Freelance writing isn’t all its cracked up to be. Don’t get me wrong, it definitely has its upsides, such as working on your own time to some degree. However, it also has its downsides; that very same lack of structure, for example, can make the whole thing feel like one job after another, creating one big slurry of work which needs to be done to keep the lights on.
It, as they say, is a living. Sometimes.
Recently, some work I’d taken on by request of a client (no, I’m not saying who it is) didn’t quite pan out. Left to do with it as I please, I figured I’d run it here.
I’d been asked to do an article called “12 Reasons the Nintendo 3DS is the Best Console for Christmas,” wherein I’d describe some of the more positive aspects of the system like its game library, console-specific features, and so on. As more work is good and I do know the system fairly well, I gladly took it on.
I compiled a list of reasons, but I could not in good faith put forth an article about why purchasing the Nintendo 3DS was a good idea without addressing the elephant in the room: The New Nintendo 3DS, which is currently available in Japan and Australia, and is apparently due for a release here sometime next year. I pushed for “11 Reasons the Nintendo 3DS is the Best Console for Christmas (And One Why It Isn’t)”, but that was turned down and somehow the concept got shifted to a more inflammatory (in my opinion) “10 Reasons Nintendo’s 3DS Beats the PS4 and Xbox One Every Time.” (Hence the quotes in the title.)
Work is work, so I went along with it. After all, it’s fair to say that the Nintendo 3DS does indeed beat Sony and Microsoft’s next-gen offerings in some areas, just as theirs beats the Nintendo 3DS in others. So my plan was to highlight those areas, and people could discuss it in the comments, like you do.
Following is my first draft of the article. Prior to this, I’ve admittedly been feeling like my writing has become too stiff and rigid as of late, so I tried to relax a little with this one and have a little fun with it. Console wars are silly, so I’d take a few jabs in the spirit of the headline, but nothing too mean-spirited (I hope). I love Nintendo, there’s no question of that, but I enjoy Microsoft and Sony’s output as well, and I’d still love to get my hands on a PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, or Xbox One.
With that in mind, I got to work…
Note: Rather than the “one entry per page” format that the site this was written for uses, I’ve just put everything together. So sit back, scroll down, and please enjoy!
We’re just one week away from Christmas, and everyone is running amok to find just the perfect gift for that special someone.. or for themselves, if a good deal and opportunity presents itself. Hey, that limited edition action figure Little Jimmy wants can’t be that limited, right?
Naturally, several of those special someones (or the others) are fans of playing video games. And why wouldn’t they be? After all, the still relatively fledgling industry is growing at such an exponential rate that the entire upper tier is ready to collapse like a cake in the oven at the drop of a loud noise any day now. Who wouldn’t want a piece of that action?
That just leaves the eternally burning question in everyone’s mind, searing the brain like a branding iron: “Which system is the best one to get?”
Truth be told, it’s something of a false dichotomy: There is no truly “best” system, only the system that’s best for the person playing it. If you’re looking for first-person shooters or sports simulations which sell themselves by the realism of [Note to Self: Find some popular athlete’s name and put it here. –Me]’s sweat pouring down his (or her) brow, then certainly, Xbox One or PlayStation 4 are where you’re going to want to look. If declaring yourself the latest descendent of a mythical “master race” who are champion hunters (of bargains), then a Steam-ready PC is undoubtedly your choice.
On the other hand, if you want something different, something portable but lacking the stigma of penny-candy styled gaming provided by mobile… then maybe what you want is the Nintendo 3DS.
Here are ten fields where Nintendo’s three-dimensional handheld excel.
10. Games That Are Great For Relaxing
Believe it or not, gaming can be a rather intense pastime. There is a lot of investment one puts into meticulously plotting their progress, honing their reflexes, and ultimately overcoming the challenges placed before them– sometimes not even deliberately, as some games do wind up rushed out the door and you’ve either got to deal with what lies before you or take it to a store that accepts trade-ins, where you might wind up with a stick of chewing gum, some washers, and a ball of pocket lint in return for your $70 investment.
Or maybe your job and/or social life just sucks. Either way, you need a break. You need to just sit back, relax, and escape to someplace that exists only as long as you want it to.
That’s where some of these types of game come in. The Nintendo 3DS has a variety of titles which are fun and relaxing, low-pressure affairs which still offer players a since of reward and achievement. Games such as Pilotwings Resort, which offers mellow tunes as you choose to face challenges with planes, rocket belts, or hang gliders, or simply fly around freely and see the sights during the day, dusk, or nighttime.
Or Animal Crossing: New Leaf, where you take on the role of mayor and run your small country town as you see fit, collecting fossils and meeting new neighbors. There’s also the recent Tomodachi Life, where you get to populate an island with Miis of your friends, family, and even celebrities as they form their own relationships and get into all sorts of zany antics.
It’s all event, and no quicktime. Just nice, relaxing fun.
9. Great Role Playing Games
While other platforms such as the PlayStation 4 are not without their own role playing games to partake in, let’s face it: If you want to play Final Fantasy VII again, you either want to do so through new high definition visuals, or you’ve got several other ways to play it already.
The Nintendo 3DS, however, has quite a robust variety of RPGs just waiting to be enjoyed. Suppose you enjoy Final Fantasy, but aren’t so keen on the more recent turns the series has taken. Square Enix themselves have just the answer for you in the form of Bravely Default, a clever game in their classic mold with a unique risk-reward battle system and a sequel on the way.
Maybe you prefer something with a more familiar face? Paper Mario: Sticker Star and Mario & Luigi: Dream Team are both there to whisk you away to a world you might know well from the popular plumber’s numerous other adventures.
Want something completely different? Fantasy Life allows you to choose the sort of adventure you want to have in a fantasy world by letting you choose your own life. Want to become a world-renowned chef? A lumberjack? A fisherman? A hunter? All of these, and more? Numerous options are at your disposal.
And of course, while some would say it’s pushing the term “RPG,” there is The Legend of Zelda in both classic top-down (A Link Between Worlds) and 3D (Ocarina of Time) versions, with Majora’s Mask on the way next year.
8. Different Styles and Decorations
Having a customized console is kind of nice, but can often run up an already hefty price tag for something that’s just going to sit on the shelf in your entertainment center, seldom looked at but for the times you need to switch disks or fiddle with the power cord.
Handhelds, on the other hand, are a lot more personal. Fortunately, the customization options are also that much more plentiful and cheap, too.
The Nintendo 3DS, as you can see above, has all sorts of different styles, allowing you to pick out the one that best says who you are whenever you pull it out to play with friends or strangers. Are you a Mario fan, or perhaps Pokemon is your bag? Zelda? Fire Emblem? Animal Crossing? Heck, there’s even been a Metal Gear Solid “snake skin” version available.
Or if you just want a basic color, such as red or blue? You’re covered there, too.
7. Comes In Different Forms For All Types Of Players
When it comes to consoles, there’s something of a “one size fits all” mentality. When the original Xbox launched, you were pretty much stuck with “The Duke” as your gargantuan controller of choice until such a time as Microsoft saw fit to release the smaller controller they’d developed for foreign markets here instead.
There are other controllers, of course, but more often than not, they come from third-parties. And unless you dropped a sweet chunk of change on something like a professional fight stick, then more often than not, no one wants to be stuck with the third-party controller. That’s usually the “oh, we don’t normally have this many players, so you can just use this” controller.
One almost expects the problem to be worse with handhelds, but in the case of the Nintendo 3DS? There’s quite a bit of variety so that players can find just the right one for them.
Perhaps the standard is just right for you: Foldable, provides 3D visuals, not too big or chunky. On the other hand, maybe you have larger hands, or are just more comfortable with a bigger screen. In that case, the Nintendo 3DS XL is what excels.
Or perhaps you’re buying for a youngster who doesn’t appreciate the value of a dollar and can’t quite handle the whole 3D thing with their still-developing eyes? Conversely, maybe 3D doesn’t play well with you, and you don’t want to spend a whole lot for fancy bells and whistles. In either case, the Nintendo 2DS gives you all the gaming fun in a streamlined, durable form at a lower price that you can teach the dog to bring to you on command (not that we’d recommend it).
6. There Are Numerous Deals And Bundles Out There
It should go without saying that unless you know the right people, you’re going to end up paying a lot more for a PlayStation 4 or an Xbox One than you are a Nintendo 3DS. Maybe there’s something about those experiences that make it worth every penny, and price is not an option.
Or maybe you’re more frugal, and as long as you’re gaming, you’re happy.
If the latter is the case, then it’s hard to go wrong with the Nintendo 3DS. At half or less than half of the price of the next wave of consoles, you’re free to explore numerous options. What’s more, a lot of the choices out there even come with games included, adding to the value of your dollar.
With so many choices, it’s hard to go wrong.
5. Plays The Entire* Nintendo DS Library
The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One have been out for just over a year now. Meanwhile, the Nintendo 3DS has been out since early in 2011– nearly four years. Guess which has more games.
Making things more interesting is the lack of backwards compatibility found in both next generation consoles. All those Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 games, all of those Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Store downloads? With all but a small handful of exceptions (primarily in the case of the latter), we hope you held on to your old system, because that’s the only way you can still make good on your investments.
The Nintendo 3DS, however? In addition to its own reputable library of titles, it has access to the entire* Nintendo DS library of hits, too. That is a decade of great games you have to choose from, ready to be played on the go.
In fact, the library goes even further back, which brings us to…
* Okay, there are a few exceptions, i.e. games such as Guitar Hero which made use of the Game Boy Advance slot on the first two iterations of Nintendo DS hardware. Those are a lost cause, admittedly.
4. Virtual Console
Ah, the Virtual Console. When the games of today just aren’t enough; when you want to relive, rediscover, or even try something you missed the first time around, that’s when you turn to the Virtual Console.
It’s here where you’ll find a great selection of classic Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Nintendo Entertainment System, SEGA Game Gear, and even SEGA Genesis and arcade games, ready to download. Super Mario Bros., Metroid, Castlevania, Mega Man, Double Dragon, The Legend of Zelda, and even Sonic the Hedgehog from a time when speaking his name didn’t immediately summon multi-quintillion posts of “The Sonic Cycle.”
It’s all here (well, a lot of it is, anyway), whether you want to relive some golden memories or indoctrinate the next generation into how games used to be, when success was measured in quarters rather than millions.
What’s more, games which once seemed unfair or insurmountable now have the sting taken out of them by the Virtual Console’s updated features. Now you can create a Restore Point (i.e. a Save State) to prevent yourself from being set back too much when taking on some of those “Nintendo Hard” classics.
3. Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS
Occasionally imitated, never duplicated. Super Smash Bros. is the kind of game that can only happen on a Nintendo platform.
Known and loved the world over, Super Smash Bros. is the once-per-generation opportunity to round up all of Nintendo’s biggest icons– as well as a few from other companies who have had great significance to them over the years– and have them just beat the holy hell out of one-another in all-ages friendly slobberknockers for up to four players.
But wait, “once per generation”? Well, not any more; in addition to a new Wii U installment in the series, a Nintendo 3DS version has brought the thrill of Smash to portables for the first time ever. With the same roster and many similar features as the Wii U version, plus a host of unique stages and modes all its own, you can now have a Smashing good time anywhere.
Oh, and if you have a Wii U and that version of the game? You can use the Nintendo 3DS as an extra controller– great for when you want to fill out an eight-player battle but don’t have enough GameCube and other controllers to go around.
Okay, okay, fine. Whether they play it or not, there is probably not a gamer alive who doesn’t know what Pokemon is, it’s that huge. While not the juggernaut it once was upon its debut, it’s nonetheless become a fixture in pop culture, like Elvis or WWE. Odds are that even your grandmother who can’t pronounce it any other way than “Pokey men” at least have some idea of what you’re talking about.
“It’s that thing with the yeller rodent with the lightning rod up its whazoo, in’t it?”
Anyway, the Nintendo 3DS is pretty much THE place to get the Pokemon experience. Even among Nintendo’s own platforms, there is no real choice other than their handhelds. To this day, there have indeed been console Pokemon games, but never a proper Pokemon console game– that is, the full RPG experience made to be presented on a television screen (no one is counting the Super Game Boy or Game Boy Player, so get out of here with that noise).
On the Nintendo 3DS, though, there have been two “generations” of Pokemon titles already in Pokemon X, Pokemon Y, Pokemon Alpha Sapphire, and Pokemon Omega Ruby. There will likely be more next year, and if you throw in the Nintendo DS titles, there are three more, and that’s without counting other worthwhile spin-offs such as Pokemon Conquest.
If you want to play new Pokemon, you want to play Nintendo 3DS. It’s just that simple.
1. Nintendo Exclusives
If there is one theme that has persisted throughout this article, however subtly (or not), it’s that the Nintendo 3DS has something that neither the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One will ever have: Nintendo games.
Mario, Zelda, Pokemon, Super Smash Bros., Donkey Kong, Professor Layton, Pilotwings, Kid Icarus, Metroid… the list goes on and on. Some will argue that Nintendo doesn’t have the greatest third-party support, and while that may be true, they aren’t completely lacking there, particularly on the Nintendo 3DS. But their greatest strength is that of their own first-party properties and titles, and the quality they bring to their own home-grown library.
It’s what separates Nintendo from their competition, and while there is a tough choice between getting a PlayStation 4 or an Xbox One, for many, it’s a question of what to get alongside a Nintendo, rather than instead of.
Of course, it’s also worth noting that while there are plenty of reasons to get a Nintendo 3DS now (ten, as you can see), there is one good reason to hold off: Nintendo will soon be releasing a “New Nintendo 3DS”, which is already available in Japan and Australia. It’s not a successor so much as an upgrade of sorts (think “Nintendo DSi to Nintendo DS”, rather than “Nintendo 3DS to Nintendo DS”), with just a bit more power, a right-hand analog nub, and a few other features. Unless something there appeals to you, though, you should be safe in getting one of the current versions.
Honorary Mention: StreetPass
It didn’t feel right to leave this off entirely, and while not worth the purchase of the system to most people, the joy of receiving tags from other Nintendo 3DS owners and using the data transmitted to reach your goals in a handful of mini-games is addictive and not to be underestimated.
So there are our ten places where the Nintendo 3DS excels. Now, being the internet, this is presumably the part where you ignore everything said about the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One being great in their own ways and try to nail our proverbial hide to the wall and devalue our worth as human beings through the power of social media. Of course, if you have a well-reasoned argument or disagreement, or even concur with what we’ve said, we’re much happier to see those comments.
The end result was right around 3,000 words. Not insignificant, but I had a good time getting there, and so I submitted the article and waited.
And it got rejected.
Apparently, the “blog-like tone” wasn’t appreciated for this piece (others have used such tones on the site, but whatever). Confusingly enough, the editor thought focusing more on the “console wars” themselves was the way to follow on the title, though apparently saying that the other games didn’t have “relaxing games” in the first entry was too much so. (I’m honestly not aware of anything comparable to Animal Crossing in terms of scope or popularity on the other consoles.)
Trying to get a better feel for what he wanted and if it called for a complete rewrite or not, I learned that he hadn’t actually read the article– just the intro and “select parts” of that first entry, nor could I get confirmation if changing “relaxing” to “calming” might work. In general, I was left to my own devices.