Nintendo 3DS

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3DS logo.png
Available colors:
Manufacturer Nintendo
Type Handheld
Release date(s) Japan February 26, 2011[1]
EuropeMarch 25, 2011[2]
United States of AmericaMarch 27, 2011[2]
AustraliaMarch 31, 2011
Discontinued Worldwide September 16, 2020
Media 2GB Nintendo 3DS Game Card, Nintendo DS Game Card, SD Card
Input Nintendo 3DS Stylus
Predecessor Nintendo DS
Successor Nintendo Switch Lite

The Nintendo 3DS is the successor to the Nintendo DS. It has 3D technology without the need for glasses. The screens are using a parallax barrier system. It was released on February 26, 2011 in Japan; in Europe on March 25, 2011; on March 27, 2011 in North America; and March 31, 2011 in Australia. It was originally priced at 25,000 Yen in Japan and $249 in North America.[2] Its price in Europe is up to the retailer. In North America, 18 titles were available during the launch, with three being first party.

On June 7, 2011, an update made the eShop available, which is where a virtual console is available. Game Boy and Game Boy Color games are being sold in a similar style to the Wii's virtual console, except for the fact that Nintendo Points are no longer used. DSiWare and 3DS Software can also be downloaded.

Animal Crossing: New Leaf is the main series installment of the Animal Crossing series for the 3DS with Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer as a spin-off.

The Nintendo 3DS was discontinued worldwide on September 16, 2020.[3]


The Nintendo 3DS has many new features. It is capable of glasses-free 3D on its top screen, which has been expanded width-ways. The 3D effect can be increased or turned off entirely with the slider located on the right-hand side of the top screen. Nintendo has recommended that children under 6 are not permitted to use the 3D effect, which can be locked off with Parental Controls,[4] however the American Optometric Association has stated that 3D gaming on the Nintendo 3DS will not harm children's eyes, if used in moderation.[5]

An example of the 3DS graphics as seen in Kid Icarus: Uprising

The console includes 'augmented reality' cards, which one places on a flat surface and uses the Nintendo 3DS camera to view. The cards are then transformed into an object which is visible through the 3DS camera. Nintendo has stated that users "are not to be surprised if they see a dragon coming out of their kitchen table."[6]An example card is a game in which players are required to shoot targets surrounding objects.[7] The Nintendo 3DS includes a gyroscopic sensor that registers movement, similar to that of the iPhone and iPod Touch.

Like the Wii, the Nintendo 3DS includes the Virtual Console. Players are able to download games from the Game Boy and Game Boy Color. Purchases are made through the Nintendo eShop, using a cash system rather than Nintendo Points.

The Nintendo 3DS has the standard A, B, X, Y, Start, Select, L and R buttons, as well as the D-Pad. It also has the Circle Pad, an analog stick, and a Home button.

Similar to the Wii's Wii Address Book, the Nintendo 3DS has a function named the Friend List, where people are able to see which of their friends are currently online and their status messages. The Notification LED will light orange when a friend is online.

SpotPass is the ability for the 3DS to seek Wi-Fi signals and automatically download content while in sleep mode. It may be used for players to download Distributed Items in Animal Crossing: New Leaf. StreetPass is the ability to connect with other 3DS systems while in sleep mode. A widely cited example is that passing 3DS systems in the street is able to send Miis to each other.

Friend Codes remain in the 3DS system's software, however, only one is needed per system, as opposed to the Wii and DS's one each for every game.

The Activity Log tracks both game play (noting which games have been played and for how long) as well as physical activity (counting every step taken while carrying a 3DS). The feature encourages walking more every day to earn Play Coins, which can be used with compatible games and applications to acquire special content and a variety of other benefits.

The two external cameras are used together to create 3D photos, however the interior camera can capture 2D photos and 2D videos.

The game Face Raiders is automatically built into the Nintendo 3DS. In it, the player uses the 3D camera and Augmented Reality to shoot faces which have been taken from photos captured with the 3D cameras.

A play coin is an alternative form of currency in various Nintendo 3DS games. They are obtained through walking with the Nintendo 3DS while the system is in sleep mode. For every one hundred steps taken, the system will add 1 coin, for up to 10 coins per day and for a maximum of 300 coins. In Animal Crossing: New Leaf, fortune cookies can be bought for 2 play coins.

Price Drop[edit]

On July 28, 2011, Nintendo announced a major price drop of $80 in the United States (to $169) starting August 12. In addition, consumers who bought the system at its original price had access to ten Nintendo Entertainment System games as well as ten Game Boy Advance at no charge before they were available to the general public.

Types of 3DS[edit]

Name Image JP Release NA Release EU Release AUS Release Notes
Nintendo 3DS 3DS.png February 26, 2011 March 27, 2011 March 25, 2011 March 31, 2011 Currently the best selling 3DS model.
Nintendo 3DS XL 3DS XL.png July 28, 2012 August 19, 2012 July 28, 2012 August 23, 2012 A significantly larger model of the 3DS with improved Start, Select, and Home Buttons.
Nintendo 2DS 2DS unit.png February 27, 2016 October 12, 2013 October 12, 2013 October 12, 2013 Has no 3D features and lacks the clamshell design of previous DS and 3DS consoles.
New Nintendo 3DS XL New3DSXL.jpg October 11, 2014 February 13, 2015 February 13, 2015 November 21, 2014 Introduced a C-Stick, two new buttons, and a new processor. Has certain games exclusive to it.
New Nintendo 3DS New3DS.png October 11, 2014 September 25, 2015 February 13, 2015 November 21, 2014 A smaller version of the New Nintendo 3DS XL.
New Nintendo 2DS XL New2DSXL.png July 13, 2017 July 28, 2017 July 28, 2017 June 15, 2017 A redesign of the New Nintendo 3DS XL. It lacks 3D, but has a clamshell design, unlike the Nintendo 2DS.

Games playable on the Nintendo 3DS[edit]


Game JP Release EG Release
Animal Crossing: New Leaf 2012 2013
Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS 2014 2014
Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer 2015 2015

By backwards compatibility[edit]

Game JP Release EG Release
Animal Crossing: Wild World 2005 2005


In addition to the downloadable versions of the retail Nintendo 3DS titles mentioned above, the following download-only software are also playable on the Nintendo 3DS.

Nintendo eShop native apps[edit]

Game JP Release EG Release
Photos with Animal Crossing 2013 (limited 2015 release)

DSiWare legacy apps[edit]

Game JP Release EG Release
Animal Crossing Clock 2009 2009
Animal Crossing Calculator 2009 2009


Nintendo 3DS XL[edit]

3DS logo.png
3DS XL.png
Manufacturer Nintendo
Release date(s) Japan July 28, 2012
Europe July 28, 2012
United States of America August 19, 2012
Australia August 23, 2012
Media Nintendo 3DS Game Card, Nintendo DS Game Card, 4 GB SD Card (Expandable by 32 GB)
Input Nintendo 3DS XL Stylus
Predecessor Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS (concurrent)
Successor None

The Nintendo 3DS XL is the first Nintendo 3DS redesign. The 3DS XL fixes several design flaws of the original 3DS, such as the 3D screen denting and making use of the control pad much more comfortable. The 3DS XL came in a variety of colors, with most of them being outside of North America. The colors that the 3DS XL came in are:

  • Red/Black (Japan, Europe, North America, Australia)
  • Blue/Black (Japan, Europe, North America, Australia)
  • Silver/Black (Japan, Europe, Australia)
  • Pink/White (Japan and North America)
  • Black (Japan, Europe, Australia)
  • Pikachu Yellow (Japan)
  • Charizard Black (Japan)
  • Xerneas & Yveltal Red (Japan, Europe, North America)
  • Xerneas & Yveltal Blue (Japan, Europe, North America)
  • Pokémon X/Y Premium Gold (Japan)
  • "Eevee Edition" (Japan)
  • Super Smash Bros Blue/Red (Japan, Europe, North America)

Nintendo 2DS[edit]

2DS unit.png

The 2DS is the seventh, newest portable console, also the newest Nintendo console. Since the console's main market audience is younger children and that Nintendo believes that stereoscope 3D can damage children's eyes, there is no stereoscopic 3D feature. There is also no hinge, so it is unable to close. Unlike closing the lid to have it go to sleep mode, a feature for the previous 3DS and DS, there is a switch for sleep mode. The Nintendo 2DS was released in October 2013.

New Nintendo 3DS[edit]

A New Nintendo 3DS (left) and New Nintendo 3DS XL (right)

The New Nintendo 3DS and New Nintendo 3DS XL, announced on August 28, 2014, were the first hardware upgrades for the Nintendo 3DS line of systems, similar to the Nintendo DSi. They were released on October 11, 2014 in Japan, and on November 21, 2014 in Australia and New Zealand, and in North America and Europe on February 13, 2015, though only the XL model will be available in North America. On January 6, 2015, selected European Club Nintendo owners were invited to buy New Nintendo 3DS Ambassador Edition, a special pre-release bundle of New Nintendo 3DS, for €199.99, with orders shipped as early as January 7, 2015.

In addition to having a more powerful CPU, the New Nintendo 3DS features an improved 3D effect, using the system's gyroscope and cameras to track the location of the player's eyes to sustain the 3D effect. An NFC sensor is built-in under the bottom screen, allowing compatibility with the amiibo line of products without needing the stand peripheral. Two additional shoulder buttons (ZL and ZR) have been added, alongside a second smaller circle pad above the ABXY buttons, the same features added to a standard Nintendo 3DS or 3DS XL with the Circle Pad Pro. The Start Button and Select Button buttons have been moved under the ABXY buttons, similar to the Nintendo DS Lite and DSi. In addition, the cartridge and stylus slots have been moved to the bottom of the handheld, and the SD card slot has been replaced by a microSD slot on the back of the system which can be accessed by removing the bottom cover.

The New Nintendo 3DS models also feature removable back covers on the backs of the top and bottom screens, which can be replaced with custom covers purchased separately. The New Nintendo 3DS also features some changes to the Internet application in that it can now play HTML5 videos. Japanese New Nintendo 3DS models have a web filter pre-activated which can only be removed by paying 30 yen but, the preactivated filter is absent on non-Japanese models. Certain titles, such as the port of Xenoblade Chronicles, are exclusive to the New 3DS systems, and are not compatible with any of the older models.

New Nintendo 2DS XL[edit]

A new version of the Nintendo 2DS was released in July 2017. It features screens 82% bigger than the regular 2DS, as well as built-in amiibo compatibility, a more powerful CPU, and the new buttons and control stick already featuring on the New Nintendo 3DS. It retails for $149.99 in the United States.[8]


3DS themes are themes that can be applied to the HOME Menu of any Nintendo 3DS. Themes are typically bought; otherwise, some of them are available through the My Nintendo rewards program, or for free for special events.