Five Reasons The Nintendo 3DS Is The System To Own At The Moment

Posted By | On 08th, Jun. 2012 Under Feature | Follow This Author @Pramath1605

This E3 was a dismal showing all round for Nintendo. Their much anticipated unveil of their upcoming console, the Wii U, was horribly unfocused and underwhelming overall, and it led to some massive disappointment everywhere. The fact that Nintendo decided to not focus on the 3DS during their E3 showing just to focus on the Wii U, and that the Wii U managed to disappoint after all that, added salt to the wound.

The five minutes that Nintendo did spend on the 3DS were probably the highlight of their conference. Their 3DS Software Showcase held the next day further served to reinforce a suspicion everybody’s been having ever since the 3DS’s meteoric resurgence last year- Nintendo might not have a clue in the handheld market, but in the console market, it goes for the jugular. Even as Sony squandered all this potential to justify the PS Vita’s existence, Nintendo decided to show off a spate of some incredibly strong games due for the 3DS, all this year. And seeing that incredible mix of first and third parties confirmed an assertion that I’ve felt has been correct for quite a while now: the 3DS is now the system to own. With its tumultuous past behind it, and a very bright future ahead of it, here are five reasons why the 3DS is a system you absolutely must own right now.

5. It’s Got a Great Library of Games Already

The 3DS started out with a dismal launch lineup, and it took it months to get going, but as of right now, it has an enviable library, especially for a system as young as it really is right now. Not even counting the remakes such as The Legend of Zeld: Ocarina of Time 3D, Star Fox 64 3D, Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D, Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked, and Tales of the Abyss 3D, or the console ports like FIFA, Pro Evolution Soccer, Super Street Fighter IV, and Sonic Generations, there is still a slew of some absolutely great titles that you should not at any cost miss. From the more low key games like Dead or Alive: Dimensions and Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars to the more big name games like Super Mario 3D Land, Mario Kart 7, Resident Evil: Revelations, and Kid Icarus: Uprising, the 3DS has no shortage of games right now.

And that’s by just limiting ourselves to retail! On the digital side, Nintendo has abolutely hit it out of the park with the eShop. Games like Colors 3D, Pushmo, Sakura Samurai, Might Switch Force, Mutant Mudds, Ketzal’s Corridors, and Dillon’s Rolling Western to name a few are all some excellent games that are among the best digital games ever created. Some of them, like Pushmo, wouldn’t be out of place as a full priced retail release.

The point is, the 3DS’s massive library right now ensures an overwhelming amount of content for the consumer. At this point, the 3DS literally bombards you with quality content continuously. There is no way it can fall into disuse.

4. Nintendo is Doing Online Gaming Right

With the exception of requiring both people to add each other before they appear in each other’s friends lists, Nintendo has absolutely nailed it with the 3DS’s online offerings. The newly branded Nintendo Network is a great step up from Nintendo’s previous online gaming services, and Nintendo is making a push to incorporate online support in every game it ships right now.

Not only that, Nintendo is also trailblazing with some really innovative features when it comes to online gaming: the communities feature introduced first in Mario Kart 7 (and then also utilized in Mario Tennis) is probably the closest a console game has ever come to PC servers and dedicated lobbies.

In fact, as of right now, Nintendo is probably making for a bigger push of online gaming on the 3DS than Sony is on the Vita. Every major Nintendo game, from Mario Kart 7, Kid Icarus: Uprising, Mario Tennis, and Resident Evil: Revelations, shipped with Nintendo Network support, and future games like New Super Mario Bros. 2 are also confirmed to support the functionality. Contrast this with Sony, which seems to be actively axing online modes from its big PS Vita games- Uncharted: Golden Abyss and ModNation Racers come to mind immediately- and it’s apparent that if online gaming on the go is what you want, the 3DS is your ticket. Kind of ironic, really, all things considered.

3. The eShop Is Awesome (And Getting Better)

We already touched on this in the first point, but the eShop is absolutely awesome. Nintendo has learned from the dismal failures of DSiWare and WiiWare, and the eShop is absolutely incredible, at least where it matters- content. There is a wide variety of content already listed up there as 3DS exclusive games available only on the eShop that you absolutely need to own. And that’s not even half the story told.

The eShop is also hope exclusively to Virtual Console content (meaning all Gameboy, Gameboy Color, Game Gear, NES, and- exclusively for Ambassadors- Gameboy Advance games, are available only via the eShop), the 3D Classics range of games, which includes old greats like Kirby’s Adventure and Kid Icarus remastered in stereoscopic 3D, the complete range of DSiWare games (which are mostly crap, but feature a few gems), and not to mention, demos, apps and media functionality, such as exclusive trailers and videos, and Netflix, Hulu, SwapNote, and more.

The eShop’s utility doesn’t just end there. Nintendo has announced a plan to go fully digital with all its games in the future Starting with the upcoming New Super Mario Bros. 2, every single first party game will be released simultaneously on the eShop in full, alongside retail. One has to imagine that old Nintendo 3DS games will also be put on the eShop in time, and that third parties will quickly follow suit. If going fully digital is your thing, then the 3DS has you covered there too.

2. Nintendo’s Own Support For It Is Incredible

Nintendo’s extent of support for the Wii U is iffy at best- Pikmin 3 and New Super Mario Bros U are great and all, but when your headlining titles are Wii Fit U and Nintendo Land, you’ve gotta wonder why you are buying the thing at all. The 3DS, on the other hand, is flooded with quality Nintendo content already, with more on its way. Almost every classic Nintendo franchise has either made its way to the 3DS, or will be there soon enough.

I mean, in the coming months, we’re due for Paper Mario: Sticker Star, Animal Crossing, New Super Mario Bros. 2, Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, Fire Emblem Awakening, and this is to say nothing of the inevitable Zelda and Metroid games, in addition to the often rumored F-Zero and Donkey Kong games as well. Nintendo has thrown the weight of all the world’s greatest development studios into making the 3DS an absolute success.

Of course, this is to say nothing of the inevitable Pokemon 3DS game. You know it’s coming, I know it’s coming, we all know it’s coming. In our hearts, I suspect it is probably the primary reason we all bought the 3DS in the first place.

1. Third Parties Are On Board Fully

 The 3DS’s unveiling at E3 2010 took the world by storm. Nintendo’s successor to the DS impressed everybody not only because of its impressive tech wizardry and the quality of upcoming Nintendo games, but also because of the sheer extent of third pary support that was announced for the thing. Everyone seemed to be on board, and franchises ranging from Kingdom Hearts, Resident Evil, Metal Gear Solid, and Assassin’s Creed were all due to get 3DS exclusive games. Some of those games, like Saint’s Row and Assassin’s Creed, were ultimately canceled, but no matter- the ones that did make it, like Resident Evil, Metal Gear Solid, Dead or Alive, Tom Clancy, Street Fighter, Professor Layton, or Kingdom Hearts, were all great. And with more games in popular franchises, like Castlevania, Epic Mickey, Scribblenauts, Heroes of Ruin, Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy, Shin Megami Tensei, and more, all due for the plucky little handheld, it’s clear the 3DS will never have a shortage of games to play, and that, even if you don’t care for Nintendo games all that much, it’s still a system to own.

And that’s the thing- more than ever before, third parties seem to be on board with Nintendo for the 3DS. Nintendo’s handhelds have always had a history of some incredible third party support, especially the GBA and the DS, but the 3DS seems set to surpass them all already. The fact that there are more third parties expressing interest in, and showing games in development for, the 3DS than either the Vita or the Wii U, speaks wonders. Third parties are fully confident in the prospects of the system, and they are going to back it fully. You should too, because otherwise, you’re gonna be missing one hell of a party.

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  • Derik

    I’m definitely considering it now that I have a $91 best buy gift card. It looks like a game-focused handheld compared to the Vita but should I wait for a re-design? Let me know what you think, Pramath.

    • Pramath

      I’ll be honest, there will eventually be a 3DS redesign, but it will not be released this year. Nintendo currently plans on focusing exclusively on the Wii U launch as far as hardware is concerned, plus the current 3DS model is still unprofitable (meaning that it would be foolish to pour more money into R&D and then manufacturing processes of an entirely new product since they would all be investments without returns… for now. And we all know Nintendo is a very financially conservative company). Nintendo is going to want to wait until at least the 3DS has been profitable for some time before they rush out a new handheld to the market.
      The 3DS redesign (most probably a larger 3DS, with a second slider in built) is definitely coming, but I don’t see it coming anytime soon before 2013. If you want to wait that long, you should. I’d advise you to make the jump and get one now though, and trade it in for a new one in the worst case, especially since your 3DS profiles can be transferred now.

  • Guy Incognito

    One reason not to buy the 3DS at the moment:
    The inevitable, eventual redesign where the second slidepad is built into the system, avoiding the need to shell out an extra $20 for the bulky add-on.

  • mattprime86


    I’m feeling the same way. I was hoping to hear about re design at E3. I want a 3DS but I want the eventual dual analog version

    • Shubhankar Parijat

      That’s what people said about the PSP.

  • BNP

    The only reason I don’t own one is because there isn’t an XL version.

    Nintendo, if you’re reading this. Make an 3DS XL and I will buy it.

    • Nez

      Agreed with BNP, I have to have a larger screen myself. Just personal preference.


    This article is a joke, right? Almost all of the “incredible” library you mentioned is ports and re-makes, and you can’t really name any good games outside of those ones because the library is small and filled with pared-down versions of titles found on better consoles (which cost about the same as the 3DS at this point). Third party support for this system is a joke, thanks to Nintendo allowing so much “shovelware” onto the Wii and DS.

    The electronically purchased games are overpriced, offering far less value than something off of the app store on a smart phone.

    The virtual console is a travesty, as games purchased on the Wii need to be purchased again on the 3DS, just because Nintendo can (for reference, classic PSone games on the Playstation Network can be played on either the PS3 or PSP with one license – which is awesome!).

    The stylus gimmick was old when the DS came out, as my 2 DS’s with their scratched-up screens can attest to, and now we’ve got a 3D gimmick that most people turn off. Oh, look, they finally engineered a second analog stick… too bad it increases the system’s volume by 25%. Now we just have to wait for Nintendo to not support that too (remember the DS Headset?).

    I’m not trying to troll here, but it was like this article was written in a vacuum. Unless you’re comparing it to (just) the Nintendo DS, I honestly believe that the 3DS is possibly the least desirable and least worthwhile of any video game system on the market.

  • John doe

    Is this an April Fools joke? I’ve had one since launch and Mario has been the only half way decent game.

  • Facelord

    The 3DS is NOT the handheld to have, it’s the single most poorly designed game system of the past decade. I’m gonna go ahead and put more work into one comment than the author of this article put into his post, here are a few reasons you should(never) own a 3DS from an ex-Nintendo fanboy and a handheld gamer.

    1.) The 3DS has only one slide pad and the slide pad add-on peripheral is an admission of Nintendo’s that they screwed up and that the next 3DS model will have two slide pads. I find it funny that Iwata(or was it Miyamoto?) claimed proudly that they didn’t pay attention to competing products in the design of the 3DS, that’s made so very clear with every aspect of the system. You’d think that they would have learned from Sony’s mistake with the PSP that you can’t just have one analog stick without the potential for alternate input methods, but maybe their Wii only having one analog stick made them cocky. At the end of the day you CAN play FPS games and complex 3D titles like No More Heroes and Metroid on the Wii but they just can’t work as well on the 3DS. The Wii lets you use its remote as a pointer and you can even turn the camera with the remote’s d-pad in games, the 3DS has nothing like that to make up for the lack of a second slide pad.

    2.) When I owned a 3DS for six months I tried nearly every day to make my eyes “learn” how to enjoy the 3D effect of the 3DS. It gave me migraines, instant eyestrain, blurred vision and an eye twitch that’s only just recently gotten any better. After a while I hesitantly gave up on the 3DS, my poor Nintendo fanboy heart broken, complained to Nintendo customer support about the awful 3D effect and they refunded my system. I can say without any doubt that Nintendo customer support is better than the customer support of Sony or Microsoft by a mile(Sony’s support is too impersonal and not exactly as helpful as Nintendo’s, Microsoft’s support seemed shifty and only acted to hinder any progress I wanted to make with them). Nintendo’s customer support may be phenomenal but that doesn’t change the fact that the 3D effect doesn’t work with everyone’s eyes, even people like me with great vision who aren’t effected negatively by theater 3D or 3D gaming on my monitor. I showed my 3DS to quite a few friends, colleagues, classmates and relatives to check their reactions to see the effect the 3D would have on them, half of them thought it was kinda cute and then just turned off the 3D so they could focus on the game and the other half reacted with half-closed eyes, cringes and disappointment. You should definitely try a 3DS out at a store before you pay $170 on one.
    Heh, bonus: the 3D effect prevents you from using the motion control features of the 3DS, unless you reaaally want to strain your eyes having to constantly readjust to the 3DS effect.

    3.) Speaking of price, the 3DS isn’t worth $170. I’d put its worth at $130 but Nintendo is a.) too lame, b.) too cocky and c.) too afraid that their stock will plunge if they lower its price any further. I find it hilarious that Nintendo would charge $250 for a 3DS, thinking that the Vita would launch at $400 and *bam*, the Vita’s only $250 and it clearly gives off more value. Nintendo dropped the price to $170, leaving all the “Ambassadors” ripped off and showing little confidence in their system.

    4.) Heh, why would they show confidence in their system when the specs are so disappointing? The 3DS has 4mb of VRAM, a 266 MHz dual-core processor and 64mb of RAM. The average smartphone of 2010 was more powerful than the 3DS and the 3DS is supposed to be optimized for gaming. The Vita has 128mb of VRAM(32 times the amount of the 3DS), 512mb of RAM(8 times the amount of the 3DS) and a quad-core processor running at 1 GHz per core, overclockable to 1.5 GHz per core easily without building up heat within the unit(three of the Vita’s cores work on games at once, one core works on multitasking with programs like Trophies, Twitter, Music and Near)… meaning the Vita’s processor is roughly six times as fast as the 3DS’ for gaming processes alone. Note that the Vita multitasks and the 3DS does not. Anyways, back to the specs, it may sound like unimportant techno-babble to you guys but it pretty much means that the Vita can give developers enough horsepower to do anything the modern consoles can do while the 3DS severely limits developer output. Development studios would much rather add more and more visual features to their games and play around with a ton of power than be forced to heavily optimize games so they don’t look like crap. I’m taking college courses on game development and I certainly know which handheld I’d rather develop a game for.

    5.) And of course 3DS games’ll generally look like crap compared to anything else on the market when the top screen is 400×240. That’s lower resolution than the PSP’s screen from way back in 2005(480×272), way lower resolution than the Vita’s screen(960×544) and just a bump higher resolution than the original DS’ screens(256×192). Heck, with the 3DS’ screens being so low-resolution(oh yeah, the lower screen is 320×240 res) you’d think they’d have tons of room to stretch their hardware muscles. Oh boy, is that assumption wrong. When the 3DS renders in 2D mode it’s displaying 172,800 pixels at once, when it displays in 3D mode it has to render 268,800 pixels at once(since it beams one image to each of your eyes it pretty much renders its top screen at 800×240 res, even though you only get the visual quality of 400×240). The Vita, on the other hand, having 32x the amount of VRAM as the 3DS, renders 522,240 pixels at once comfortably while 3DS games end up looking less crisp and clear than PSP games while taking enough of a performance hit that the hardware is only a small step above the PSP.
    Another bonus: the 3DS’ LCD screen looks really awful compared to the Vita’s lovely OLED screen.

    6.) The 3DS’ battery life is horrendous, especially considering the fact that the hardware is so weak(therefore draining the battery life less). The 3DS has a 1300 mAh battery(versus the DS’ 850 mAh and the Vita’s 2210 mAh) and yet I only got 3 hours of 3DS gameplay on a full charge. Sure, if you turn off wifi and 3D and lower the brightness of the screen you can get around 5 hours of playtime but I wouldn’t wanna turn off wifi, 3D is the biggest feature of the 3DS and the 3DS’ screen just looks really bad at anything less than the second-highest brightness setting. The Vita, on the other hand, looks optimal at half-brightness(anything higher strains the eyes a tiny bit from being too bright, anything lower just isn’t bright enough) and with wifi and 3G on, half-brightness, your own music playing in the background and graphically intensive games like Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Gravity Rush and Unit 13 blasting away on your screen you can easily get five hours of playtime. PSP titles easily get 7 or 8 hours of playtime on the Vita(wifi/3G on, half-brightness) while DS games, from my personal experiences with wifi off, 4/5 brightness and Dragon Quest 9, only get around six hours of playtime. Considering this is a very low-end handheld from Nintendo(who has a history of great battery life in all their previous systems except the 3DS 1995- excuse me, the Virtual Boy), this is pretty freaking shameful.

    7.) The 3DS’ design just feels extremely rushed and incomplete, there is a ton of room for improvement. If it were larger, three of its problems could be solved: they could fit a second slide pad onto the system, they could put a larger battery into the system and they could make the too-small screens larger. The Vita, on the other hand, is as big as they possibly could’ve made it without preventing it from fitting snugly into a pocket. IT has two analog sticks, a capacitive touchscreen

    8.) Know how I mentioned that the Vita has a capacitive, multi-touch touchscreen above? Well that and the Vita’s rear touchpad are the current industry standard. The 3DS’ resistive touchscreen doesn’t allow multi-touch, but it does come with a nice stylus and it lets you be more accurate with your touch input. That said, the fact that the lower screen is a touchscreen and the top one isn’t is a huge flaw. In titles like Resistance on the Vita you can touch the screen to draw your crossbow/double-barrel shotgun for one explosive arrow shot. It feels intuitive and leaves a really good impression on the player, it just feels so sleek. Touching enemy ships in Super Stardust Delta to fire a wave of missiles totally suits the game and adds a level of precision you can’t get with regular buttons and analog sticks. You can’t pull any of that off on the 3DS, instead you’re left sliding your stylus around on the lower screen to aim in games like Kid Icarus: Uprising. Sure, it felt pretty good in Metroid Prime: Hunters but that felt like a means to an end, playing an FPS on a handheld was considered groundbreaking in 2005. Here in 2012 it’s a lot harder to justify forcing the player to take his hands off the controls to aim while only giving them one shoulder button(L) to shoot with.
    Bonus #3: If you look down at the lower screen of the 3DS to check on what you’re sliding your stylus against you’ll have to readjust your vision to look back up at the gameplay on the top, unless you play in 2D mode.

    9.) I can hear you guys cry now, “but wait, Facelord, what about the games? We buy game systems for games and the 3DS’ library rocks!” My rebuttal? The 3DS’ library is so far pretty barren, the Vita’s been out only a portion of the time the 3DS has been out and yet its library is arguably just as good at the moment. It’s unacceptable for Nintendo to charge $40 for low-quality remakes like OoT3D and Star Fox 64 3D when they add nothing to the experience. The “original” content on the 3DS feels rushed or low-quality, Mario Kart 7, Mario Tennis Open and Super Mario 3D Land being the worst examples. They just lack that Nintendo magic, they’re same-old, same-old titles pushed out on a tight budget to try to appease gamers. That’s no way to distill Nintendo’s brand of love into a game, we certainly haven’t seen any examples of Nintendo’s magic yet… though I expect that to change with Paper Mario: Sticker Star and Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Shadows, those look wonderful. Totally balances out still with titles like Gravity Rush, LittleBigPlanet and Uncharted on the Vita, you’d just expect Nintendo to have the upper hand with a year head-start.

    I understand wanting other people to have a 3DS to help Nintendo back on its feet, but I don’t think that’s what should be done. I think Nintendo should completely scrap the 3DS line and release an alternate handheld, or lower the price of the 3DS to $130 and release a revision model STAT. It’s a slap to the face to dedicated Nintendo fans that they would charge so much for such a horrendous experience, the fact that the 3DS released at all is sickening. Sure, the concept of playing Nintendo games on a two-screen handheld with glasses-free 3D sounds like a heavenly experience but once you get past the initial ooh-ahs(unless you’re like me and your ooh-ahs were more like “ew-ow, my eyes”) it clearly tarnishes Nintendo’s legacy of great game systems. I keep trying to come up with an EXCUSE to throw myself back into Nintendo’s arms in a twisted mirroring of an abusive relationship, but at the end of the day I’m just not willing to look past the 3DS’ flaws… unless they revise it hardcore, lower the price a ton annnnd make it the go-to place for Virtual Console games. I don’t think you guys can understand how much I want to love the 3DS, I just can’t. All its fundamental flaws and the obvious lack of foresight used in its design just completely ruin its appeal. This is not the Nintendo I fell in love with when Dad brought home a SNES and a copy of Link to the Past nearly two decades ago, this is something else. My tastes as a gamer have evolved, I expect more out of my companies(and they, in turn, expect more money out of me).

    I hope that the people who read this don’t write off what I posted as “Sony fanboy nonsense” and actually listen to what I have to say. I grew up playing Nintendo consoles almost exclusively and I’m a handheld gamer at heart. I’m very passionate about gaming, especially handheld gaming in particular, and I don’t want people to make the same mistakes I did and purchase a 3DS without knowing the facts. I hope this helps someone.

    • AK

      Slide pad is not necessary for anything I’ve played….3D – who cares I turn it off on most games. It is not poorly designed at all – decent screen and it closes to make it easy to carry – no monstrous power supply to deal with though I agree battery life needs improvement.

      Vita – has a truly awful GUI – every single time I power mine up I curse SONY for the horrendous user interface. There are no games worth playing on it other than Escape Plan though there are a few I’m looking forward to. Browsing is actually worse on the Vita than on any other device I’ve ever used and I mean ANY device. Pages load incredibly slow and only in segments so as soon as you scroll one line it loads again.

      As far as games – even just the eshop games blow away the total library for Vita – Pushmo, Sakura Samurai, Rolling Western – all new 3DS games not recycled virtual console…oh and Zombie Killer Diox rocks!

      The 3DS is the best handheld gaming device available in my opinion and the Vita while its hardware is awesome has no games I want to play and the worst user interface I’ve ever seen.

  • Wach

    Well, dont expect a revision for the 3DS, Miyamoto already sayed that now Nintendo is working on the 3DS successor

  • AK

    I bought the 3DS at launch and was disappointed for quite a while but once the E-Shop got going and a few games came out, I’m loving it.

    I also purchased the Vita at launch and other than messing with it the first week it was out it has stayed in its case. There just isn’t anything I want to play on it but it is pretty…


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