) made high-production-value touchscreen video games cool.

I might inform you that it helped revolutionise the indie video games scene, as a result of with the large recognition of the 3DS, you might get your quirky sport within the palms of nearly everybody below 30 that was enjoying video games on the time. I’ll undoubtedly inform you that the 3DS was (and is) one of the vital influential consoles for narrative in video games, as a result of creators and builders might inform pocket-sized tales that may instantly discover an viewers, given the massively broad internet of people that owned the console.

Nintendo 3DS© Nintendo Life

There have been video games on the 3DS that would solely actually come out on the 3DS on the time: Zero Escape, Ace Lawyer, Professor Layton. It is no coincidence that many of those video games had been heavy in story and puzzles, as a result of the 3DS (once more, just like the DS) was virtually marketed like a e-book — one thing you might tackle the prepare or bus, with video games you might play briefly bursts. In actual fact, I truly performed a DS sport referred to as 100 Basic Books on my 3DS, the place you might try and learn the whole lot of the works of Shakespeare on a tiny display. I… do not advocate it.

However, for my part, at the least, the 3DS was widespread, profitable, and great, as a result of it marketed to everybody. Nintendo’s notoriously gender-free advertising and marketing would not simply embody everybody, it makes positive that nobody feels excluded. As somebody who assumed as a teen that PlayStations and Xboxes simply weren’t actually geared toward me, as a result of they solely ever marketed them loudly, with the type of video games I simply did not need to play, Nintendo has all the time felt like a secure haven.

In actual fact, the 3DS was usually particularly marketed at girls and women – in a type of icky, patronising approach, I will not lie – however I by no means felt like another console producer actually bothered to acknowledge that I used to be even there. I purchased a 3DS as a result of I wished to, the identical as anybody would possibly do with a rice cooker, or a brand new pillow. At launch, it wasn’t marketed as one thing I’d like as a result of I used to be a woman, or one thing I won’t like as a result of I used to be a woman. It simply… was.

RIP, 3DS.

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