The 3DS has reached its fifth Anniversary for its release in the West, and in the first of multiple feature articles focused on the portable Dave Letcavage and Jose Acosta share their thoughts and memories related to the portable.
I haven't been in the best heath for the last few years. There are days where I feel completely fine and function somewhat normally, and other days I can't keep my head up for more than an hour or so. Knowing that, I'm sure you can understand why I've grown so fond of my Nintendo 3DS. It's been my go-to entertainment device when I'm stuck in bed and want to engage with video games.
But this appreciation isn't just about convenience. The 3DS has one of the finest software lineups in Nintendo's history, period. Games like Super Mario 3D Land, Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Kid Icarus: Uprising and Animal Crossing: New Leaf are just a few of the handheld's definitive experiences, with oodles of wonderful B-tier games filling in the gaps. Then there's the eShop, which is home to a long list of indie gems.
In a way, many of the 3DS retail games remind me of evolved N64 experiences in terms of visuals and the single joystick control schemes, while many of the critically-acclaimed indies retain the essence of side-scrollers from the SNES era. Considering SNES and N64 are two of my favorite consoles of all time, it makes complete sense that I find the 3DS to be so special. Plus, I'm a huge fan of the stereoscopic 3D effect, which adds an extra layer of immersion that brings these virtual realms to life in new ways.
With sales on the decline and rumors of the NX having a mobile component, it appears the 3DS is slowly exiting the spotlight. I'm actually fine with that. When I glance over at my bookshelf, which contains over 50 3DS games, I feel immensely satisfied with the value and entertainment this little piece of hardware has afforded me. I'm confident I'll be referring to it as "one of the greatest consoles of all time" for years to come, and it's hard to expect more than that.
A quick background story, I missed on the Nintendo DS; I really don't know why but for some strange reason I never bought one. Determined not to miss on a second generation of Nintendo portables I set out on a mission to get me a Nintendo 3DS, but not just any 3DS… I wanted something special!
As anyone can remember, Nintendo announced it was going to release a very special unit in April of 2013, the Nintendo 3DS XL - Yellow Pikachu Edition; the moment I saw the announcement I knew I had to get it. I was super excited, finally a special edition 3DS that I liked and could afford.
I checked every store in the area to see who was carrying the limited edition unit, and who would have thought, a couple of stores had received orders.
If I recall correctly that particular 3DS XL was set to be released on a Monday, luckily for me I didn't have any errands to do that Monday morning. With the money in hand and the determination of becoming a member of the 3DS family I got behind the wheel and drove to the store closest to my place.
I get out of the car and run towards the electronics section where they usually display the consoles and portables. There were no Pikachu 3DS XLs available. Baffled I approached the clerk behind the counter and asked him if they had any 3DS in the warehouse, in the case they forgot to put them in the display, he quickly dismisses me as he says "we sold them yesterday". I retorted "...but they were supposed to come out today... how come you sold them already?", he simply shrugged and turned around.
I left the store defeated, "Looks like you won't be getting a 3DS today" I told myself as I got on my car to drive to Miami to get some errands done. I returned home late that day, still bitter because I missed on buying that lovely yellow 3DS. In a last resort move I decided to call the other store that was not too far from home to try my luck. The representative at the store informs me that apparently they are still carrying a couple of units, with the caveat that they may be gone because they don't update their inventory until the next morning.
I got in my car and drove as fast as I could. I remember it was a stormy night, just like any other "summer" night here in S. Florida. I get to the electronics section and ask the guy who was doing the night shift, he said "Are we carrying those? I don't think we got any shipments of that item in the store. Sorry the guy who usually handles these situations isn't around, if you can come around later maybe we could search the system". It was almost midnight and I had to be at the airport the following morning to meet up with my parents for vacation, I couldn't afford to come back later!
Defeated twice in the same day… what a nightmare! As I headed out of the store I thought to myself that I should ask the people in customer service to see if they can check the inventory of the store, then thought "customer service during the graveyard shift… really?!" Nevertheless, I decided to invest five extra minutes in a last ditch effort, in line waiting for my turn...
"I was wondering if you could search if you have this SKU in any other store around here" I said. "Well it says we have four in this store. Did they say they didn't have any? Let me call the store manager to see if he can help you", she replied.
Joined by the store manager we headed back to the electronics section. The manager checks the inventory to find that there are indeed four units in the warehouse, but for some reason whoever was in charge didn't put them in display. He calls the chief of the electronics section and asks him about the 3DS XL, to which he replies, "Yeah it's true we have four of those here... but we can't sell them", surprised I asked why that was, and he replied "you might be one of them resellers". He paused for a second, glanced at the manager and continued, "Well if you are buying it for you... I may look up one in the back for you, so do you want it?". I responded, "Of course I want one... why would I drag my ass in the middle of the storm to just ask?!".
The clerk goes to the warehouse and returns five minutes later with the yellow coloured box with the Pikachu print on it and tells me "OK, here it is". Before paying I asked him about the store policy that you will give me the price of the competition, since the store a few blocks down is selling the unit for a reduced price...
He scoffed at me: "That is an online-only offer", I refuted that the other store told me that it was for that price IN-store.
"Well if you can bring me a store catalogue that says so then I can adjust you the price", he said. I headed out in the middle of the storm to the first store, picked up the weekly catalogue and turned back as fast as I could. Running towards the electronics section I exclaimed "Here it is! Check the listings, it does NOT say it is a online exclusive item, so I guess you will have to match the price". He checks the catalogue and says - "That is a great offer, eh? Sorry, for treating you like I treated you before. But you know with these resellers nowadays, I mean have you checked eBay? This 3DS is listed already and people are paying up to $300 for it!".
It may not be the most touching or memorable memory, but this story of how I struggled to get my Pikachu 3DS XL is my favorite to tell. Without it I would have missed on so many amazing games, from the intergalactic adventure of Kid Icarus: Uprising to the paper dioramas of Paper Mario: Sticker Star and the hundred more memories that are encased in this little yellow clamshell. Happy fifth anniversary Nintendo 3DS, for five more years of great games and memories!