It’s taken me more than three years and a handful of months to finally come to terms with my previous views of your glorious handheld, the Nintendo 3DS (not to be mistaken with a Game Boy). Now, let me give you a little backstory here as my claim might have left you a bit perplexed.
I have owned Nintendo handhelds my whole life; from the giant, gray brick that was the original Game Boy to the first flip screen known as the Game Boy Advance SP. I’ve even been thinking about picking up a cheap Game Boy Micro as of late just because I can. But when the 3DS was first announced and the DS was being ushered out of the spotlight, I had my doubts. Foolish as I was, and naïve to boot, I had the nerve to become a skeptic of the company that started all of my gaming hopes and desires.
Upon seeing some of the 3DS’s initial releases such as Super Street Fighter IV 3D, Super Monkey Ball 3D and Rayman 3D (man, were you shoving that 3D down people’s throats!), I almost gave up on the handheld. But I think that was my biggest problem: the colossal importance that you put on 3D. Remember AR cards? They were supposed to be a much bigger deal than what they are now, and every game had 3D in the title like you were on to some gaming revolution; didn’t you learn from the Virtual Boy? Apparently you did – that’s why I’m writing this – it just took you a little while to take the hint.
Not only did the 3D effect come off as cheap and tacky to me, but I had no faith that the library of games you boast now would have ever been a possibility. Not in my wildest dreams did I imagine a world where 3D Pokemon models would come to life, Smash Bros. would make its first portable release and the Monster Hunter franchise would come to call the 3DS its home. To be fair, the 3D effect is still cheap and gimmicky, in my opinion, but that’s not what I’m here to say!
I’m here to say that I was wrong. The Nintendo 3DS, while not only showcasing a hugely successful library of games, also manages to steal hours of fans’ time away with every genre including RPG, rhythm, fighting, party, strategy, racing and everything in between. You have also managed to finally step one toe into modern gaming with the eShop and the ability to update, patch and expand games in all directions. The 3DS has even managed to get its hands on some of the coolest indie games the world has seen. *cough* cough* Shovel Knight *cough*. To top it off, the 3DS single-handedly propelled a gigantic portion of Nintendo’s sales during a time when the Wii U was helplessly flailing in a sea of next generation consoles.
The numbers don’t lie either, as the 3DS’s first year sales surpassed that of the ever popular Nintendo DS. You sold 11.4 million units of the 3DS in the first year and even had more preorders for the handheld than the Wii, a system that was infamous for being sold out not one, but two holiday seasons in a row. Compare this to the PS Vita, which only reached its 10 million units sold mark in Summer 2014, and had a December 2011 Japanese release date.
Upon further comparison to the PS Vita, the 3DS has set the bar in every way with the exception of graphics, which it has more than made up for with consistent top-notch titles that give off that good ol’ Nintendo vibe that we’ve been grooving on for almost 30 years.
Now, this is the part of my letter where I must come clean. Even though I did own a Nintendo DSi and stayed by your side as a (mostly) faithful fan, I’m not without faults. At that time, I also owned a Sony PSP and must say it was one hell of a good system. I know, I know. Shame on me; but when you’re faced with the likes of Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep (a far superior game to Dream Drop Distance) and the ability to hunt giant monsters with up to three friends, it’s hard to pass that up. Need I even mention Final Fantasy Dissidia?!
But again, you answered back in kind and have won over my heart yet again. Ocarina of Time, LoZ: A Link Between Worlds, Pokemon X and Y, Monster Hunter 4, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call, Fire Emblem Awakening and Mario and Luigi: Dream Team are just some of the gems in your treasure trove of a collection that is guaranteed to catch the eye of just about any gamer.
Although I complain from time to time that you need to change your ways and step outside of the comfort zone you’ve created for yourself, I’m not sure I would like it too much if you changed completely. It wouldn’t be Nintendo without an overweight plumber eating mushrooms game after game, and I’m glad you stuck to your guns, for the most part, when it came to the 3DS.
Nintendo, you hold a special place in the hearts of countless gamers around the world, and I’m no exception. I’m sorry for ever doubting the 3DS, even if the 3D part never made its way to becoming useful. From now on, I’ll try to do my best to keep the faith. I might even be able to forgive you for the 2DS after the New Nintendo 3DS release in the States!
But seriously, after Mario Kart 8, Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U and the next Zelda, what could you possibly have up your sleeve?
Austin (patiently waiting for Splatoon) Flynn