Soapbox: An Ode To The 3DS, Nintendo's Workhorse Console

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 sequence 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 atone for items you missed, or just get pleasure from wanting again on a 12 months 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 at all times maintain a particular place in her coronary heart…

Some individuals bear in mind the place they had been after they came upon concerning the assassination of President JFK. I can not let you know the place I used to be when JFK was shot, however that is principally as a result of I hadn’t been born, and due to this fact wasn’t watching the information on the time, however I can let you know the place I used to be when the Nintendo 3DS first got here out.

It was midnight, March twenty fifth, 2011, and I used to be at a pokey little HMV in Exeter, town by which 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 away from bed and go to the outlets 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I traded in my outdated, battered DS Lite for £55 off the 3DS (in Aqua Blue) and it appeared just like the fanciest factor I had ever owned. To at the present time, it is probably the greatest investments I’ve ever made, second solely to a warm-water bidet: I performed that little piece of plastic to dying, and it was nonetheless kicking once I traded it in once more for a New Nintendo 3DS just a few years later.

Nintendo 3DS© Nintendo Life

Practically ten years later, and the Nintendo 3DS has lastly been taken out of manufacturing. It is not like you may’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 12 months state that the household of 3DS consoles have collectively offered 75.87 million models. These little guys are ubiquitous. Like rats in New York, you are most likely by no means greater than six ft away from a Nintendo 3DS.

Not like rats in New York, the 3DS introduced me, and thousands and thousands 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 foul second with Nintendo’s clicky-hinged handheld. It was my very first expertise with AR, should you can bear in mind all these little playing cards the unique console got here with – I bear in mind exhibiting my mum that there have been little balloons throughout the room that you can 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 now not being made is akin to shifting away from residence for the primary time. You realize it is for the very best, proper? You realize that issues change, and die, and the world strikes on, and is best for it. However deep down, it would not really feel proper. You wish to keep on this planet that has comforting recollections and mushy, non-threatening nostalgia. I would like 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 concept – 3D with out glasses! Wow! – however the actual fact that I am 500 phrases into telling you about how a lot I beloved this console, and I’ve solely simply talked about the 3D, goes some technique 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 creative, inventive, bizarre video games that nobody else was publishing on the time. I’ve a lot of scorching takes on this. I might let you know that the 3DS (and DS, with which it shares plenty of widespread options) was partly chargeable for how good cell video games may be, as a result of it (together with the iPad, launched only a few months earlier) made high-production-value touchscreen video games cool.

I might let you know that it helped revolutionise the indie video games scene, as a result of with the massive recognition of the 3DS, you can get your quirky sport within the palms of nearly everybody underneath 30 that was taking part in video games on the time. I’ll positively let you know that the 3DS was (and is) one of the crucial influential consoles for narrative in video games, as a result of creators and builders might inform pocket-sized tales that will instantly discover an viewers, given the massively huge 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 Legal professional, 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 ebook — one thing you can tackle the prepare or bus, with video games you can play briefly bursts. The truth is, I really performed a DS sport referred to as 100 Basic Books on my 3DS, the place you can try and learn everything of the works of Shakespeare on a tiny display screen. I… do not suggest it.

However, in my view, at the least, the 3DS was fashionable, profitable, and fantastic, as a result of it marketed to everybody. Nintendo’s notoriously gender-free advertising and marketing would not simply embrace everybody, it makes positive that nobody feels excluded. As somebody who assumed as a teen that PlayStations and Xboxes simply weren’t actually aimed toward me, as a result of they solely ever marketed them loudly, with the sort of video games I simply did not wish to play, Nintendo has at all times felt like a secure haven.

The truth is, the 3DS was usually particularly marketed at girls and ladies – in a sort 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 needed to, the identical as anybody may do with a rice cooker, or a brand new pillow. At launch, it wasn’t marketed as one thing I would like as a result of I used to be a lady, or one thing I may not like as a result of I used to be a lady. It simply… was.


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