The Nintendo 3DS is a fantastic handheld with access to a ton of amazing games, but is it worth owning today? It's certainly still a great console, but Nintendo doesn't support the console with new releases and new units have become harder and harder to find. So, for those of you asking, “Should I buy a 3DS in 2023?” – here's your answer.
Is it worth buying a Nintendo 3DS in 2023? The 3DS is absolutely still worth owning today, but it honestly depends on your gaming preferences as Nintendo no longer supports the console with new software. Still, the handheld has access to games from up to six different generations of Nintendo consoles, and you can get access to all of these great games for well under $100.
As we said, it really depends on your gaming preferences. The console has access to literally thousands of games – but you may want to opt for the newer hardware as the 3DS' best days are long behind it. Still, for many gamers, there are several reasons that this might actually be the best time to get a Nintendo 3DS.
5 Reasons To Consider A Nintendo 3DS Today
Before we get into the advantages of owning a 3DS today, let us first clear something up: When we say “3DS,” we are really referring to the 3DS family of consoles. We could be talking about the original model or even the New 2DS XL. So, if you're curious as to which console is right for you, check out our full comparative articles – Nintendo 3DS vs 2DS vs New 2DS XL: A Complete Comparison and Nintendo 3DS vs 3DS XL vs New 3DS XL: What’s The Difference? – to help decide which model is right for you.
1. The 3DS Has Access To Games From Up To Six Generations Of Nintendo Consoles
Update: While we still believe that Nintendo 3DS is a great addition to any retro gaming collection, it should be noted that Nintendo discontinued support for their online eShop on March 27, 2023. This means that Virtual Console games from the Game Boy, NES, and SNES generations are no longer available for purchase on the console's online store.
One of the best selling points of the 3DS is all of the games it can play – titles from up to six different classic Nintendo console generations. The Nintendo 3DS and 2DS can play all 3DS titles, nearly every DS cartridge, and select digital titles from the Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and the NES. While the New 3DS and 2DS consoles can play all of those same games, they also have access to their own New 3DS exclusives as well as select SNES titles.
When it comes to the sheer number of games across several platforms, there are very few (if any) handheld consoles that can match the 3DS. There is just always something to play. And as a bonus, the 3DS can also play Game Boy Advance titles after some modding. In fact, some early 3DS handhelds came with GBA games as a part of the Nintendo 3DS Ambassador program.
2. The Nintendo 3DS Is An Affordable Gaming Option
Depending on which model you opt into, you can enter the 3DS ecosystem for well under $100. The New 3DS and 2DS consoles will cost you a bit more, however. But with used 3DS and DS game prices these days, it isn't incredibly costly – relatively speaking – to fill the shelf with several classics on day one. Not to mention, game stores regularly have games for these consoles on sale – so keep your eyes open for a particularly good deal.
While gamers are gushing about newer hardware today, the 3DS quietly remains one of the best values in gaming. Whether you wait for a deal or not, the 3DS is simply worth it.
3. Many Classic Games Still Play Best On The Original Hardware
When it comes to the Nintendo 3DS, and the standard DS for that matter, games play best on these consoles because they were designed with the dual screen in mind. When these games get released on other consoles, there is often something that gets lost in translation.
For example, The World Ends With You is one of the DS' must-have games, but its later transition to the Nintendo Switch wasn't quite a perfect ten. The game is still fun, and definitely worth experiencing on the newer Nintendo hardware – but most fans agree it's best played on the DS or 3DS.
4. It's A Great Way To Revisit Some Nintendo 64 Classics
Some of the Nintendo 64's best, most defining games came to the 3DS. Classics like Star Fox 64, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask all saw remasters on the Nintendo 3DS. And many gamers would argue that these games actually look and play best on the newer hardware.
Additionally, other all-time greats like Super Mario 64 and Diddy Kong Racing also saw definitive editions come to the DS. And these gems look and play great on the 3DS as well.
5. The 3DS Is Still Ideal For Portable Gaming
Newer hardware has since replaced the 3DS in the portable space, but the console still remains a perfect, compact gaming companion. Between the absolutely massive gaming library and small form factor of even the largest 3DS models, the handheld console packs quite the punch and leaves a small footprint.
Other Options To Consider
So, if you're still not convinced that the 3DS is right for you, there are other great portable options out there. Both the Switch and Switch Lite are fantastic options if you want something a little bit more contemporary but still want to stay in the Nintendo family. On the other hand, the discontinued PSP and the PS Vita are great offerings from Sony. The latter handhelds strove more for technical specs while Nintendo leaned more into innovation – but each has a stellar library of titles. Honestly, both approaches have merit, and each console has its own unique set of pros and cons.
At the end of the day, it's really all about the types of games you like to play and how you like to play them. That being said, if you are a fan of Nintendo and you are feeling a bit nostalgic for older generations of games, the 3DS is a great option – even today.