3DS: The Border House guide to Nintendo’s new handheld

Nintendo held a press release today, finally releasing lots of juicy tidbits about their new portable.  The 3DS is the next installment in the DS line of handhelds, and looks to be an expensive way to get your gaming in on the go.  We have been pulling together the details from around the web and have a full guide here for you.

Release Date:

The release date for the 3DS is February 26, 2011 (Japan), March 25, 2011 (Europe) and March 27th, 2011 (U.S).


The 3DS will be priced at $249, making it an expensive option for handheld gamers.


Like its predecessors, the 3DS features two screens.  The top screen is a full 3D screen with a resolution of 800 x 240.  It does not require 3D glasses in order to see the 3D effect.  The bottom screen is a touch screen without 3D, and has a resolution of 320 x 240.

The 3DS has three total cameras, all of which are 0.3 megapixel.  Two are located on the outside of the device with the ability to take 3D photos, and one is facing the player on the top of the device with the ability to take 2D photos and video.

In addition to the standard directional pad, there will also be a new analog circle button similar to other home consoles.

It also contains a gyroscope, pedometer, and accelerometer, capable of making games more interactive but potentially more difficult to play for those with disabilities.  At this time, it’s not clear whether these features will be required for some games or if they will be able to be toggled off.

The battery will last 3-5 hours while playing 3DS games, and 5-8 hours for regular DS games.

Color options will be either Aqua Blue or Cosmo Black.

Here is a video preview of the 3DS hardware:

Major Features:

The 3DS will be backwards compatible with all DS and DSi games.  You will also be able to transfer your digital purchases made on other 3DS’s or DSi devices to the 3DS.  There will be extensive anti-piracy technology that will supposedly prevent gamers from using flash cart modifications to pirate 3DS games.

A Virtual Console service will allow players to download old Gameboy and Gameboy Color games via built-in wi-fi.  There will also be 3D games available on this service.

The multiplayer features of the 3DS are upgraded from the previous DS models.  The device features multiplayer over local network connections or over the internet.  Unlike the DS which required a friend code to be exchanged for each game, the 3DS will have only one friend code which will work for all games.  The 3DS features sophisticated wi-fi hotspot seeking connectivity, and the ability to passively download and share gaming information with other 3DS players (such as your Mii avatar).  These features do have the option to opt-out for those who are uncomfortable with realtime sharing of gaming information.

The 3DS will be capable of playing 3D movies, and Nintendo has worked out deals with Warner Brothers, Disney, and DreamWorks to bring 3D movies to the device.


The 3Ds comes with a wealth of preinstalled and downloadable software.

The first is the ability to view the online status of your friends and know what they’re playing at any time.  If a friend is playing the same game as you at the same time, the light at the top of the device will glow orange.

The 3DS features multitasking, in which you can have multiple applications open at the same time.

A full video walkthrough of many of the built in software including photo merging, friend status, augmented reality, and Mii creation is available:

Game Releases:

There will be three titles available at launch: Nintendogs + Cats, Steel Diver, and Pilotwings Resort.  There will then be a launch window in which games will be released each Tuesday starting on March 27th and ending on June 7 (coinciding with E3).

The following games will be released in North America during the “launch window”:

Asphal 3D (Ubisoft)
Bust-a-Move Universe (Square Enix)
Combat of Giants: Dinosaurs 3D (Ubisoft)
Crush 3D (Sega)
Dead or Alive Dimensions (Tecmo Koei)
Dual Pen Sport (Namco Bandai)
Lego Star Wars 3: The Clone Wars (LucasArts)
Madden NFL Football (EA Sports)
Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D (Konami)
Rabbids Travel in Time (Ubisoft)
Rayman 3D (Ubisoft)
Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D (Capcom)
Ridge Racer 3D (Namco Bandai)
Samurai Warriors Chronicles (Tecmo Koei)
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked (Atlus)
The Sims 3 (EA)
Super Monkey Ball 3D (Sega
Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition (Capcom)
Thor: God of Thunder (Sega)
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Shadow Wars (Ubisoft)
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell 3D (Ubisoft)

Nintendo is also working on the following first party titles: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, Animal Crossing, Mario Kart, Paper Mario, Star Fox 64 3D.   These games do not have a release date yet.  More than 30 3DS games should release by June. Here is a video preview of Zelda:

Will you be buying the 3DS when it launches?

About Tami Baribeau

Lead Editor and co-founder of The Border House, feminist, gamer, lover of social media, technology, and virtual worlds. Pansexual, equestrian, dog lover, social game studio director and producer. Email me here and follow me on Twitter!
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29 Responses to 3DS: The Border House guide to Nintendo’s new handheld

  1. NonCon says:

    Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked (Atlus) – *elated gasp*

    Launch lineup looks pretty disappointing from what I’ve seen, but other non-launch games and such have me interested. If I don’t buy it at launch, expect me to buy it near launch. Besides, launch lineups aren’t the best judge of a console’s quality.

  2. Denis Farr says:

    I’ll likely hold out until a game releases in which I have an actual interest. Thus far, the launch titles announced have yet to enthrall me. Also curious to hear on when they’ll firmly give a response to how their regions will work (there have been some responses, but nothing concrete).

    I will note that while I had no problems seeing with it while testing it at E3, I would suggest anyone interested try a demo of it. There have been reports that it will cause headaches and can cause issues with eye strain. As far as accessibility goes, the device itself may be able to account for some of it, but I still believe it will lie largely in the hands of the developers to make sure it’s utilized well. It would not surprise me if, in a quest to get as much use out of its gadgets as possible, there are a handful of games that are painfully inaccessible.

  3. gunthera1 says:

    I am not sure if the technology will work with my eyes so I am looking forward to the inevitable demo kiosks this spring.

    I would like to mention the wonderful 3DS promo video that Amazon has on their website right now. (click on the video under the picture of the 3DS box)
    It shows a diverse set of people playing with the 3DS for the first time. I loved it because it shows adults playing with a video game system and it included a diverse cast both in terms of gender and race.

  4. Russ says:

    It is crazy awesome looking but 3-5 hours of battery life? Seriously?

    • That’s not particularly worse than say, a laptop. I would suspect it’s one of those things that you can’t really improve on much because of the size of the thing.

      • NonCon says:

        If I had to guess it’s simply that using the 3D function uses that much more power. You could probably make it last a little longer by turning that down when the battery is low.

    • Maverynthia says:

      “crazy awesome”? You mean “super awesome” right?

    • Brinstar says:

      Russ: Please remember that we do not permit abelist language on this blog. This post may help you understand why “crazy” is a word that marginalises people with mental disabilities. In future, please refrain from using slurs such as this. Thanks.

  5. oddboyout says:

    I still haven’t fallen in with the 3D craze. Besides, my DS Lite still works great. :)

  6. Kimiko says:

    Yeah, the launch games all look rather meh. I think I’ll wait a few months at least before buying a 3DS until something good shows up.
    The Japanese launch games included a new ToToMono game. I wish Atlus would translate the other games of the series. I loved Class Of Heroes.

  7. Robin says:

    I’ll be getting a Japanese 3DS at some point, because the region locking (which they’ve been frustratingly vague about) means that I have to pick between English and Japanese, and these days I play more Japanese games. No more awesome Ace Attorney localisations for me :(

    Also, if you think $250 is expensive you should see the European prices – €250/$337 and £230/$368 for the UK!

  8. Jen says:

    I won’t be buying it because I can’t tolerate cameras. I’ll be holed up in my house for a few weeks after it launches. If I couldn’t do that I don’t know what I would do.

  9. Maverynthia says:

    I think I’ll wait until someone can allow for region-free play of games and for modified games. I’m too sick and tired of being stuck with bad games because I couldn’t demo them, or games with English only audio that’s so bad you hope the EU release will have both voices. ATLUS is especially notorious for being arrogant about English only voice acting and bad translations.

    Most of the games I have bought have been because I could try them out.

    • EmmyG says:

      Um… If you want to try out a console game, that’s what rental is for. While I definitely appreciate the desire to try before you buy, the fact that it’s not offered doesn’t actually grant entitlement to download ROMs. :) That may not have been what you were implying, but it sounded like it.

      Also, console games, unlike PC games, can generally be traded or resold, allowing you to regain value for things you bought that turned out to be not as great as you hoped they would be.

      • Maverynthia says:

        SaGa 2 was not released in English. I have been playing it in English.
        Soma Bringer was not released in English I have been playing it in English. Same with Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side 1.
        Persona 3 and 4, Arc Rise Fantasia, Tales of Symphonia/Abyss/etc., Final Fantasy IV remake, Final Fantasy XII/XIII and many others were released without Japanese voices.
        A rental place won’t solve this problem.

        Also, most rental places are so expensive that by the time you’ve rented a few games you already have the price of one of the games. Heck, GameFly is $20 a month and you MIGHT get the game you have in your queue sometimes next Tuesday of next month of next YEAR!

        It’s a bit classist to assume people can even afford dropping money on a rental, or even has a means to get to the local rental shop. You can’t even swap some games with friends because they are locked down by systems and such now (At lest I heard the PS3 had this).

  10. Jayle Enn says:

    I consider getting a handheld every so often, but then recall that I had maybe six or seven games total between the two consoles that I’ve bought. I don’t keep close track of upcoming titles, and the only stores that sell console/handheld games are too far away to make them impulse purchases, so I’m pretty much best served by sticking with the ‘ol PC.

  11. KA101 says:

    [I’m not accusing anyone of making the comparison discussed; I’m raising it on my own and allowing that the issues have significantly different weights. Apologies in advance.]

    I’m not sure whether it’s appropriate to compare the requirements that games be confined to a particular region and that goods (and thus jobs) be free to be moved wherever. Feels like another illustration of trader hypocrisy to me.


  12. Doug S. says:

    It might be a while before I pick one up, but Nintendogs Plus Cats is tempting, because I’m absolutely crazy about cats…

    • Jayle Enn says:

      I’m not sure I see how a Nintencats game would work. The cat would lie there asleep most of the time, and have a fifty-fifty chance of getting annoyed or purring when you tried to stroke it with the stylus. Maybe drawing circles to turn doorknobs so you can let it in and out, over and over again?

      (I kid, I kid. I love cats, and my roommate has two, but my study is right by the front door so I get to let the one in and out all the time.)

  13. EmmyG says:

    Having heard that it’s going to be completely region-locked, it’s an absolute no for me.

    I travel. I take my DS with me. Airports expect this and have not only game shops but vending machines stocked with DS games. There’s no way I’m buying a different version of the expensive handheld for every region I happen to travel through.

  14. wayne says:


    Nintendo, you can kiss my ass.

  15. 8mph Ansible says:

    Think I’ll wait for: at least a dozen titles I want, a longer battery life, a second version (3DS lite), and/or something to be done about the region lock (legally or… *shifty eyes*) before I give it some real consideration.


    • Maverynthia says:

      I really wish they went with the PS3 style on this. Making it up to the game companies to decide. From what I hear not a lot of companies use the function and a few games from China are in English are region free :3

      • Denis Farr says:

        Yeah, it’s much like with Blu-Ray, where region coding is present if they want it, but most don’t bother. The only catch is that if you want DLC, the account you have on PSN (and I imagine with Nintendo), has to match the region of the game you have. -.-

  16. Laurentius says:

    250$ – just wow… this price alone is enough for big NO from me, add 3D garbage and other mentioned features and lack of game titles… no way Nintendo.

  17. DSimon says:

    I’ve already pre-ordered mine. It is a shame about the region locking, but it’s not a huge practical matter for me as I only speak English, and (luckily) portable games seem to rarely have voice overs. The 3D part is cool, but honestly I’m mostly looking forward to it for the high resolution screen and the inevitable flood of software for years to come.

    The “launch window” list looks pretty sparse, but there are so many games I’m looking forward to a little farther out, especially Pilotwings Resort; it’s been 15 years since Pilotwings 64, and it’s about time for another game in the series! I also have to admit that I’m very interested in the Ocarina of Time remake; shame on Nintendo for repackaging games over and over, but at least they repackage really good games, and this time it looks like they’re adding a fair amount of new content, ala Mario 64 DS.

    Also, there are rumors of a new Pikmin game being developed for the system… *drool*.

  18. Doug S. says:

    I’m disappointed that there’s no Advance Wars title in the list. I bought my DS in order to play Advance Wars: Dual Strike…

  19. no one important says:

    I will buy a 3DS at launch, but I will mostly be using it to play DS games. Which is not dissimilar from what I did with my DS when I first bought it (spent most of my time playing Yggdra Union and Fire Emblem).

  20. lemurcat says:

    I reserved one at Yodobashi Camera. I guess I will get Nintendogs + cats and maybe check out Professor Layton, which I hear is good but haven’t played any previous incarnations, but I was a bit disappointed with the lineup of games available on launch day.

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