I don’t know exactly how it happened, but lately I’ve fallen in love with my Nintendo 3DS.
I used to think it was a bit of a pain to hold a handheld gaming console for long periods of time, straining my eyes to see the small screen. Portable games felt inferior to the ones I could buy for my “big” consoles and enjoy on my larger screens.
But I’ve gotten over all that. I don’t know what I was thinking.
It probably started with Fire Emblem: Awakening, which I purchased on my Nintendo 3DS early in the year. People were crazy for that game when it first came out; it was all over my Twitter feed, and Kotaku seemed to have a major thing for it, too. I’m still playing that game (and I’ll update my game log soon!), but despite my slow progress with it and all the other games that have stolen my attention from it at different points, I just really, truly love that game. It has proven to be deeper than any other 3DS game I’ve played so far… other than games ported from other consoles.
Oh, and the ported games! Let’s just stick to one example here. Love should be simple, after all. So here it is: You can play one of the greatest RPGs of all time on the 3DS — Ocarina of Time. That’s a big deal for me, because I didn’t grow up playing video games. I missed out on The Legend of Zelda the first time around. I’ve been playing catch up, and my Nintendo 3DS has allowed me to experience the awesomeness that is Ocarina of Time. That alone is enough reason for me to fall in love with the console, right?
But then there’s StreetPass, which just adds this whole other level of excitement to leaving the house in the morning. The 3DS’s StreetPass feature means your little console reacts to other little 3DS consoles in the area. You can even get the Miis of the users nearby, or exchange game info. (Apparently, I could create a StreetPass team for Fire Emblem and interact with other players’ units via StreetPass… I just haven’t done that yet.) Even though I have yet to really use the StreetPass feature in regards to sharing or interacting, I get a thrill when I see that green light that means another gamer is nearby.
The other reason to take my 3DS with me everywhere I go is that it rewards me for moving. It counts how many steps I take (kind of creepy, I know) and gives me Play Coins. I used to not know what to do with these Play Coins; they didn’t seem particularly useful. But once you start taking your 3DS with you around town, it becomes fairly easy to get that Play Coin loot. Just having a bank full of Play Coins feels rewarding. And knowing that I can spend them on things in certain games — even when I don’t — somehow makes me feel more secure with my little console. I know it has a lot to offer.
Sure, my “big” consoles have a lot going for them, too. Just seeing a story and combat play out on the big screen is impressive, and that’s the magic of modern gaming. But behind all that glamor — all the graphical glitz that looks so sexy on my PC — is pure, unadulterated gameplay, and the Nintendo 3DS offers that in spades. Plus, some of those JPRGs look amazing; screen size isn’t everything. Those games have depth. They’re challenging and dynamic and fun. They make me want to take my 3DS everywhere and game on the go. I can play on the bus. I can play at lunch. I can play sitting up in bed until 4 AM like I did playing Fire Emblem a couple months ago. It’s awesome.
Best of all, the Nintendo 3DS isn’t flashy. It doesn’t try too hard. It has lovable retro games, some of the best new JRPGs out there, addicting tactical games, awesome ports of games previously only available on the “big” consoles… and then all that StreetPassing action. Portable gaming seems to be making a comeback these days, and my 3DS has really shown me why. When I travel even for a couple of days without it, I miss it. It really feels like love.