In 2017, Nintendo’s console trajectory finally came to its logical conclusion. After years of flirting with the idea, going as far back as the Super Game Boy on the SNES, the gaming monolith finally merged their home console and handheld enterprises into one cohesive unit. The Nintendo Switch is the culmination of year after year of persistent attempts at synthesizing mobile and console experiences, and it paid off – the system’s sold over 65 million units as of September.
But in their rush to get the Switch into as many hands as possible, Nintendo put one of their best creations to date out to pasture – the 3DS. The system, which debuted in 2011, had been out for several years at that point, but seeing its ecosystem fade in the rear view felt like the end of something truly special.
Now though, as Black Friday looms like a dark cloud over our COVID-addled consciousness, this month is the perfect time to pick up a 3DS. The system’s final (and arguably definitive) form, the Nintendo 2DS XL, will likely be discounted deeper than ever before. If you haven’t thought of picking one up, or you’ve been on the fence for a while, I’d recommend you jump on it sooner rather than later.
I say this because the 3DS is entering that precarious phase that OOP (Out Of Production) consoles all head eventually. The halcyon days of the system’s sunset phase, where titles were cheap across the board and readily available, are coming to an end. Now, some of the best games are going for higher and higher numbers with each passing month.
This rings especially true for JRPGs – the 3DS’s biggest strength, in my opinion. Atlus put out a series of certifiable bangers for the console, many of which now carry a pretty hefty price tag. Those prices are only going to go up, especially with more and more interest in the Shin Megami Tensei games released on the platform thanks to the upcoming fifth mainline entry and Nocturne HD. Not to be overlooked, the Persona Q are some of that franchise’s highest points, and perfect for fans of 3-5. If you want to check those out, it’s probably best to do so ASAP – along with other killer JRPGs on the system, like the enthralling Legend of Legacy and the cult classic Etrian Odyssey series.
Not to be left out are Nintendo’s fantastic first-party offerings. From Kirby: Planet Robobot to Professor Layton Vs. Phoenix Wright to Fire Emblem Echoes, there’s a laundry list of great efforts from the Big N exclusive to the console. Most of these will likely never see release outside of this system, so if you were ignoring Nintendo during the Wii U era, you really owe it to yourself to check these games out.
Also, if you’re a Pokemon fan, playing any of the games released on the 3DS is a great idea – especially if you want to snag some old ‘mons and bring them up to the modern games. Plus, Super Pokemon Mystery Dungeon is one of my favorite things to come out of the series, and a really great return to form that informed this year’s fantastic Mystery Dungeon DX.
But aside from great JRPGs and stellar first-party release, the 3DS is also just home to a whole spate of quirky, unique titles that made the most of the system. Metal Gear Solid 3D: Snake Eater was one of the best versions of Kojima’s classic to date, Rhythm Thief showed that Sega still had some of that Dreamcast-era quirkiness in them, and Code of Princess offered all the punchy satisfaction of retro brawlers with compelling RPG wrapping and a gorgeous art direction.
I could go on, really, because I’ve barely scratched the surface of what makes the 3DS such a special console. From top to bottom, it really is a great system, and one that’s home to so many cool quirks (like the myriad unique themes and the addictive SpotPass functionality) that haven’t been touched since. To me, it’s one of Nintendo’s most ambitious systems, and even if it had a rough start, it eventually grew into being one of their crowning achievements.
So this Black Friday, when you’re cozied up at your keyboard and looking for deals (because you’re hopefully not enough of a dumbass to go shopping during a pandemic,) I’d recommend getting your hands on one of the excellent bundles usually offered up by Target and Best Buy. You’ll be getting a great system supported by nine years of fantastic games (16, if you include DS backwards compatibility,) and perfected through several iterative redesigns.
Plus, according to our very own Cian Maher, it’s got the best Zelda on it. So there’s that.
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