Nintendo 3DS

Cosmos Black Nintendo 3DS design.

3D logo
The Nintendo 3DS is the successor to the Nintendo DS series of handheld consoles produced by Nintendo. One of the console's primary features is the 3D visual screen, which displays auto-stereoscopic images to create the illusion of depth without the need for glasses. The depth can be adjusted with a slider found to the right of the screen, or turned off completely to play games in 2D. It was released in Japan on February 26th, 2011, Europe on March 25th, 2011, the United States on March 27th, 2011, and Australia on March 31st, 2011. It costs $169.99 in North America, €169,99 in Europe and £169.99 in the United Kingdom.[1]


3DS Menu Screenshot

The HOME Menu of the Nintendo 3DS.

The 3DS console has a similar appearance to that of the Nintendo DS, but builds upon its features. It includes three cameras, one being inward and the other two being outward, that are used to shoot 3D pictures, merge them, record 3D videos and play camera based games (see Augmented Reality Games). The console, much like its predecessors, features the four A, B, X and Y buttons, the START and SELECT buttons (which are embedded below the touch screen) and the L and R shoulder buttons, but also includes a Control Pad for smooth movement and the HOME button which is carried from the Wii console. The console also has wireless connectivity, which is used to connect with other consoles via local play or StreetPass, or to the Internet to download expansions for the console, play with other players from the world, and more. Online expansions include friend lists, sharing game content with friends, paid downloadable content for games[2] and firmware updates.

The Nintendo 3DS features limited multitasking. Software in use can be suspended with the HOME button at anytime the software is open (except occasionally during online play) in order to change the screen brightness, switch to another software, check the Friend List if friends are online, browse the Internet, organize the HOME menu and check notifications from StreetPass and SpotPass. The HOME menu is similar to that of the Nintendo DSi. A new feature exclusive to this console is the StreetPass functionality: when the console is put into sleep mode, it activates this function and searches for nearby consoles to exchange data with them. A pedometer is built into the system which records steps taken when the console is in sleep mode. Taking steps earns Play Coins which can be spent in supported 3DS programs such as StreetPass Mii Plaza, which uses Play Coins for the Puzzle Swap and Find Mii (including its sequel) games. The 3D top screen will display a moving icon which will appear in 3D when the mode is enabled. Additional software can be downloaded via the Nintendo eShop.

The Nintendo 3DS comes with a 2 GB SD card, though any SD card can be used. The package includes a charging cradle along with the standard charging cable (which is the same as that of the DSi, and consequently is compatible with the DSi as well). The battery lasts three to five hours (calculated with minimum settings) while playing standard 3DS games; battery life is affected by brightness, 3D level, and wireless connectivity. To fully charge the battery, it takes approximately three hours and a half. Due to this, an energy saving mode slightly increases the battery's life. When playing DS games, the battery lasts about 5-8 hours due to some hardware being disabled like the pedometer.

The system is backwards compatible with both DS and DSi games, although, as with the DSi, Nintendo DS games cannot make use of extensions that used the original DS's Game Boy Advance slot, which the 3DS lacks. The eShop includes a Virtual Console section of emulated games that were released before the DS, similar to the corresponding Wii service. This promotional offer was rolled out to purchasers of the 3DS prior to the price drop from $250 to $169.99, which was active from August 12th, 2011.

The system is currently available in seven colors: Aqua Blue, Cosmos Black, Flame Red, Ice White, Pearl (Misty) Pink, Midnight Purple and Cobalt Blue[3]. Other colors like gold and green shown at E3 2010 have been confirmed,[4] but have not yet been released to the public.[5] On May 11, 2012, Nintendo of Japan announced that production of the Aqua Blue color of the 3DS will end soon.[6] These models continue to be sold in America.

The 3DS features enhanced language accessibility. The system is the first Nintendo console to have Portuguese and Russian system language settings. It's also the first Nintendo handheld console to feature a Dutch setting. All these languages are included on the European and Australian version of the 3DS, and the Portuguese language is also included on the American version. Mario games also began being put to Dutch, Portuguese and Russian settings. However, these languages are only available in European and Australian versions of the game. The 3DS is the first Nintendo system to be rated by PEGI and an E by the ESRB, due to the built-in games, including Face Raiders, AR Games, and StreetPass Mii Plaza.

Hardware revisionsEdit

Nintendo 3DS XLEdit

3DS-XL Black

The Nintendo 3DS XL.

The Nintendo 3DS XL (Nintendo 3DS LL in Japan) is another version of the Nintendo 3DS handheld announced by Satoru Iwata in a Nintendo Direct video on June 22, 2012. Similarly to the Nintendo DSi XL, the 3DS XL has larger screens: The upper measuring 4.88 inches (making it the biggest screen on a Nintendo handheld so far) and the lower measuring 4.18 inches, both being 90% larger than the standard Nintendo 3DS screens. The resolution, however, is the same. The 3DS XL also has been given rounded corners and digital Home, Select, and Start buttons instead of the embedded ones found on the Nintendo 3DS. The handheld also sports a single color job instead of the dual color job of its predecessor (black in the interior of the lid and a second main color overall), although it may also come with dual colors. Additionally, it is packaged with a 4 GB SD card, and the battery has been optimized to last longer. It lasts about 3.5 to 6 hours when playing 3DS games, compared to the 3 to 5 hours of play on the original version. The handheld was released in Japan and Europe on July 28, 2012, in North America on August 19, 2012, and in Australia (bundled with an AC adapter) on August 23, 2012[7]. In Japan and Europe, the handheld does not come with a battery charger, but can use the original Nintendo 3DS's charger. The handheld will have its own charger in North America.[8] It also does not include the charging cradle packaged with the original 3DS.

Nintendo 2DSEdit

2D logo

The Nintendo 2DS is Nintendo's next handheld system and is part of the Nintendo 3DS family[9]. It can play all Nintendo 3DS games and most Nintendo DS games. However, it is unable to display 3D images, and both screens are touch-sensitive without a hinge separating them. The top screen is protected by a layer of plastic[10]. Also, the 2DS is more sturdy and features a tablet design rather than a clamshell design unlike the rest of the Nintendo 3DS family. The system's box includes a Nintendo 2DS, a Nintendo 2DS stylus, an SDHC Card, a Nintendo 3DS AC Adapter, and the six AR cards. It was released in North America, Europe, and Australia on October 12th at a price of $129.99 in the United States, €129.99 in Europe, and £129.99 in the United Kingdom in order to increase sales of upcoming 3DS games. There are no plans for a Japanese release. Reception of the Nintendo 2DS has been mixed.

new Nintendo 3DS Edit

New Nintendo 3DS logo
New Nintendo 3DS

A new Nintendo 3DS.

The new Nintendo 3DS[11] is the first hardware upgrade for the Nintendo 3DS line of systems, similar to the Nintendo DSi. Both a normal version and an "XL" version have been announced for release on October 11, 2014 in Japan[12], while it has been confirmed for release in Europe in 2015.[13] 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. Two additional shoulder buttons (ZL and ZR) have been added, alongside a second smaller circle pad above the A, B, X, and Y buttons, the same features added with the Circle Pad Pro. The Start and Select buttons have been moved under the A, B, X, and Y 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 mircoSD slot on the back of the system which can be accessed by removing the bottom cover. An NFC sensor is built-in, allowing compatibility with the amiibo line of products. The new Nintendo 3DS also features some changes to the Internet application. It can now play HTML5 videos. However, a web filter is pre-activated and can only be removed by paying 30 yen.[14]

Gameplay AccessoriesEdit


Nintendo3DS Stylus

A Nintendo 3DS stylus.

Nintendo 3DS XL stylus

A Nintendo 3DS XL stylus.

The 3DS stylus differs significantly from the previous models. It is a single, silver and black color, and extendable up to 3.94 inches for the user's comfort. The stylus is stored in a slot on the back of the 3DS, or on the right of the 3DS XL.

Circle Pad ProEdit


The Circle Pad Pro.

The Circle Pad Pro is an extra accessory marketed as enhancing 3DS gameplay controls. As the name implies, it has an extra Circle Pad positioned on the right-hand side coupled with the ZL and ZR shoulder buttons on the back. The whole combination is bundled onto a cradle which fits into the bottom of the 3DS, just as the charging cradle does. Currently, it is only available in Cosmos Black.

3DS StandEdit

3ds stand

The 3DS Stand.

The 3DS stand is a peripheral by Nintendo which holds the 3DS for players wikipediaing any game. It comes bundled with Kid Icarus: Uprising. Included free of charge, the accessory was released alongside Uprising on March 22, 2012 in Japan and March 23 in North America and Europe. It is also available for purchase separately in Japan. The stand allows the user to have more comfort when playing the game, particularly during sections in which the touch screen is in heavy use. The stand can also be folded down, making it compact and portable to take anywhere the holder goes. Masahiro Sakurai, the director of Kid Icarus: Uprising, stated that the Nintendo 3DS Stand is useful for games that use both the Circle Pad and the touch screen at the same time.


Nintendo 3DS CameraEdit


The Nintendo 3DS Camera is an application that allows users to take photographs and videos in glasses-free 3D. Some photos can have a decorated effect with the in-game tools. Videos can last up to 10 minutes.

Nintendo 3DS SoundEdit


The Nintendo 3DS Sound works similarly to the function previously seen on the Nintendo DSi. Players can record sounds with a duration of 10 seconds and store them in the console or on an SD card. Player can also add music into the SD card and, unlike in Nintendo DSi Sound, the music can be in either MP3 or AAC format. A limit of one hundred music files can be stored in the default folder as well as in any additional folders, though there is no limit to the number of folders that can be created so long as there is enough memory on the SD card. In addition, any recorded sound less than five seconds in length can be attached to a Swapnote.

Mii MakerEdit


Creating a Mii in the Mii Maker.


An example of a Mii QR Code. This code can actually be scanned in this state; hold up the 3DS to the screen.

The Mii Channel on the Wii makes a return with minimal changes as Mii Maker. However, there is a new feature in which the 3DS camera takes a photo of the player and converts it to make the photo look like a Mii. Worthy of note is that this feature is not automatic. Players must select the Mii's gender, hair color, and eye color before being prompted to take a picture of either themselves or another person.[15] Players are then able to leave the Mii as it is or to make any modifications they may deem necessary with new customization options (hairstyles, eye shapes, etc.). Players can also connect to their Mii Channel and import any Miis found there to the 3DS. To connect the Mii Maker to the Wii, the player must press the A, B, and 1 buttons on the Wii Remote when on the Mii Channel. Holding down the 2 button for a period of time afterward makes a "Connect to DS" icon appear (if it is not present already).

The player is also able to save their Mii as a QR Code, and save the image to the system's SD card. QR codes can be scanned with the 3DS Camera, and that Mii for that code will be transferred onto that system.

StreetPass Mii PlazaEdit


One of the most notable features of the 3DS, it allows players to create a profile represented by a Mii. When the player closes his or her 3DS system at any time, even when the StreetPass Mii Plaza is not open, walking past someone else who also has his or her 3DS closed (and StreetPass activated) enables each of the profile Miis to appear in both of their Mii Plazas. A notification light on the 3DS turns green to indicate when another 3DS has been detected.

Two games can be played in the Plaza: Puzzle Swap, and Find Mii (called StreetPass Quest outside of North America). In Find Mii, Miis are utilized to fight their way through several enemy-filled rooms. Mario-themed accessories such as character caps can be obtained and later be used to dress up the Miis. When another 3DS is detected, its profile Mii will join in on the game. In Puzzle Swap, players exchange pieces of various different Nintendo themed puzzles in order to complete them and unlock three-dimensional images.

Augmented Reality GamesEdit


AR Games logo.


The system is released with a total of six AR Cards that are used primarily in this feature, having a minor role in Nintendogs + Cats, among other games. In Nintendogs + Cats, using the Mario AR Card enables the player's pets to wear Mario-related hats. The Question Block Card can be used to play games, while the five Character Cards included can be used to take 2D or 3D photos.

The 3DS camera is required to play the games, as it must be aimed at the AR Card at all times to read it. Upon reading the Question Block Card, a menu of games appears, including Archery (Shooting in Europe), which uses the aiming reticule that is used to open the AR Games, AR Shot, in which the player uses a snooker stick to hit a ball onto a teleporter, Mii Pics, in which the player can take a picture of his or her Mii, Star Pics, which is the same as Mii Pics, but the player uses one or more of the Character Cards, Graffiti, a drawing apparatus, and Fishing, in which the player uses a fishing line to catch fish.

There is also a shop which is unlocked after playing any three of the games, in which the player can buy new features and games using Play Coins.

Face RaidersEdit


Face Raiders is a built-in game for the 3DS that utilizes the 3DS cameras, which is required to make enemies in this game. At the first playthrough, only the inner camera can be used to take pictures of the players' faces. After their first playthrough, players may utilize the outer cameras to take pictures of other people's faces, or they can take another one of their own face by swapping the inner and the outer cameras. If desired, a player can even use a face from a photograph, even if it is online.

The objective of this game is to shoot down floating heads of whatever face picture is taken. The game uses the gyroscope and the outer cameras to play, which makes players shoot down faces while rotating their bodies. It also appears as if they are shooting faces in their current location. New levels can be opened after players complete a level; three levels are unlocked by this method. Each level has its own set of enemies with different attack patterns. Butterflies and bombs appear; butterflies restore HP while bombs give users a chance to blow up all enemies on the screen.

At the end of a level, a boss fight ensues. Players must exploit the weak point of a boss to defeat it. All bosses have different weak points and different methods of attacking. After the boss is defeated, the player completes the game.

Nintendo eShopEdit


The Nintendo eShop (initially called Nintendo 3DS Shop) is a feature that allows players to buy Virtual Console and DSiWare titles for their Nintendo 3DS with Nintendo 3DS prepaid cards or credit cards. It also allows Game Promotion. The eShop is similar to Wii Shop Channel and was released with a firmware update on the evening of June 6th, 2011 in North America and on June 7th in other regions such as Japan, Europe, and Australia together with the Internet Browser. At GDC 2011, it was also announced that "3D Classics" would be made available for download in addition to the regular titles (Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and NES titles). These games, while 3D-compatible, retain their original graphical styles, however. Other than purchasing Virtual Console and DSiWare content, users can view information on current and upcoming 3DS titles (most notably through monthly episodes of Nintendo Show 3D, which provides footage of and commentary on popular or notable releases) as well as the Staff Pick of the Week (a Virtual Console or DSiWare title). If desired, users can also purchase and play a variety of "Quick Plays," including popular games such as Bejeweled and Solitaire. Continuing a practice established on the Nintendo DSi, content purchased from the eShop is transported to the 3DS Menu in the form of a gift that must be unwrapped before use. In addition, users are able to purchase downloadable content for their existing games.

Nintendo ZoneEdit

Nintendo Zone is a feature that enables users to, once in participating public locations, view screenshots, watch 3D videos, download and play game demos, access the eShop, play compatible games online, browse the Internet, and receive SpotPass content.[16]

Game NotesEdit

The Game Notes tool allows players to use up to 16 panels to make annotations or make simple drawings while other applications are suspended. Only a pencil option and an eraser option are available, though users can switch the pencil color between black, blue, and red. Any annotation can be saved and stored in the Nintendo 3DS Camera. A view of the suspended application is available if the player wishes to take notes on a game.

Friend ListEdit

From the Friend List, players can see their own friend codes and manage the register of other Nintendo 3DS owners they have added as friends. If their friends have the wireless feature of their consoles turned on, users can see the last game they were playing or the last application they were using. If friends play a game that has online capability, such as Mario Kart 7, and users own the same game, then users can join that game and play alongside their friends.


Notifications provide users with various alerts that can be received while the console is in sleep mode. When an alert is received, the notification light, located on the front of the console near the R button when closed and between the two screens when open, glows a certain color depending on the alert. If the alert is SpotPass-related (e.g. news or a software/application update), the light glows blue, and a blue circle appears on the software/application/feature that sent the alert. If the alert is StreetPass-related, it glows green, and a green circle appears on the software/application/feature. If one of a user's friends registered in the Friend List is online, the light will glow orange (it will flash orange if one of them is playing a game the user can join), and an orange circle appears on the Friend List icon. Finally, if the console's battery is close to being depleted, the light will glow red and flash.

Internet BrowserEdit

3ds browser

The Internet Browser uses the Yahoo! and Google search engines; users can choose which of the two to use at any time. The browser used is Netfront Browser NX. Users can type queries into a search bar or click the URL option to type in a web address. The Touch Screen is used to scroll through pages, which are divided between the top and bottom screens. While it supports a variety of web standards (HTML 4.01, XHTML 1.1, CSS 1, CSS 2.1, CSS 3 [some], DOM Levels 1-3, ECMAScript, XMLHttpRequest, and Canvas element [some]) and image formats (MPO, GIF, JPEG, PNG, BMP, and ICO [some may not be displayed]), the browser does not support any type of plug-in (e.g. Flash).

Step CounterEdit

The Step Counter works by using the 3DS's motion sensor to count the player's steps when the 3DS is closed. Every 100 steps gives the player one Play Coin, which can be used in the AR Games, StreetPass Mii Plaza, and compatible games (e.g. Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition). Players can receive a maximum of ten Play Coins per day and can hold a maximum of 300 on the 3DS system. Additionally, every step is logged in the Activity Log.

Downloadable softwareEdit

Nintendo VideoEdit

Main article: Nintendo Video
Nintendo Video logo

Nintendo Video is a free downloadable application that enables the 3DS to display videos in 3D, such as Threediots. It is the main application which a block named Cocktail Hour is shown on. Using the SpotPass feature, players can receive and view movie trailers, comedy clips, and music videos, all specially selected for their 3D functionality.[17] It is currently available in Japan, Europe,[18][19] and North America. Like the eShop, the service updates regularly. Users can have a maximum of four videos at a time, one of which is deleted with every update. However, starting October 20th, 2011, Nintendo released previously deleted videos on the eShop in North America, where they can be purchased as permanent additions to the 3DS menu.[20][21]


Swapnote (called Nintendo Letter Box outside of North America) is a free, downloadable messaging service that allows users to write notes (up to four pages) via the stylus and send them by either SpotPass or StreetPass to people registered in their Friend Lists (in the case of StreetPass, notes can be given to people who may not be on said list). Users can reply to each note once, and replies are restricted to one page. As users send notes to their friends, they gain access to a variety of features, including the ability to attach photos stored in an SD card, to create messages and art displayed in full 3D, to change the stationery on which notes are written, to view notes in a slide show format, and (using 15 Play Coins) to attach sound recordings from the Nintendo 3DS Sound application. The software can store a combined maximum of 3,000 notes and replies, and each note can have a maximum of 100 replies attached to it, with new notes/replies replacing old ones once this limit is reached (notes given "Favorite" status are not deleted, though replies are). The software is available in Japan, Europe, Australia and North America. An update for this software was released on July 5, 2012[22] in Japan, Europe and Australia which adds the feature to change the ink's colors by pressing Circle Pad either to the right or left, with North America receiving the feature shortly afterward. Later another update was released on April 2013 which enables different color inks on each page in one note and added some more features to the software, such as deleting multiple notes at once.


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