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The Nintendo Switch is a pretty fantastic console – sleek, fluid, portable, and with one of the best libraries ever assembled on a Nintendo system, it’s no wonder that it’s become one of the most successful consoles ever made. But as great as it is, the Nintendo Switch isn’t the crème de la crème in every respect – in several ways, one of its immediate predecessors, the 3DS, has features that the Switch simply doesn’t offer. And with the imminent passing of the eShop is giving us pause to reflect. So what are some things the 3DS has that the Switch doesn’t – that we maybe hope might be implemented into whatever next console Nintendo has in store.




While the Switch offers interconnectivity in its own way, it lacks the true feeling of community and interaction that 3DS StreetPass offered. By passing by fellow 3DS owners, your consoles would exchange information for certain games and applications, including a wide collection of creative sub-games for the console’s StreetPass Mii Plaza. Not to mention the simple joy of checking out Miis from passerby or getting dozens, if not hundreds, of activations at cons. While its sister SpotPass feature has been translated to Switch in a lot of respects, StreetPass’ absence is disappointing.



Customization (badges and themes)


Part of the charm of portable consoles back in the day was personalization – you were less likely to share them with other friends and family members, so you could decorate them with stickers or decals or cases as you saw fit. The 3DS brought this concept farther with Badges and Themes allowing customizable aesthetic for the software side of things. While the method of acquiring Badges through the Badge Arcade was quintessentially Nintendo (creative and interesting but just a little needlessly roundabout), dotting the home screen with ornaments and going further with custom themes made 3DS systems feel much more attuned to personal sensibilities. Sure, the Switch’s minimalism offers its own benefits, but it’s just not as charming in comparison.





On one hand, the concept of a Nintendo-centric social media platform was probably always going to have issues. On the other, Miiverse offered one of the most interesting experiments in company history, functioning as both a platform for easily sharing in-game creations and content as well as photos and posts about the games themselves. And while it definitely had its share of moderation problems and other finickiness, it also produced absolute gold, whether in the form of insanely artistic posts made with the touchscreen (or Wii U GamePad) or just timeless text posts. Who could forget “I wish squids were real” or “y cant metroid crawl?”



Augmented reality


While the 3D feature of the 3DS was much more touted (and criticized), I would argue that it was the system’s AR functionality that was more innovative for game design, and often criminally underutilized. There were a couple titles, like pack-in Face Raiders or eShop classic The DENPA Men that utilized AR extensively. Other games like Bravely Default incorporated it sparingly but cleverly as part of a meta experience. While it could be gimmicky in certain respects, AR clearly has a place in the Nintendo landscape with the ongoing mobile success of Pokémon GO and Pikmin Bloom. Maybe we’ll see the functionality return with Nintendo’s next console?



Two screens


For a good solid 15 or so years, Nintendo was putting out games that utilized two different screens for various purposes – first on DS, then 3DS, and finally even on Wii U. It allowed for elegant and interesting control schemes, less cramped information, and exciting new gameplay possibilities. While dual screen layout does conflict with development parity across multiple platforms, and would be difficult to implement in a Switch-like console, it was an aspect we sorely miss, especially since the Switch was able to incorporate other mainstays from previous gens like a touch screen and motion controls.



It’s difficult to know what Nintendo’s Switch successor will bring – will it just be a fancier Switch? Something that brings back these features? Or a completely bold and unexpected idea? Nintendo is never too predictable about these things, so we can’t say for certain, but we hope they incorporate some of what the 3DS had.


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Written by Amelia Fruzzetti

A writer and Nintendo fan based in Seattle, Washington. When not working for NinWire, she can be found eating pasta, writing stories, and wondering about when Mother 3 is finally going to get an official localization.