Nintendo 3DS: Is it Still Worth it in 2021?

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The Nintendo 3DS family of handheld game consoles lasted a whopping 9 years. Although its time came and went we have to ask ourselves, is the “Nintendo 3DS” still worth purchasing in 2021? After all, the “Nintendo Switch” is already capable of being a pretty good replacement, no? In all honestly, the “Nintendo 3DS” is still a pretty good system with a sweet roster of games and nifty features that set it apart. So let’s take a step back and rediscover one of our favorite handhelds of all time.

Exclusive Games

One of the most important things to look out for when buying a new system is its library of games. Are the games for the system worth the price of admission? The “Nintendo Switch” has done a great job of being a successor for the “Wii U“. However, it has also received ports of a majority of its exclusive games. While there may not be enough games to justify a “Wii U” purchase in 2021, there are plenty of exclusives that you can only find on 3DS. Games such as “Mario‚Äôs 3D Land“, “Legend of Zelda: Link Between Worlds“, and “Pokemon X/Y” are perfect additions to anyone trying to build up their 3DS libraries.

Super Mario 3D Land

It’s also worth mentioning that thanks to a variety of Nintendo Select titles, jumping into the 3DS is much easier and much more affordable than it was during the 3DS’s peak. Many of the system’s must-play titles can be purchased for only $20. You can drop that price even further by shopping for pre-owned games. So getting your hands on first-party games has become much more of an achievable task.

Nintendo 3DS Yoshi

Backwards Compatibility

Another great reason why the “Nintendo 3DS” is still a good purchase is its backward compatibility. You can play games from multiple different generations on the go including the original “Nintendo DS“. The ability to play the original DS games opens the door for plenty of other options. “Pokemon Platinum“, “Super Mario 64 DS“, and “The World Ends With You” are just some of the games you can experience through backward compatibility.

Although there are many ways to experience DS games, playing on an actual DS system just feels perfect. After all, it’s how the games were originally meant to be played, with dual screens and an accessible touch interface. Those aren’t the only games available to play either. There are even older games available for purchase.

If you’re interested in retro gaming you will be happy to know that the “Nintendo 3DS” has a virtual console. This allows you to purchase a variety of different “Gameboy“, “Gameboy Color“, “NES“, and “SNES” titles in the eShop. The Standard 3DS is capable of playing most of these titles except games from the “SNES” catalog. Those can only be played on the “New Nintendo 3DS” systems. So if you’re someone who prefers a more official way of playing these games then the “Nintendo 3DS” has you covered.

Pokemon Crystal 3DS


You might be thinking, “Isn’t my Switch portable?” That is true. The “Nintendo Switch” does offer console experiences right at your fingertips. However, you might also prefer something a bit more compact for when you’re on the go. One of the Nintendo 3DS’s core features is how it can be closed when not in use. With both screens now on the inside, you don’t need to worry about them getting scratched. A 3DS case suddenly becomes more of an option rather than a necessity, unlike the Switch. They also just fit anywhere. In your handbag, in the glove compartment, backpacks, and if you really want to go around old school some models even fit in your pockets. It’s the perfect size for any occasion.

Different Models

One of the best things about coming into a system after its prime is having a variety of systems to choose from from the get-go. There’s no waiting to see if Nintendo releases a better version next year or lamenting having jumped in too soon right before a color you would have liked better is released. It’s all already there.

There are many different models of “Nintendo 3DS“. You have the standard 3DS, the 2DS, as well as XL versions of both. Plus, if you really want to get deep into it you also have the “New Nintendo 3DS” which has a small selection of exclusive titles. With so many choices the question arises. Which one for me?

Nintendo 3DS Family

It all depends on how much you’re willing to spend and what kind of games you intend to play. If you intend to play everything the 3DS had to offer, consider the “New Nintendo 3DS” model. It will be able to play “SNES” titles from the Virtual Console section of the shop as well as “New Nintendo 3DS” exclusives such as “Xenoblade Chronicles 3D” and “Fire Emblem Warriors“.

If you’re just looking to experience 3DS games that you missed out on but don’t care about 3D, then an original model “Nintendo 2DS” would be the cheapest entry point into that generation. You can find these models for as low as $40 secondhand. Of course, it is also shaped like a piece of toast but it’s a starting point. So play around with your wish list and find the right 3DS for you.

The Answer is Yes!

So yes, the “Nintendo 3DS” is still very much worth it in 2021. It has plenty of backward compatible and exclusive games only found on that system. It’s also much more affordable to jump in this late in the game with second-hand sellers dropping the prices even more. So if you’re looking for new experiences or just want to catch up on a whole generation, then there’s no better time to do it than now.

Alexander Pinera
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