With the news that the Nintendo 3DS has finally ended production, I wanted to take a look back on the console and the fond memories that it provided. The Nintendo 3DS is probably one of my favorite systems. Growing up with two brothers and only one home console that we had to share, I always enjoyed handheld gaming since it was mine and I didn’t have to share it. What made the 3DS special for me was that it was the first console that I purchased with my own money.
I got my 3DS on June 28, 2013, with my very first paycheck from my first “real” job. I immediately went to the store and purchased a blue Nintendo 3DS XL, Fire Emblem Awakening, and Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate. I remember feeling excited about the purchase since my older brother already had a 3DS and he would show it off to me when I was home from college. Booting up the console for the first time was like magic. Watching the screen switch from 2D to 3D was really cool and hearing the start up jingle made me tingle. I liked the layout of the 3DS menu and the ability to customize it to your preference. A big step up from the DSi that I had.
The first thing that I did with my 3DS, was watch a preloaded video of Dinosaur Office. Does anyone remember those videos? They were produced by College Humor and I found them entertaining. Don’t know why that was the first thing to grab my attention, but I’m not complaining.
The first game that I played was Fire Emblem Awakening. I hadn’t played a Fire Emblem since Radiant Dawn on the Wii, so I was looking forward to playing another one in the series. I remember loving this game for introducing some new mechanics and being difficult at some points. The marriage support system made me pay more attention to raising support levels with characters, and I liked that the children from the future could be recruited to your army. The world map from Sacred Stone returned, and it allowed me to do a bit more farming and get a better understanding of the continents of Ylisse and Valm. The only challenge that I have not done to this day is beat Priam. For being a descendant of the Radiant Hero, his army does not pull any punches. Maybe after this, I will boot the game up and give it another try.
To this day, I believe that Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate is one of the best looking games on the 3DS. When you move all of the HUB items to the bottom screen, the top screen makes the environment pop out and you can concentrate on the action happening on the screen. The 3D worked well, and it provided hours of entertainment.
With my next paycheck came two more games, Animal Crossing: New Leaf and Shin Megami Tensei IV. Animal Crossing is Animal Crossing. It was a major improvement over City Folk, and I liked the idea of being the mayor of your town. This made it feel like you were in control of the town to the point everyone’s town was completely unique. The Dream Suite and Happy Home Academy were nice touches to visit other people’s towns and houses to see all of the creativity out there.
And then Shin Megami Tensei IV. I recently finished IV for the first time, seven years after I originally got it. I was being stubborn and I wanted to beat the game without using any guides or maps. There were two problems with that. This first, I am terrible when it comes to geography. I get lost easily and I have no idea how to navigate Tokyo even with the game using the real Tokyo map. The second issue, I managed to get the Neutral ending. This ending requires you to find hidden quests around the map and complete certain ones to advance the story. This, combined with my lack of directions, made finishing the game longer than it needed to be. I gave in this year and used a guide to help me finish the side quest and finish the game. The later bosses and final boss were not difficult since I had grinded my way to high levels from wandering Tokyo for years.
Over the years, my collection started to grow, and I came to appreciate the 3DS even more. Some highlights include Pokemon X, Bravely Default, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, Super Smash Bros for Nintendo 3DS (weird title, but I like the play on words), and the plethora of games that I got on the e-shop. Special honor goes to Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate. What I may consider my favorite game of all time, 4U was the game I needed at the time, and it led to one of my favorite gaming memories. I will have to share it one day here on the blog.
Let’s not forget the biggest star of the 3DS, Streetpass. Getting a Streetpass was such a thrill. Seeing the people that you passed and sharing information was cool. The best times were when you were traveling and you got to fill up each state on your map. Even cooler was when you passed someone from a different county and you could brag to your friends that you passed someone from Japan. What made passing people worth it though were the rewards and games associated with the feature. The two obvious games were Find Mii and Puzzle Swap.
Find Mii was an RPG that used Miis from the people you passed to fight their way to rescue your Mii. In order to get to the end and get new rewards were to pass people, so it was an incentive to have your 3DS on you at all times. My favorite however, was Puzzle Swap. For each person you passed, you could select a puzzle piece to add to your collection in order to finish each panel. It was all dependent on passing someone who did not already have a piece that you had, so it was worth it to find new people and travel to places with a higher population. The panels themselves were fun to complete since you could view them afterwards and interact with them to a limit. During the time, new panels were released when major titles hit, so there was always a reason to come back and pass more people.
Tragedy did strike however. About a year after having my original 3DS, I tore the circle pad off (too much intense Smash and Monster Hunter). Even though it was still playable, other issues started to occur. At one point, the touch screen and buttons stopped working. I sent it off to Nintendo to fix and life was good again, but this was around the time the New Nintendo 3DS was released and one of them grabbed my attention. With the release of Monster Hunter Generations, a Monster Hunter themed New 3DS was launching along with it. It was hard for me to say no. I decided to finally give my old friend a well deserved rest, and it promised to stick around if needed again.
Things were good again, until the release of the Nintendo Switch. Nintendo promised that the Switch was not a replacement for the 3DS (eye rolls please!). I was sure that I would still be playing my 3DS for the years to come. But, something started to happen. I noticed my friends stopped carrying their 3DS around, and most people that I would see online silently disappeared. There were still good games coming to the system, but it was clear that most people were ready to move on from the handheld. For a good while, I stopped playing my DS and had no urge to play it. The device that was always with me wherever I went, was suddenly collecting dust on my bed stand.
More recently, I still pick up my 3DS from time to time. I still have to finish Pokemon Shuffle since it is a fun puzzle game and addictive at some times. I’m apparently still collecting games for the system, so I will need to play them at some point. There are a lot of games that I was excited to get for the system that I still have yet to touch. An example would be Bravely Second; the game I was going to play immediately after finishing Default but got burned out after the last playthrough. The 3DS is/was a great handheld device that I liked more than the original DS. I kinda wish its life cycle ended with a bit more fanfare and not just like a notice that you get in the mail.
So those are my reflections on my time with my 3DS. Do you have any favorite memories with the console that were either good or bad? Leave a comment or, if you are inclined, write your own post about your time with the 3DS. I would love to read it and I like looking at other people’s perspectives.
Thank you for reading,