Goodbye Nintendo 3DS, you're gone but not forgotten

Nintendo 3ds Discontinued
Nintendo 3ds Discontinued (Image credit: Rebecca Spear / iMore)

This morning, I woke up to the news that the Nintendo 3DS handheld gaming system had officially been discontinued. A feeling of sadness washed over me as I thought back on all of the joy my 3DS brought me over the years.

Now, this might seem silly in a time when the Nintendo Switch is thriving and everyone is frantically trying to get their hands on the PS5 and Xbox Series X. However, I can't think of current-gen consoles without thinking of the 3DS since this small handheld gaming system helped me bring my husband back to gaming.

When I was in college, I temporarily swore off video games. I made this decision after I almost flunked a final because I couldn't stop playing Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. I figured since school is expensive, I should probably focus on my studies and could return to gaming once I got my degree. A few years later, I met my now husband and discovered that he'd done the same exact thing.

After we both graduated and were in our first year of marriage, I started thinking about all of those games I hadn't been able to play over the past few years. Unfortunately, we were really tight on money and couldn't afford any of the big consoles. I came to find out that my husband had actually felt pressured into thinking that he needed to give up gaming completely since he was an adult — ridiculous, I know.

Pokemon X and Y

Pokemon X and Y (Image credit: Game Freak)

Then one day, I was wasting time online and I saw the announcement video for Pokémon X and Y. I hadn't played the last two Pokémon games and I was dying to get back into the series. I also saw the wealth of 3DS games that had already come out and even learned that the system could play DS games as well. I was dying to make a purchase, but once again, money issues reared their ugly head.

Then I had an idea — Christmas was just a few months away. I knew we didn't have a large budget, but I approached my husband with a proposition: What if we spent all of our alloted holiday money on two 3DS consoles and a copy of X and Y? He was very hesitant to the idea at first. After all, this was a lot of money, more than we had budgeted for ourselves. But then I showed him the gameplay footage for Pokémon X and Y as well as the library of DS and 3DS games. Memories of playing Pokémon as a kid flooded his mind as he looked at these upgraded graphics. He was sold.

The wonderful little 3DS handheld served as our gateway drug back into the world of gaming.

We spent that winter break watching the original Pokémon animated series, reminiscing on our childhood Pokémon obsessions, and playing our own copies of the latest game. It was heaven. In the months following, we slowly started acquiring other 3DS games.

There were so many wonderful titles on this small system that I never seemed to run out of things to play. I experienced Fire Emblem for the first time, caught up on all of the previous Pokémon games, checked out Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, and revisted both The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask with upgraded graphics.

About a year after that, my husband had outgrown the silly notion that video games weren't for adults and we started looking into the Nintendo Switch, PS4 and Xbox One. Today we own all three of these consoles and have played dozens of games across all platforms. Honestly, it's all thanks to the wonderful little 3DS handheld that served as our gateway drug back into the world of gaming. I love you, Nintendo 3DS. Thanks for all you've done.

Rebecca Spear
Gaming Editor

Gaming aficionado Rebecca Spear is iMore's dedicated gaming editor with a focus on Nintendo Switch and iOS gaming. You’ll never catch her without her Switch or her iPad Air handy. If you’ve got a question about Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, or just about any other Nintendo series check out her guides to help you out. Rebecca has written thousands of articles in the last six years including hundreds of extensive gaming guides, previews, and reviews for both Switch and Apple Arcade. She also loves checking out new gaming accessories like iPhone controllers and has her ear to the ground when it comes to covering the next big trend.