The Nintendo 3DS Review

4 min readJul 31, 2020

The 3DS is a handheld console made by Nintendo, part of the 3DS family and all those related systems. There were two versions of the 3DS, the regular models released in 2011 and the “new” models released later in the decade. 3DS systems can be classified as two different sides models. LL and XL. LL is the smaller one and XL is the larger one.

The first version of the 3DS was released in 2011, which I have mentioned above, and the XL model was released a bit later I believe. Now, the 3DS is called the 3DS for a reason right? That is because it has a 3D mode inbuilt. You can turn it on and off with a small switch located at the sides of your 3DS. A lot of people didn’t like the 3D effect on the earlier model because it just wasn’t that good. But then they released the “new” 3DS models with better 3D effects and compared to the first models, the 3D has improved a lot. In my experience, the 3DS I have and was the first ever one I ever had was the “new” 3DS XL and I loved it a lot. My friend and I would always play Pokémon Sun and Moon and we would trade. We were both avid users of the GTS, but we’ll cover gaming experience in another paragraph.

I will mention a couple things about the 3DS Ambassador Program because I’m not going to go into detail about this. If you joined, you’d receive different games and it was mainly around 2011.

There were a lot of noticeable differences to be seen on the “new” models. For instance:

  • The body was shaped differently with more rounded corners
  • The headphone jack moved to the bottom
  • The volume slider moved to the top left side, I believe
  • The cartridge hole moved to the bottom left corner
  • The stylus moved to the bottom right
  • The “Home” button was below the touch screen and the “Start” and “Select” buttons were moved to the bottom right side
  • ZR and ZL triggers included

Don’t forget, the BETTER 3D.

I guess we can talk about the controls now. The A, B, X and Y Buttons, Start, Home and Select Buttons, the Joystick and a D-Pad. Not to mention in the “new” models have a C-Stick, which lets you hover all the apps and programs on the Home Screen. Now what seems unnecessary to me was the fact the 3DS has a Joystick and a D-Pad. I understand the Joystick would’ve provided better controlling and movement of a character during gameplay, but why a D-Pad too? The original DS models only used the D-Pad for moving in different directions. Tenkai Knights Brave Battle for the 3DS does require the D-Pad for the menu and the selection screens and then uses the Joystick for the battles. I do believe that some games for the 3DS use the D-Pad too. So maybe it is a good reason to keep the D-Pad.

I like the 3DS and what I like is that you can just bring it around with you everywhere, regardless of where you play. I’m a fan of the smaller model because it looks nicer, feels good to hold, nice plates and design but I like the XL model too because it performs very well. If you’re someone who does enjoy retro games, I have a bit of good news for you.

Did any of you notice how in the original DS models, they had a special cartridge hole to insert GBA games into so you could play them on your DS. It applies for the 3DS quite a bit. You can insert DS cartridges into the cartridge hole to play those on the 3DS. The e-Shop offered more Virtual Console games from different platforms for users to purchase. I think there were news reports about the e-Shop closing up but I don’t know a whole lot about that.

I feel like it’s time to talk about the gaming experience. It feels quite nice to hold and has good screens too. I have very few games for the 3DS but I still love them a lot and they’re good games too. The titles I have are Mario Kart 7, Pokémon Sun, Tenkai Knights Brave Battle and Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn. Recently, I found the GTS on Pokemon Sun wasn’t working and I presume it might have shut down (someone comment down if this is true).

When playing retro games on the 3DS, the screen size is altered and I don’t have a problem with that, but it would be nice if the games were made to fit the screen too. Playing with 3D and without 3D is great and the graphics always stand out and are very unique. Unfortunately, some games don’t work with the 3D, such as Pokémon Sun. I did complete Mario Kart 7, but there’s not really anything to do after that than to play on the Coin Runners or Balloon Battle mode.

So if you want to buy a 3DS today, here’s what I have to say. It’s not really that necessary to buy one as you can just buy an Xbox One S, Xbox One X or a PS4. Not to mention that the Xbox Series X and the PS5 are coming later. News Reports stated that the 3DS was dead, but Nintendo had announced that they’d still support the 3DS despite the fact that it was dead. Nintendo also stated that they believed it was a “great entry port for young gamers”. It would make sense for young gamers to start there as there are a variety of appropriate games in that library. But if you really want to, by all means go ahead.

That’s all I have time for today. If you didn’t read my last article, check it out at my profile TheRetroPhilosopher. I will see you all soon.




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