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When the New Nintendo 3DS and its XL model were announced for Japanese release, I knew many people clamoring for the more compact design. Everything about it seemed tailor-made for Nintendo fans: the classic SNES style button colors, fitting right in your pocket to call back Game Boy memories, and the customizable cover plates were perfect for anyone who’d bemoan another (amazing) 3DS special edition console. It arrived a bit later than its larger iteration, but here we are with the New 3DS in time for the holidays.

I’ve had the handheld console since its release in September and I couldn’t be happier. The only existing package available in North America is the Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer bundle, a move that’s sure to delight anyone drawn to the changeable aesthetic of the system. The size of the console feels just right in my hands, with the screens and button layout optimized for the given frame. While it’s a bit trickier to change SD cards compared to past 3DS models, the system transfer process went smoothly for anyone looking to upgrade.


While the increased processing power, amiibo support, and new control additions are all fantastic these are features all shared with the New 3DS XL. What makes this version special is the cover plates. Coming with two sets out of the box, one modeled after Animal Crossing’s Isabelle and the other matching the box art from Happy Home Designer, the appeal of mixing and matching for one’s own custom system has proven an irresistible draw. Before I knew it, I was looking for the best plates to match my own gaming tastes and even ones that just looked visually appealing.

Buy the Animal Crossing New 3DS bundle on Amazon today!

While on the subject of Animal Crossing, there are multiple plate sets for that series alone. Many recurring characters like Timmy and Tommy Nook and the Able Sisters have dedicated designs– but my vote goes to the coolest wandering musician around, K.K. Slider. For anyone unable to choose there’s also a fantastic option featuring smaller portraits of many more familiar faces. For fans of Animal Crossing who want to smile whenever they see their system, it’s the perfect choice!


Buy the Timmy and Tommy Nook Cover Plates on Amazon today!

Buy the Mabel Able Cover Plates on Amazon today!

Buy the K.K. Slider Cover Plates on Amazon today!

Anyone excited from the recent Super Smash Bros. video presentation will be happy to know they’re in luck. The Super Smash Bros. cover plate set features multiple characters in a sleek white design, making it a great option for anyone who just can’t decide which Nintendo series they should represent! For those waiting for Fire Emblem Fates and Corrin’s addition to the roster in February, there’s a set available featuring the main characters for both Hoshido and Nohr. Whether you go with the complete Fates set for a uniform appearance or cast aside the faction you oppose, the New 3DS lets you display your Emblem pride in style.


Buy the Super Smash Bros. Cover Plates on Amazon today!

Buy the Fire Emblem Fates Cover Plates on Amazon today!

The range of available options is huge, guaranteeing there’s something for every Nintendo fan on your list. Have a Splatoon fan that needs to show their turf with pride? You got it! Know someone who melts at the sight of cute all over prints? Kirby and Pikachu are here for you. For those with darker tastes or an appreciation of a recent remake? The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask’s Skull Kid will haunt your system and show your love for a classic at the same time. Each of these plate sets has at least one accompanying theme in the 3DS eshop as well, allowing your tastes to show inside and out.


Buy the Splatoon Cover Plates on Amazon today!

Buy the Kirby Cover Plates today!

Buy the Pikachu Cover Plates on Amazon today!

Buy the Majora’s Mask Cover Plates on Amazon today!

Last but not least is a very special plate for a very special anniversary. Featuring a multitude of pixelated Nintendo characters on a vibrant yellow background, the Super Mario Maker New 3DS cover plates are the gold standard in Nintendo fanservice. From Punch-Out!! to Pikmin, from Star Fox to Splatoon, this cover plate has something for everyone. The star of the show is Mario himself, appearing in his classic overalls, as a doctor, and in Mario Maker’s construction outfit. For anyone owning or considering the New Nintendo 3DS, these are just a few standout examples. There’s a design or combination out there for every Nintendo fan this holiday, and I hope this guide has started you on the path towards a one-of-a-kind dream system!


Buy the Super Mario Maker Cover Plates on Amazon today!

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Written by Ricky Berg

When he isn’t writing for Nintendo Wire, Ricky’s anticipating the next Kirby, Fire Emblem, or if the stars ever align, Mother 3 to be released. Till then he’ll have the warm comfort of Super Smash Bros. to keep him going.