The Resurgence Of My Nintendo 3DS

The Resurgence Of My Nintendo 3DS

Their numbers don’t matter. Mine do. And my 3DS numbers — the numbers that show how much time I used Nintendo’s newest handheld day-by-day, month-by-month, throughout 2011 since the system launched, tell the story that matters most to me as a 3DS gamer.

They reveal that my 3DS was a dud when it launched, a dud through the summer and then, suddenly, it’s become a wonderful thing. I have the proof, because my 3DS has been tracking everything I’ve done with it.

I’ve shot two videos of my 3DS’ Activity Log, an app that is backed into every 3DS. If you have a 3DS, you have the app, too. You can use it to check the number of steps you’ve taken while carrying the device, as measured by the system’s on-board pedometer. And you can check the playing time for every game and app on the machine. Those two measurements display an interesting contrast between how much a person brings their 3DS with them and how much they use it — think of it as intent to play vs. actually playing it.

The two videos above tell the story, but here are some of the most provocative details: since I got the 3DS in mid-March I have carried it for 349,874 steps (plus all the steps when it was drained of power). I have played and used 76 DS and 3DS games and apps on it for a total of 97 hours and 49 minutes.

I barely touched the 3DS in the spring and summer. Since September, that changed. I started using it almost daily. The reason is simple: games. It’s not quite that simple, though. I’ve had a backlog of interesting games worth playing on my 3DS since I got the machine in March. Most of them have been DS games, things like Ghost Trick and the Professor Laytons. I only started getting 3DS games that I cared about digging into when Super Mario 3D Land hit. That wasn’t until November. What kept me from that DS backlog were the games and conveniences of my iPhone.

I’m a podcast-listener and a New York City subway-commuter. Through much of 2011, I filled my twice-daily half-hour subway rides with iPhone stuff. The subways are cramped and I have to hold on to a pole to keep my balance (I can’t get a seat!). So I would listen to podcasts and play iPhone games like Drop7 with one hand. I had neither the space to play my 3DS nor the motivation — due to a lack of enough compelling games — to surf the subway, elbow my way to a seat or otherwise find a way to play Nintendo’s handheld. In the fall, I’ve finally been that motivated. My 3DS is back in rotation.

The stats and charts don’t lie. My stats don’t lie. The 3DS was a waste of plastic for me for much of the year. I barely touched it. But now, past a big price cut, past a lot of naysaying, it’s finally come into its own. The chart matches my mood. I’m finally happy with my 3DS.

(If you must know Nintendo’s stats… They say they’ve sold 6.68 3DSes worldwide through the end of September. They don’t have US numbers through November yet, but a spokesperson told me: “We don’t have a final number yet, but we’re confident that after only eight months on the market, the Nintendo 3DS has already surpassed the first full-year sales total of the Nintendo DS (which was 2.37 million).” Those sales, of course, were helped by a price cut in the summer which reduced the machines cost by a third. And, for the record, Nintendo gave me my 3DS at launch, so I can’t say whether the system has been “worth it.” I can simply say, I’m much happier with it.)


  • “They reveal that my 3DS was a dud when it launched, a dud through the summer and then, suddenly, it’s become a wonderful thing.” – You know what that sounds like? The DS, the PSP, the GBA, etc. In my experience, handhelds generally only have one good game at launch and then it takes around a year for it to get some quality games.

  • Exactly the same story here. I bought the 3DS, played SFIV and Pilotwings a fair bit, carted it around for Streetpass, finished all the puzzles and played Find Mii through twice. Then, abruptly I stopped using it. No games.

    It’s since been revived over the last few months, with me getting around to DQIX, Pokemon Black and Heartgold. I also have Super Mario 3D land and Mario Kart 7 on order, which should be arriving today or tomorrow. I’ll get around to OoT sometime soon. Then there’s MGS3D coming next year!

    As disgruntled as I was with the 3DS and it’s launch, I knew (well, maybe hoped more than anything) it would turn around, given time. I lost hope several times, but I’m glad I still have it.

  • I’m glad its doing better and owners of the device are feeling like it was a worthy purchase but I’m still not bothering until the revision. The buyers remorse is just not worth it.

  • i am so glad i didn’t trade my 3DS in, because i was seriously thinking about it, i didn’t see the point in having a DS and a 3DS (DS has since been claimed by my boyfriend)
    Finally some good games are coming out on it, i hope we see even more soon

    • I would’ve taken that as a given and gone and slept on the couch! Give someone a brand new 3DS and two of the best games on the system – they’re gonna be playing it for a while. Here’s hoping you get some sleep tonight!

      • lol yeah good point… learned that lesson the hard way…

        gonna fight fire with fire tonight tho and just play BF3 till she decides it’s sleep time 😛

  • Yeah I have to admit I was pretty dirty on the 3DS when I got it but now I am actually becoming a fan.

    Thank god. I hate buyers remorse

  • I really enjoyed Dead or Alive Dimensions. Still play around with my 3ds, but more the DS games I never bought (never bothered with a DS.) Always been a sony fan, but enjoy my 3ds as well.

  • I own all current home and handheld consoles, and a lot of old ones too, so it’s inevitable that all of them will go through down time every now and then. *tries to remember the last time I played my PSP*

  • 3DS is getting a lot of love at the moment; especially with the Zen Pinball – it is fantastic. Mario Kart and Land are excellent too – would be playing it more if it weren’t for Skyrim… gotta say that the 3D on those games to much to enhance them.

    Did I mention the Zen pinball?

  • I hate how people keep saying that the 3DS launch was a massive failure – it was actually more successful than the original DS launch

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