The 3DS might be my favourite console ever. It just hit at the perfect time in my life, and got me enthusiastic about video games when I was on the verge of maybe walking away from them. I ended up buying way, way too many iterations of the 3DS, and found out that there was a network of people online who collect 3DS models (because of course there was).
What’s funny to think about now is how the 3DS was considered a huge failure out of the gate. Remember that? How Nintendo had to issue an official apology, drastically cut the price of the hardware, and offer all those “Ambassador” games to people?
When I first moved to Japan, in 2010, I’d go to Book Offs, and there would be entire glass display cases full of 3DSs that people had sold off. It looked grim there for a while. Still, I got one, because I was a big fan of the DS, and had disposable income for the first time in my life.
A year or two later… The day of the 3DS XL’s release was a beautiful, sunny day, and I was driving around town. I happened to pass by one of the larger game stores in the city where I lived at the time, and impulse-purchased a sleek, white model. Played the heck out of that thing, too. Etrian Odyssey IV, Shin Megami Tensei IV, Animal Crossing New Leaf. Oh yeah. Gave my old 3DS to a friend of mine, along with Mario Kart 7. She unlocked everything there was to unlock in that Mario Kart, and never bought another game for the 3DS, which I thought was fun.
A year or two after that, I was living in Fukuoka for a brief spell. I swore I wouldn’t buy the New 3DS, because I didn’t need it. Nobody needed it! And yet, I found myself at the Yodobashi Camera on launch day, just curiously snooping around. When I inquired, the staff guy I spoke to told me that all of the XLs had been preordered, and that only the small ones were in stock. Well, those interchangeable faceplates sure did seem cute (two were designed by Kyary Pamyu-Pamyu, in a true sign of the times), so I ended up getting a lil’ New 3DS. Later that day, when I visited a net cafe to do the system transfer (sending all my data and downloaded games from my 3DS XL to the new guy), I lost my Animal Crossing village in the process, and that taught me to become comfortable with the transient nature of media ownership. No, @marlfuchs2, the second analog stick is terrible. It feels like a trackpad mouse nub. But! The lil’ New 3DS is extremely comfortable to hold, and has those colourful buttons, so I like it.
These days, I own a New 3DS XL (galaxy purple edition) and that small, white New 3DS (with KK Slider faceplates). The big guy is for official eShop purchases (Atlus RPGs, and Alliance Alive, all of which I still want to finish someday), while the small guy has been hacked, and loaded up with hundreds of games. I still play both of them regularly, and always have an enjoyable time. I can see the 3DS being the one console I still play ten, twenty years from now.
My biggest obsession during the 3DS era was the Etrian Odyssey franchise (including Persona Q!), which is the best answer to @exodus’ question about games that need to be played on their original hardware.
The game library was so deep and so full of weird little experiments from big developers. Some other highlights for me:
- Bravely Default
- Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright
- Super Mario 3D Land!!
- A Link Between Worlds
- All those Fire Emblems they put on there. I played them all.
- The list goes on and on… Gosh I love the 3DS. What a joy to play.