Eight years ago today, I went to my local Toys”R”Us and picked up my sleek, Cosmo Black 3DS system. I always tell myself the 3DS isn’t that old, but it’s actually been out for quite some time now. Since then, I’ve finished middle school, high school, and I’m just about done with college. When the 3DS launched, President Obama was in his first term, Game of Thrones was in its first season, and “planking” was at the height of its popularity.
The launch lineup was pretty pitiful for the 3DS. I remember picking up Pilotwings Resort and Super Monkey Ball 3D as my two launch day purchases. I booted up my $250 machine in the car ride on the way home, and I couldn’t wait to try out the new AR technology. Now, I can’t remember the last time I tried out an AR game on my 3DS.
Just months after launch, the 3DS received a massive price cut — from $250 all the way down to $170. To keep early adopters from feeling burned, Nintendo launched the Ambassador’s Program, which provided access to 10 free NES and GBA games. Plus, I still have that sweet Ambassador certificate on my 3DS home screen. Sadly, the ambassador program was never heard from again.
After the price cut, a stream of awesome first party content started to come our way. Super Mario 3D Land, Mario Kart 7, and more titles kicked sales numbers into high gear. I like to think my personal favorite, Kid Icarus: Uprising, had something to do with the system’s turnaround.
The 3DS was home to a lot of firsts. First handheld 3D Mario and Zelda, first handheld Smash Bros., Paper Mario, Luigi’s Mansion, and more. The 3DS was also home to the resurgence of Fire Emblem with Awakening, Fates, and Echoes. The system’s library is incredible, and I think it’s the best handheld library out there, especially if you include all of the Virtual Console offerings on the 3DS eShop.
A couple years after launch, I upgraded to the beautiful Link Between Worlds 3DS XL. Revisions were constant throughout the 3DS’ lifetime, including the OG 3DS, 3DS XL, 2DS, New 3DS, New 3DS XL, and, my favorite title, the New Nintendo 2DS XL. (I always felt bad for retail employees who had to try and explain all of that to customers.) If the Switch gets revised, I hope Nintendo is a little bit smarter with their choice of names. Personally, I hope we see “Switch Go” and “Switch Pro” to represent the cheaper, handheld focused model and the higher spec model, respectively.
Happy birthday, 3DS. Your time in the limelight has just about come to an end, but none of us will forget the countless adventures we experienced on your dual screens.
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