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Why the 3DS is Still a Contender in the Era of the Switch

Updated on February 5, 2018
JynBranton profile image

Since her first Nintendo, Jennifer Branton has been an avid gamer who fairs best in Survival Horror and RPG's.

Classics On The Go

Nintendo is no stranger to handhelds, so it was no wonder that The Switch would find an easy audience with its portability. Nintendo has two types of fans that it caters to in its current generation: the younger fans that are just discovering characters like Mario in their newest sequels for The Switch between the systems more family focused line up similar to the Wii and Wii U that just weren't as memorable; and the adult fans of the classic games of our childhood that we still come back to every new installment of a Zelda or a Metroid as an old comfort.

The Switch, while still in its infancy hasn't had time to expand on its back catalog as of yet, but quickly made record sales in the releases of Super Mario Odyssey and Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild as a call back to the adult audience that still loves Nintendo for this reason.

While Nintendo had put its name on many classic consoles and notable handhelds over the years, arguably the best of those systems is still the 3DS that continues into production in 2018 for its Virtual Console element alone, as sadly to say- after the run of games like New Super Mario Bros and New Super Mario Bros 2, very few new games were in production for the older handheld. What kept the handheld alive was the adults looking to replace the games they missed from their youth and when finding an a functioning Game Boy Color was becoming harder and harder to find at a GameStop, Nintendo made a genius move releasing much of its back catalog to the 3DS and 2DS through the Nintendo E Shop.

Where Nintendo was losing the market to adult games that were on the PlayStation, XBox, and PC, it found profitability in continuing to release its back catalog to old school gamers on its 3DS and 2DS handhelds making nostalgia cool again.

Nostalgia and Profitability

The best thing about Nintendo was their marketing for the classic games of my youth that made me remember the feelings I first had laying on the living room floor before the TV still that notion of detachable controllers was generations to come- just spending the afternoon immersed in Castlevania or Duck Tales. When a teaser came that I could get those games back from the long departed systems that I never really remember giving away or trashing but somehow didn't own anymore when PlayStation and Sega Genesis were now taking residence on the TV- I wanted those Nintendo games back and as a kid I had no way to ever play them again or so I thought.

Other systems later went to backwards compatibility but I feel Nintendo was really the first to allow for what they termed their Virtual Console downloads in their E Shop. PlayStation now does something similar in their PlayStation now where with account, older games can be streamed and played online but now allowed as a permanent download and especially not on their short lived handheld of their own the PlayStation Vita, that never had much a a dog in the console wars with virtually no games ever released for the system. The only thing that Vita going for it was an early idea that like The Switch, the game could be synced from a save point somehow and the game could continue on the handheld, though, like the everyone else; I didn't own a Vita so I can't tell you first hand about how well that dynamic worked for the system.

The 3DS Virtual Console however was a brilliant idea and the gifts keep giving even after years of adding downloads to my battered old 3DS XL that I may actually replace with a 2DS just to move my Virtual Console library. Since most of the games on my 3DS with the exclusion of Yoshi's New Island, New Super Mario Bros,Super Mario 3D Land, and New Super Mario Bros 2 are all either old DS games that work on the system or Virtual Console downloads, none utilize the 3D capabilities anyway.

Being able to take a lunch break and pound out a little Super Mario Bros 3 playing long way with no warps is a great holdover until I can get home and take on something new to my PlayStation.

Classic Nintendo games make me remember why I became and gamer and it is those memories that helped prepare me for the later madness that adult gaming has brought into my life.

Some Of The Best Virtual Console Games On The 3DS

Super Mario Bros
Mega Man Dr Willy's Revenge
Pokemon Blue/Red
Donkey Kong
Double Dragon
The Legend of Zelda
Kirby's Dream Land
Dr Mario
Yoshi's Island

Publishers Get Into The Game

In the early days of the console wars, only those old enough to remember the video arcades might know that by the time home consoles became a thing, everyone from Atrari, Nintendo, Sega, even Mattel had a video game console of sorts. While only the big systems went on to notoriety, many companies that started as arcade cabinets or tried their hand at a full fledged system fell back into providing the software for Nintendo.

Gaming studios were just beginning to be a thing and as 8 bit moved to 16 bit, and before we knew it full cinematic quality that we know now on the PlayStation 4 and XBox One, Nintendo still stayed to its strength in its rather cartoony animation and family friendly line up with a few imported titles for the the adults.

Bandi, Capcom, Hudson Soft, Konami, Ubisoft, among others supplied the titles and Nintendo continued to pump out the product, even to this day on its Virtual Console.

After the fold of Sega in the console making business, the company went back to its software roots and allowed some of its titles to be ported over for later use by Nintendo in its E Store.

Downloading The Goodies

Currently the Virtual Console for the 3DS has a catalog of nearly two hundred games stemming back to the its earlier consoles and handhelds.

Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, Super Nintendo, Nintendo, Sega Game Gear, all have games in the Nintendo E Shop, while backwards compatibility allow for cartridges from the DS to still play on 3DS and 2DS systems.

Highlighted games for download include the following from my favorites list: Super Mario Land, Donkey Kong, Kirby's Dream Land, Qix, Avenging Spirit, Pac-Man, Super Mario Land 2, Double Dragon, Metroid 2, Kid Icarus, Wario Land, Dr Mario, Mega Man 1-5, Pokemon Red/Blue. The Legend of Zelda 1-2, Rayman, Wario Land 2, The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages, Mega Man Extreme, Harvest Moon, Pokemon Gold, Mario VS Donkey Kong, Punch Out, Ghost n Goblin's, Dig Dug, Bubble Bobble, Castelvania, Super Mario Bros 2, Tecmo Bowl, Galaga, Castlevania 3, Street Fighter, Super Mario World, Mario Kart, The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past, Donkey Kong 3, Mega Man X2, Castelvania Dracula X, Sonic The Hedgehog, Tails Adventure, and plenty more as new games keep getting released to Virtual Console.

While there is always hopes that The Switch will also have this option to play classic games on its system, I will keep adding them to my 3DS just as a standby to not lose the games that I love maybe more than the current slash em up adventures I part take in after a long day at work and need some first person shooting co-op to take on a street full of monsters.


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