Word came this morning that Nintendo has discontinued production on the entire Nintendo 3DS family of hardware, ending the company's dedicated handheld gaming dynasty that extends back to the Game Boy era and, if you want to argue beyond that, the Game & Watch. Launched in 2011, the 3DS brought us all so many happy memories with stand-out titles such as Super Mario 3D Land, Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, Mario Kart 7, Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, Kirby: Planet Robobot, and I could basically fill the rest of this article just naming great game after great game. After a rocky overpriced start that eventually led to an early price cut and a handout of free Virtual Console games to 3DS Ambassadors, the 3DS never hit the heights of the DS line before it, but represents the culmination of Nintendo's handheld reign. After all, the 3DS can play not only 3DS games, but also DS games and, via Virtual Console, some of the best hits ever for the Nintendo Entertainment System, Super NES, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Sega Game Gear, and if you're one of the aforementioned ambassadors, Game Boy Advance. My god, what a library to have all in one place. We'll never see anything like it again.
I got my first taste of what the 3DS could do back at E3 2010. Some of the tech demos and sample games Nintendo displayed at their booth never actually became full retail products. I still have fond memories of playing 3D versions of Yoshi's Island and Mega Man 2. I bought my shiny black 3DS at launch along with Pilotwings Resort which was the sort of launch window game you buy to ooh and ahh at for a few days, then put back in its case and never touch again once better games release. I carried my 3DS with me to E3 2011, collecting StreetPass tags and puzzle pieces from hundreds of people. I took it with me on trips, sat out on my condo's balcony playing Mario as the weather turned cooler, and stayed up late in bed vowing to just clear one more stage in Kirby Triple Deluxe before calling it a night. When Nintendo began releasing amiibo in 2014, I bought a 3DS amiibo reader so my aging system could take advantage of all of the scannable bonus content. Sadly, in 2016 my 3DS's battery began to wind down and could only hold a full charge for thirty minutes, so I upgraded to the New Nintendo 3DS and its world of benefits including a built-in amiibo reader, extra buttons that I don't think any game I own actually uses, and the ability to play Super NES Virtual Console games. I stopped carrying it around for StreetPass tags when the Nintendo Switch released in 2017 and everyone else stopped carrying their 3DS around too, and at best I could only count on still getting a few stray tags at the pinball and arcade festivals I attended. Today my New Nintendo 3DS is still powered up in its charging cradle by the bed, ready to go at a moment's notice. The last 3DS game I acquired was Kirby's Extra Epic Yarn as a holiday gift last year; incidentally, that's also the last Nintendo-published 3DS game to be released. Good night, 3DS, and thank you for all the fun. Switch: it's all up to you now.