The 3DS Is Still Great In 2017

I still love my Nintendo 3DS. As a relatively late adopter to the device, I’m currently working through the best handheld game library of all time. After a 6 year life span so far, the library has been continually built upon with must-play Nintendo first-party games. From Mario to The Legend of Zelda to Donkey Kong to Pokemon, the library on the Nintendo 3DS is large and varied. The 3DS is still a great handheld console in 2017 and I’m having a great time playing it.

While the handheld market for Nintendo has always been a tad confusing with its constant iterations and revisions, its also been very fruitful. The Gameboy and Gameboy Advance, the DS line, and now the 3DS line have all ended up carrying some pretty stellar catalogs along with them. The 3DS has now been around since 2011 with continuous iterations in the form of the 3DS, the 3DS XL, the 2DS, the “new” 3DS, the “new” 3DS XL, and the upcoming “new” 2DS XL. It’s extremely confusing, yet typical for Nintendo with their handhelds. Remember the Gameboy Advance, Gameboy SP, Gameboy Mini, DS Lite, DSi, and DSi XL? Yeah. Despite this confusion, the 3DS has become immensely successful, with over 67 million units sold worldwide. That is a huge amount of people playing this system., and there’s plenty of games to keep them all busy.

The 3DS has seen the following games, all of which have been met with almost unanimous critical praise: Super Mario 3D Land, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Fire Emblem: Awakening, Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright & Conquest, A Link Between Worlds, Ocarina of Time 3D, Majora’s Mask 3D, Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, Pokemon Sun / Moon, Pokemon X / Y, Pokemon Omega Sapphire / Alpha Ruby, Poochy and Yoshi’s Woolly World, Super Smash Brothers, Mario Kart 7, and Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D. And that’s just Nintendo-owned properties available now. There’s also multiple games in the Monster Hunter franchise, Shin Megami Tensei, Bravely Default, a new Metroid game in September, and countless other RPGs, platformers, and adventure games to take with you on the go.

With the Nintendo Switch’s launch, it’s been immediately clear that the 3DS is on its way off into the sunset. However, I believe that it still has value even in a post-Switch world. While I have taken my Switch with me on occasion, the 3DS is still a simpler travel companion, with less weight, a longer battery life, and a massive catalog of games to play. On a recent flight to Florida, roughly 4.5 hours, I was able to play through the entire flight without running out of battery. While I love my Switch, it wouldn’t have been up for the task. And while I have played countless hours of Breath of the Wild and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on my Switch, I’m still waiting for more games to come down the pipeline due to Nintendo’s slow burn of major releases this year. Whenever I finish one of my 3DS games, I just move on to the next one in my very long list of games to go back and play. I have historically been one to play a game and then look to the future to what is coming out next, but I’m finding it immensely satisfying to be able to look back through an immense catalog and just pick whichever game I want next. And with most 3DS games being relatively cheap to acquire at this point, minus a few outliers, it’s been an easy way to stay busy with great games.

If you’re interested in an easy way to game on the go and don’t plan to jump on the Nintendo Switch just yet, I still feel that the 3DS is an excellent way to go. And with the New 2DS XL coming out this week for only $149.99, it has never been easier to start working through the 3DS catalog. Granted, the 3DS line won’t be seeing many new major games after this fall’s Metroid: Samus Returns, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t enough to stay busy with. I know I’ll be busy with mine for a while yet to come.


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