As another Valentine's Day draws to a close, with sales of cards, flowers and chocolates having hit a peak, we thought it was worth acknowledging one of many Nintendo Anniversaries for this year. It's a young one, not the multiple decades that will be the focus of other franchise landmarks, but it's notable nonetheless.
Just over a year ago, at the time of writing, the New Nintendo 3DS launched in the West. The 13th February release date tied it in to the Valentine's Day vibe, and Nintendo's marketing focused on the updated features that it offers. It had actually arrived in Japan and then Australia in late 2014, with European fans also having a limited early opportunity to order 'Ambassador' versions of the smaller models. For most in North America and Europe - the former only with the XL models - the real release was on 13th February.
In fairness to Nintendo it was a solid launch, aside from the XL-only decision in North America. The hardware arrived in multiple colours and at sensible prices, while the accompanying launches of The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D and Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate brought some high profile software. Both of those titles, admittedly, work just fine on the original models, but the C-Stick and improved framerates on the New hardware make them well suited to the latest systems.
Of course, we've written a little about the New 3DS recently - late last year we talked about it as an almost forgotten hardware release of 2015, while recently we bemoaned the declining momentum of 3DS sales with the argument that Nintendo hasn't given the New 3DS a fair chance to make an impact to lengthen the portable family's generation - not yet, anyway.
Yet as it's a year old we want to do two things - highlight why it's a lovely and important bit of Nintendo hardware, and get your views on it.
On the first part we'll revisit some points previously made when the system launched - the New 3DS is arguably Nintendo's most feature rich and important piece of hardware design. In terms of sheer graphical power it's still rather limited - though we look forward to Unity games on the eShop - but it's beyond that where the handheld's importance can be found. It has all of the features of the Wii U GamePad, and more besides, making it an embodiment of Nintendo's moves (a few years ago) to unify its portable and home console divisions.
It may be taken for granted or be underutilised in many games, but by incorporating the original hardware's capabilities with new features the latest portable is full of tricks. It has motion controls, stable 3D viewing, NFC scanning for amiibo, dual analogue control (well, sort of) and a full complement of face and shoulder buttons. Include the touch screen in that and the only feature it lacks (compared to the GamePad) is rumble. It has all of the tools and no doubt helped Nintendo's engineers master the challenge of cramming additional features (like NFC, extra buttons and control inputs) into a small frame. Should the NX have a powerful portable element as many (including this reader) expect, some influence may be traceable to the dynamism of the New 3DS feature set.
We also think the general design is among Nintendo's finest, as the company continues to learn and evolve in shaping ergonomically sound and strong hardware. The smaller New 3DS is still very portable yet is marginally bigger than the original small model, with soft plastic and rounded corners making it far more comfortable to hold than its predecessor. The New 3DS XL largely carries over the excellent design of its immediate predecessor, and is a delight to hold. Since the jagged and arguably flawed original 3DS, the first XL and New models have shown significant improvements.
We think the New 3DS is an excellent system, then, delivering a lot of features that are unparalleled in portable hardware. As we're now a year on from its release, though, we want to know whether you've joined the ranks of New 3DS owners, and if so what you think of it. Let us know in the polls below; we're hoping there's plenty of life in it yet.
I bought the new 3ds xl, and wish I had waited for the normal sized one to come to the states so I could switch out the plates
It's not not the Nintendo nx for nothing you know.
In other news, that super stable 3d is brilliant. I hope they stick with that. Just increase the resolution and I'll be perfectly fine with the next handheld and that awesome 3d effect.
I'm happy with my Black XL. I could get the Hyrule Edition, but I would feel limited to using badges/themes from the Zelda series. As for the plates, that would just be another add-on for me to buy for my 3DS, and switching them out isn't as easy as switching out themes on the HOME Menu. I'm content with the New 3DS XL I chose.
Overall an improvement... but, the C-Nub makes me wish they'd make yet another Circle Pad Pro. It functions, but it doesn't always "work", especially once your thumb gets sweaty. Moon Chronicles felt borderline unplayable with it (but maybe that's the fault of the game?). Fine for camera controls though...... usually.
Happily bought the New 3DS XL model, I enjoy it every day. I think of it as a much needed improvent over the origional 3DS models.
I don't care for the C-Nub, but I'm happy with the New 3DS model.
I bought one shortly after launch since my old 3DS had showed performance issues following a system update (Home menu and its icons took a long time to load), and the game card slot stopped always recognizing the game card, resulting in a lot of tears when I opened my system from sleep mode only to find out all the progress I had made in-game had vanished.
I really like the New 3DS (basic model), even though the C-nub does not always work as well as a stick. It's still better than nothing.
I jumped on the Ambassador Edition, and really love it! Just a shame there are only 2 exclusives to it from my point of view: I'd love to see a new game take full advantage of it, although Xenoblade 3D is a phenomenal achievement!
I bought the Monster Hunter XL edition, and then sold it to a friend so I could get the small version (which I always wanted for faceplates and buttons in color). And in the end, I lucked out and got two for the price of one!
So yes, I'm super happy with my pair of N3DS handhelds. I use one for everything and the spare to play the one Japanese 3DS game I have through the region lock bypass.
I probably won't get it, I have the 3DS XL and I hardly play it as it is. Just not a big handheld gamer.
I love my XL, but I got it THE WEEK before the pokemon anniversary one was announced. I wish i had waited a bit longer. Oh well, it's still awesome!
I have a 2ds, triforce edition xl 3ds, and a basic n3ds. That's mine. Kids use the other 2. Personally, I use my 3ds as much as my actual home consoles. I have well over 100 games loaded on my n3ds and that isn't counting cartridges. It is a portable n64 or GameCube in terms of awesome quality games. It just doesn't have the big screen of a tv. My only complaint ever with the ds in general is it needs a true 2nd analog and no touch screen Zelda games. I can't make myself finish either ds Zelda games because it sucks holding a bulky ds 1 handed. But smash it kart are as good as the home console versions. It has link between worlds. Daily when I get home from work my 3ds goes in my pocket instead of my iphohe. With nx, I want nintendo to change that. A iphone with buttons for nx is my dream.
I have both GameStop (New) 3DS launch day models. The newest one in Sept.2015 with the animal crossing decorator. And the larger Red model released almost a year earlier.
Im in the US and am not going to pick up the XL. The Pokémon special edition is tempting but I'm going to hold out for a special edition of a brand new Pokémon game. Just not that interested in the R/B faceplates and I don't need preinstalled copies of Red and Blue. Until I see exactly what I want, if ever, I'm sticking with black regular XL.
I got the ambassador edition and the display is a big improvement. Not being affected by glare and the improved 3D. It was difficult to play dark games like Luigi's mansion and Resident Evil on the original model. I would prefer an alternate design to the c stick that can be moved like a circle pad / analogue stick. Otherwise I think it was well worth the upgrade.
It looks like a perfect bit of hardware, and I'd really like one, but the ocean ahead doesn't seem to warrant a new boat.
The new 3ds XL is great and if I had to part with this or my Wii U, the Wii U would go.
I hope the next 3ds XL will have a bigger screen and processor. But there have been very few 'proper' 3ds games, like the two Zelda's. Yes a lot of games have played about with the feature in different ways, some better that others but all welcome, but not as it should be.
The top screen is about the size of my Smartphone screen; and the phone screen seems normal to me now yet a year ago it was considered large.
Nintendo of late seem unable to balance the output and type of games released between both consoles and they have been treating the gamepad as a third console, which is neither HD which I bought the Wii U for, or portable as the 3ds is.
I love my new xl went from small 3ds to new xl so bigger screen and better 3d is a vast improvement to me
I have an Ambassador Model, this is what the original 3DS should have been. I think there is enough difference between the normal size 3DS and New 3DS to warrant the upgrade (XL version not so much)
But I do think there is a missed opportunity here, to only have 2 games after a year, I can't say it was worth it, although I do love changing the Face Plates - feels like you have a new Console each time you change
I just have a red XL, it's great. I'll probably upgrade to a N3DS sometime after I finish XCX for XB3D, unless they come out with more enticing titles that only work with N3DS, or a special design N3DS I want. If that Pokemon one was XL it would have been sold out immediately.
I intend to buy the black New Nintendo 3DS when it reaches North America.
The New 3DS seems like an upgrade, sure, but it is not a necessary one yet. And since it isn't necessary, I haven't felt the need to get the entirely too bulky nN3DSXL or the white-shelled nN3DS when I prefer the aesthetic of the black system.
The New 3DS XL is fantastic but has lost potential due to Nintendo forcing everything onto normal 3DS even if it doesn't work properly. Smash, MH4U and Hyrule Warriors Legends should've been exclusive to the system.
Ambassador. Owner of lots of plates. Generally appreciate the new model and power. Generally disappointed with the lack of exclusive games.
I love my New 3DS. It's got to be about 13 months since I got mine, and I'm glad I upgraded. I'm also a double Ambassador due to having the Ambassador VC titles on an Ambassador New 3DS.
I absolutely would have if there had been ANY kind of trade-in deal let alone a generous one. Not to mention a special "3DS Ambassador" trade-in deal.
@Novanon, what was the Ambassador edition? I was christened one long ago and always will remain a 3DS Ambassador but heard nothing about it. Shoddy treatment. My Game Stop either didn't offer it or lied about it. I was absolutely going to upgrade if there was an offer.
I have a standard 3DS in fine condition and I see no reason to upgrade.
I feel as though I am the only one who does not like the XL models. The pixel density is really bad on them and, at least to me, makes games look much worse. Clearly I'm the minority here, though. I still have my original model 3DS and would never upgrade it unless it were break or something. I love the premium look of the first model.
I would upgrade from my original 3ds if there was more tempting software. Nonetheless I think the n3ds and it's xl counterpart to be a lovely piece if kit.
Ya, it's by far the best handheld I've owned. Even just feature-wise.
The C-stick is the only weak link, but it works perfect for games like MH4U. For games where precision aiming is needed, not so much.
I'd love to get one, but NOA is making it difficult.
Haven't got one yet - waiting for the Wario model / faceplates that will probably never come.
I have the 3DS XL with a Sonic case, so I'm content!
@Mainsaile It was an exclusive promotion for EU and Japan in which Nintendo selected Club Nintendo members based on their stars/coins balance for a chance to get the New 3DS early and with special cover plates. NA were neglected like they always were regarding physical Club Nintendo related stuff.
I think I'm in the minority but I much prefer the smaller model. With the XL the screen size is impressive but the resolution isn't very good on the XL.
Love the small new 3DS because the 3D is much better and has a longer battery life. Changeable cover plates are awesome, I've got the Majoras Mask Skull Kid one and it's awesome - haven't changed it ever even though I have a purchased others. Love the SNES style coloured buttons too.
I love my Majora's Mask N3DS XL!
I prefer the smaller model, too. New 3DS and New 3DS XL are not amazing hardware considering they launched in 2015, but they are all that 3DS should have been before. The smaller model reminds me a lot of DSi.
I picked up a black XL size one on launch day but ended up returning it because it was too heavy for my carpal tunnel to handle. Now I'm holding out for the black regular sized New 3DS to be released in North America before I buy another, since I'm not a fan of white handhelds.
I love it so far after 2 weeks. It would be neat to see some games get released which show off the new power. However it's neat to go back to old ones and see them run at a solid frame rate. In fact I played Let's Play Golf this week which would hiccup from time to time on the old hardware. On the NEW 3DS it runs silky smooth with no more issues like the power bar freezing up. The loading screens run much faster too. Really a nice cheapy Golf game if your in the market for a good golf game. To bad it didn't have online play like Mario Golf
I got the smaller New 3DS soon after it was released in the UK. I had a couple faceplates on it. Pocket sized fun. It goes with me everywhere. Love it. I was tempted to get the XL version but I like the customisable smaller model. Getting my teeth into Story of Seasons right now. 😉
I have the US smaller 3DS and a pikachu XL (XL in poor condition soo...)
wish I had the Red/Blue N3DS bundle
oh well, got new mouse today though so FTW!
average HH though, don't like that theres no wifi switch any more, not sure how I feel about the power switch, would be nicer on the side, and don't really dig the GC slot, but hey it works rather well.
I have the ambassador edition they released in Europe a month earlier, and have been happy with it since.
I'm still a little disappointed not many games make use of the hardware but the build quality and the 3D is so much better! Plus the built in CCP buttons + nub help so much in games such as MH4U and smash.
I think I should of not gotten one. It's faster, It is way stable. I got to play Xenoblade on the go. Majora's Mask didn't need it. I not a Monster hunter fan so that didn't matter. That is all. Sure Hyrule Warriors will be good with it, but I have it for WiiU. So I'm not to hyped about it. FEFates doesn't need it. Bravery Second won't.The 2 Dragon Quest games won't need it either. This is like DSI. I know the NX is going to be a portable hybrid. The only thing I can't wait for is to mod it.
The N3DS XL is the best portable to date. Period.
It's cool, but I could never justify spending that much on a system that plays the same games. The benefits aren't even almost worth the cost when that much money could buy me a bunch more games. It would be great if I'd never owned one though.
I love my New 3DS XL. I would have preferred the blue version though, but I i guess not in NA. Also wish they would have upgraded the camera resolution, it's novelty has worn off and is irrelevant compared to today's cameras. I never had much problem with the 3D, but I love the face tracking. Always keep the 3D up all the way, like before. Hope Nintendo keeps 3D as an option beyond 3DS.
I have a red XL and I love it. The only things I don't like are the lack of easily expandable storage and the fact that the hinge is floppier than it was on my old 3DS. Other than that I think it's a perfect pocket console.
I went from a regular old 3DS to a New 3DS XL. Had I owned an old 3DS XL I probably wouldn't have upgraded, but I'm definitely very happy with it!
I ignored the N3DS at launch. Then I played with a demo unit and immediately fell in love with the super stable 3D. I bought a XL model last year at a massive discount. The New standard model is still too small for my taste.
I really liked the normal old 3ds. I thought only the xl would come to America, so I went and bought a New 3ds XL. I kind of want to go and buy the normal sized New 3ds with pokemon blue and red, but I'm not sure if I'll like it more. Unsure if I can go back to small from the XL.
I think it's a great system, but the lack of support and upcoming NX have me hesitant on buying one. They blew it on initially not releasing the smaller model in America, only to release it in a white Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer bundle. A black small New 3DS Fire Emblem Fates bundle would've been killer.
The 3DS is my current gen system of choice. I still have a lot of games to finish on it, and between the DS and 3DS game support, I have pretty much everything I could want in a powerful portable.
I received my New 3DS XL as a Christmas present, which was needed as my old 3DS XL had a weakening battery and a cracked case joint. I also later bought a 32GB Sandisk Micro SDHC memory upgrade, which was actually cheaper than Sony's proprietary nonsense and fits a lot of content from the eShop.
I never stop playing on it, and both Monster Hunter and Zelda MM are now great games to play on it thanks to the C-Stick. The stable 3D is also great, and I play many more games in 3D than I used to because of the graphical bump and stability camera.
If there were any complaints I would have, the placement of the ZL and ZR would probably be the only ones. My fingers have gotten used to the L/R shoulder configuration, and it's tough to reach around those shoulders to reach the Zs. The Circle Pad Pro had them below the shoulders, and that was a good spot, but I could see why they made the design choice they did.
Overall, everyone owes it to themselves to consider upgrading, even if they have to trade up. If this is indeed the last phase of the 3DS family, it's certainly the best one and the features are well worth the investment. You can also wait to see what NX has in store--the New 3DS will be waiting if you decide the NX is not what you want.
I'm a big time collector of these handhelds. Besides a very large collection of 3DS XL (20 or so), I have both the Zelda New 3DSXL (Majora and Hyrule's), the Monster Hunter one and the small Home Designer 3DS. My everyday 3DS is the NES one, but I might spring for a red New 3DSXL as soon as I get a good deal (like 150-160 bucks) on a new one.
Difficult to answer that second question. It's not that the hardware is bad, it just seems entirely pointless to me.
@CloudNine Exactly my thoughts, plus the fact that it'd fit in my hands more smoothly.
I'd like the standard size or the XL in a better colour, so I'm waiting. I did import a Japanese one and it's nice enough. I might nab the NA-compatible blue XL from Asia. Or not.
It's great for those new to buying one but there really is no compelling reason to upgrade (presuming you have a Wii or Wii U for Xenoblade or are not interested in it).
I had just upgraded my initial 3DS to a smash-themed 3DS XL when they announced the New 3DS. I still might have gone for one if they had come out with a version (big or small) with interchangeable plates in NA from the get go.
Honestly, Nintendo should have called the system something else, had more visible marketing for the thing, and made Smash only work on the new system. Then they possibly could have included ice climbers. But what's more, they could have gotten a huge "launch" game for the system and sales would be drastically better. With that install base, they should have tried to do more new system only games. Far as I can tell they only have Xenoblade, right? Even the new FE still works on the old 3DS.
Not that I'm complaining as a consumer. I'm happy with my old 3DS. But from a business standpoint, many missed opportunities for Nintendo. I'd be upset if I was a shareholder.
Personally I still don't see any worthwhile reason to buy a new 3ds.
If my current XL explodes though I'll more than likely grab a "new" version.
Personally, I love my Majora's Mask N3DS XL; I got it on the day it released, and it has been used pretty much every day since. Coming from a standard red 3DS XL I didn't think that it would be much of an upgrade, but the new 3D is awesome (I went from never using the feature to keeping it on most of the time), the loading times/framerate for many of my games are much better, and the nub is actually a fantastic improvement from the heavy, clunky circle pad pro. Overall, I think it's the best handheld I've ever owned.
Both the XL and smaller one are the best handhelds ever in my opinion.
There is just one downside: no dedicated WiFi button! I hate having to go through a menu to enable WiFi but whatever, its not like I use it a lot.
I love the nub but I love the improved 3D, colored buttons, faster speed, and cover plates most of all
@Haiassai it'd be a lot easier to carry around with you too
New 3DS? Perfect way to signal you want to break up. A hideous, ill-thought device that shouldn't have been made.
@Grumblevolcano, Thanks. Deal wouldn't have done it for me anyway.
I'm glad I have the XL. The whole deal of it not coming with a power cable was nothing to me because a buddy of mine went through 2 or 3 DSi XLs and I had power cables to spare. My only gripe is the resolution of the screen. Which reminds me. Can't wait for the Revealing 4 months from now...
Uh.... wouldn't the perfect Nintendo 3DS Valentine's Day gift be a high quality third party battery to make your original 3DS last exponentially longer than the original battery allowed it to? Since... ditching your steady, trusty original 3DS for some young, New thing would be tantamount to cheating? I don't know about you all, but I'm a monogamist and faithful to my one steady... I wouldn't dump them, after all the weather and storms we've been through together, and after they've even broken my fall after tripping once, for some pretty young thing I don't even know.
(LOL 3DS soap opera)
All those "collectors" are really just polygamist playboys who indulge themselves in sin to satiate their desires.
(LOL 3DS morals)
Traded in my 3DS that I bought back in 2011 for the N3DS XL this summer, definitely the best upgrade choice. I really enjoyed my 3ds but I could stand how I could get "ghosted" every once in a while. The N3DS XL has been so much better, and I have played my N3DS way more due to how good the 3D looks. And this time around I really wanted an XL. The bigger screen works a lot better for me.
I adore my nxl but I wish they had made it plate swappable.
I had the original Zelda special edition basic 3DS since launch and loved it, but after buying the N3DS XL, I could never go back. It's amazing.
My reactions are probably a bit overzealous because I went from a launch model to the brand new one without ever owning an XL. So there's that. Still, glad that I have it and especially happy to be playing FE Fates on it later this week.
Here's to a long 3DS lifespan!
I love my N3DS XL, and I keep the 3D ON all the time with NO problems. It's a real improvement on the original 3DS consoles.
I love my N.3DS too cool for school.
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