Nintendo discontinues the 3DS, marking the end of the DS era

Two screen handheld line persisted for 16 years and brought some of the best first party games ever

Nintendo 3DS

Nintendo 3DS

Credit: Nintendo

Nintendo has discontinued its line of 3DS and 2DS handhelds, bringing an end to production of its DS line of two-screen devices.

As reported by The Verge, Nintendo’s Japanese website still has page listings for the games consoles but each is listed as “out of production”. Nintendo’s US site has erased all mention of the 3DS line completely.

At the time of writing, Nintendo Australia’s site has not changed and still lists the SRPs for the 2DS, New 2DS XL, New 3DS and New 3DS XL. As you can see, the consoles’ name became quite convoluted after 16 years on the market.

2004’s Nintendo DS was a slow-burn revelation. Released while the Game Boy Advance SP was still selling by the truckload and a year before the last Game Boy Micro in 2005, the two-screen console launched with a port of Super Mario 64 and weird titles such as The Urbz: Sims in the City. It even had a Game Boy Advance slot in the bottom for backwards compatibility as it rode the transition to relevance.

The console launched in Australia and New Zealand on 24 February 2005 (for AU$199 and NZ $249), quite a time after the US launch in November 2004. By 2006, the console was a worldwide hit.

The best-selling games of all time for the original version of the DS are Nintendogs and Brain Age, titles that look niche at first but encouraged a whole new style of interaction with 3D graphics and stylus input.

Nintendo 3DSCredit: Nintendo
Nintendo 3DS

Against gaming logic, the DS far outsold Sony’s technologically superior PSP series, with Nintendo repeating the feat it had managed in selling the monochrome Game Boy against colour screen competitors in the early 1990s.

Over the years, Nintendo introduced updates to the hardware in the DS Lite, DSi, DSi XL, and then the current crop of 3DS and 2DS consoles. The first 3DS launched in 2010 and used stereoscopic 3D to give the illusion of depth in the screen without the need for 3D glasses. Its effects were wildly variable game-to-game, but it’s widely accepted that Nintendo improved the tech in 2015’s badly named New 3DS and subsequent versions. 

As with every Nintendo console though, it is the incredible games that outshine the sometimes-questionable hardware. The original console’s Mario Kart DS, Advance Wars: Dual Strike, Pokémon Black and White, and the amazing Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars offered a wide range of portable fun.

The 3DS continued to shine with classics such as Super Mario 3D Land, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Mario Kart 7, and Metroid: Samus Returns. Nintendo does lean heavily on its own games to hold up the consoles, but games like Bravely Default and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney ensured there were tons of third-party alternatives to fill your time.

Nintendo is now likely to concentrate on the sequel to the Switch. The Switch Lite managed to make the console smaller and offer a handheld-only experience, so perhaps we’ll see a smaller version yet take the place of the DS. For today, we’re going to reminisce about the DS games of old and maybe check eBay for a classic console at a good price before they become even harder to find. 

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By Henry Burrell

PC World
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