Today marks the third birthday of Nintendo’s 3DS handheld gaming system in North America. I haven’t owned owned a Nintendo since SNES and a handheld since the original Gameboy. My hand-me-down Xbox is a glorified DVD/Netflix player. I more or less gave up on video games when I became a cool teenager. But after seeing a friend’s 3DS XL and watching him “collect” people for games via Streetpass, I became intrigued. The interaction was pretty cool, and it looked amazing. So I got a sweet pink 3DS XL of my very own and loaded up on old school style platformer games – Marios, Zeldas, and the ever-popular Legos. My latest acquisition is Yoshi’s New Island which is so cute I can barely stand it – the squee sounds! I’m interested in trying something a little more sophisticated eventually, but I’ve got to work my thumbs up to that, it’s been a long time.
But what sets the 3Ds apart from other handheld systems (besides Nintendo’s famous first party games and innovative 3D graphics) is the Streetpass interactivity. This is what sold me and is still my favorite part. When you carry your console with you and get near someone else who also has a system, they exchange Miis in the Mii Plaza. From there, you can collect puzzle pieces and play other games with that Mii, and each person brings something different to each game, depending on their experience level in the game and what color they wear. Everyone collects and wears their favorite hats too, ranging from Mario’s red cap to a bucket of fried chicken. Cartridge/downloadable games also have bonus Streetpass challenges.
The 3DS has it all – the games, the graphics, the social – and it’s a whole lot of fun.