As those of us who have been hauling around portable gaming hardware for years know, keeping track of stray game cards, accessories, and even the game system itself can be a daunting task. During the original Game Boy generation I had one of these to keep everything in its place, but modern times call for more compact solutions. Several different companies that produce carrying cases and bags for the Nintendo 3DS have offered up review samples of their latest wares, so it seems only proper to pit them all in combat with each other in an old fashioned carrying case fight club.
First into the ring from North America and places beyond: Mad Catz's Traveler Bag.
Mad Catz’s officially licensed Traveler Bag delivers a convenient storage and transport solution for the Nintendo 3DS and accessories. Featuring a sleek design and protective inner lining, this pleasant-to-touch carryall boasts dedicated storage pockets for 21 games and two styli. Compact and durable, the Traveler Bag will help ensure your handheld and favorite touch screen titles remain protected during your journeys.
The highlight of the Traveler Bag has to be the storage space for twenty-one 3DS (or regular DS) game cards. Games are kept tucked into place in snug pockets attached to a fold-out portion that Velcros neatly into place. Styli storage isn't all that important to me considering that I keep my stylus in the 3DS itself, but it's nice to have a place for extras. What confused me about the bag, however, is that I couldn't figure out how to fit the 3DS itself into it. I feel really foolish admitting this, but none of the compartments shaped by the divider would fit the system and still allow the case to close. Fortunately the divider is also Velcroed into place, so after making a little adjustment to the size of the largest compartment, the 3DS fit nicely. The remaining compartments found work carrying the power adapter (but not the charging cradle) and AR cards with room to spare. Carrying the case out into the world was easy enough, although I found myself being extra gentle with it. I wouldn't want to swing it around by the carrying handle nor drop it, but I do trust it to keep everything in its place and protect from spills, dust, and other elements that are just waiting to try and damage my new gadget. In the end, this bag meant for traveling may do better as an at-home storage solution.
Next in the ring from the United Kingdom (as in, my sample unit came from the UK, but you can get them internationally, too): Power A's Expedition Case.
The Nintendo 3DS Expedition Case gives you rugged 3D protection for your console on the move. This sturdy case offers resistance against knocks and impacts, with a stylish 3D artwork design! As the name implies, the Expedition 3DS Case is designed to protect your 3DS wherever you go. Not only is the distinctive eye catching design great to look at, it also provides protection to your 3DS case as it absorbs shocks and impacts with ease. Designed specifically for the Nintendo 3DS, this 3DS case will hold up to 6 extra games and 2 replacement styluses. Each of these has their own specific storage compartment to hold them securely in place, keeping them safe and ensuring they don't damage anything else inside the case.
While this manufacturer offers several kinds of 3DS case, I was most attracted to this model. It's smaller and more sturdy that the Mad Catz offering, but at the cost of being able to store less items: six games versus twenty-one and without room for any additional accessories beyond more backup styli space. This is a case that you load up with a few gaming favorites and toss into a backpack or purse (or, if you have the space, a really big pocket). I feel more confident about its solid construction, too, which makes me more likely to take it out into the world. It also sports an interesting textured surface which is more visual than functional, but it does add some character to the overall design.
So, in the end, which is the better storage option? It all depends on your needs. If you want to carry plenty of games and some additional goodies, then the Mad Catz bag is your best bet. However, if you're willing to sacrifice extra storage space for compact size and additional protection, than the Power A case won't do you wrong.