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Electronics Jun 27, 2019

Is the Nintendo 3DS Worth it in 2019?

Nintendo has been around since the gaming’s inception, and have proven time and time again that they’re at the top of their game. In particular, the handheld division has been crushing it.

You might remember the Gameboy. This device revolutionized mobile gaming in an early 1989. Nintendo continued their dominance with the release of the Nintendo DS in 2004, which went on to be the best-selling handheld console ever released.

It would be 7 years before a new refresh came to shake things up, and Nintendo released the 3DS in 2011. Though, this time, they weren’t greeted with widespread praise. Instead, there was a bit of scepticism, mixed with a lukewarm reception thanks to the lack of launch support.

Though, its been 8 years, and the 3DS is now regarded as a modern classic. The initial lack of games has been remedied, and most of the early complaints regarding performance and fidelity were fixed with software updates.

With the Switch’s release and recent dominance, Nintendo has finally announced the end of continued support for the 3DS.

Original Aqua Blue Nintendo 3DS

So, is it still worth buying a Nintendo 3DS in 2019?


A console relies on a healthy game library, and the 3DS has a huge one. While the end of continued support means you’ll no longer get major new releases, that doesn’t change the fact that you can still play the thousands of games released for the console.

The humungous collection of games includes many genres, and there’s almost certainly something for everyone. The obvious Pokémon games are system sellers, with Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon being the best iterations on the tried-and-true JRPG formula. Zelda games are also available, with A Link to The Past and Majora’s Mask being faithfully remade. Action fans will enjoy the graphical powerhouse that is Resident Evil: Revelations, and visual novels like the Ace Attorney series scratch the itch for a good story.

Zelda Games

If you’ve somehow finished the entire 3DS game library, you’ll also have the whole DS library at your disposal. The cartridge slot supports DS games, and they run natively on the 3DS hardware. This easily doubles the amount of games you have, and there’s a ton of classics worth looking into.


Let’s be honest here, the 3D is a gimmick, and isn’t too well implemented. Unless you’ve purchased a New 3DS with the upgraded hardware, the 3D effect relies too heavily on your head’s position, and even slight movements break the illusion.

I, and many 3DS owners, prefer to play with the effect off. Thankfully, most games are perfectly playable without the 3D effect, so you can dial it in whenever you like.

Mobile Phones

Now, there’s the big elephant in the room. Back in the NDS era, flip-phones were the norm, and smartphones were a long-off dream. Mobile gaming was monopolized by the NDS and PSP simply because there weren’t any alternatives.

With the 3DS era, iPhones and Android phones exist, and are undoubtedly superior in many ways. In fact, even a low-end smartphone has better technical specifications over the 3DS. Even the screens are superior, as the 3DS relies on a comparatively ancient 240p screen.

Mobile phone games is the new big thing, and even Nintendo is getting their hands dirty due to the mobile gaming explosion in Japan. The latest Nintendo Switch also feels more like a fully-fledged gaming console than a portable. Hence, here comes the question.


Gaming on a mobile phone

So why would you go with a 3DS?

Well, I think its worth it, and here’s why:

1.     Huge Game Library

As we’ve said, there’s something for everyone. Merging the 3DS and NDS libraries gives you thousands of games to choose from. This is the biggest selling point of the 3DS.

And let’s be honest, the gaming experiences on the 3DS are more involved than the smartphone games designed for short bursts. If you’re someone who commutes on long bus or train rides, then the 3DS will have you covered.

2.     Comfort

If you’ve tried playing games such as PUBG, Fortnite, or even Gameboy emulations, you’ll know that cramped controls with minimal feedback aren’t the most comfortable for extended gaming sessions.

Even on the tiny standard 3DS, having tactile controls makes a huge difference. Personally, I love the XL and 2DS for their perfect size, preventing hand cramps. If you like gaming on the go, the 3DS is arguably the best choice.

3.     The Used Market

After 7 full years, there’s a ton of 3DS variants on the used market. These often cost less than half the MSRP, and is an excellent way of getting into the 3DS ecosystem. These used units even come with free games, giving you more bang for your buck.

4.     Homebrew

Hacking a 3DS is legally dubious, especially if you’re using it to play illegal copies of games. However, being able to play Gameboy, SNES, and even NES games on a 3DS is great. Emulation unlocks a ton of possibilities, and is definitely something worth considering.



If you’re interested, check out the 3DS and its 85% metascore here.
While early reviews have been critical about the small launch lineup, more recent reviews have highlighted the timeless nature of Nintendo handhelds, and how the 3DS perfectly captures that magic.If you’re a gamer, you should get a 3DS. Despite it’s rocky start, it’s a versatile system that’s proven its capabilities. I’d even go as far as to say that this is the definitive way to play on the go.




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