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Nintendo 3DS Launch Guide

by Annette Gonzalez on Mar 21, 2011 at 12:20 PM

After much anticipation, Nintendo’s 3DS is finally set to launch on March 27. Whether you’re getting ready to pick up your unit on Sunday, or are still on the fence about buying Nintendo’s latest handheld, we’ve put together a launch guide with everything you need to know about the 3DS.

At $249.99, the 3DS is the priciest portable Nintendo device to date, however aside from its glasses-free 3D capabilities, it comes with several accessories, applications, and features right out the box.

What’s in the Box?

Nintendo 3DS system (Plays 3DS, DS, and DSi software)
Charging Cradle
AC Adapter
3DS Stylus (can be adjusted to desired length)
2GB SD Memory Card
AR Cards
Operations manual, quick-start guide, other printed materials

For the full 3DS unboxing, click here.

Go on to Page 2 for details on 3DS features.

Notable Features

3D Photos

For 3D pics, the two outer cameras on the unit will snap two images – one for the left eye and one for the right. When both are combined they will appear as a 3D image. Users can choose between a number of lens options, photo timers, a leveler to help take a straight picture, slideshow options, and more. Like the DSi, you can edit photos by adding warp effects, stamps, and graffiti for customized snaps.

Music Player, Sound Recorder

Play music saved on your SD card (AAC files with .m4a, .mp4, and .3pg extensions, or MP3 files) or playback sounds recorded using the 3DS. You can also play your music and alter it with recorded sounds.

Mii Maker

Similar to Wii, you can create your own 3DS alter ego. This character can be used in select 3DS games that support the feature. You can snap a photo of your face with the unit that the system will use to generate a Mii based on your likeness, or you can create one from scratch.

AR Games

Using the outer cameras, the 3DS can read the included AR Cards to kick off the augmented reality experience causing a number of objects and characters to seemingly appear in your real life play space. Just place an AR Card on a flat surface, follow the on-screen instructions and a 3D menu will appear on that surface with the following offerings:

  • Archery: Shoot targets that appear on screen. When completed, this will unlock Mii Pics and AR Shot.
  • Star Pics: Place one of the included AR character cards in front of the outer cameras, and the corresponding character will appear, allowing you to take a photo of it in a variety of poses and angles. The 3DS includes cards for Mario, Link, Kirby, Samus, and Pikmin.
  • Mii Pics: Get your Mii ready for prime time by taking glamour shots of your character in different settings.
  • AR Shot: Hit a ball and move it into its respective goal. Completing this game will unlock two more secret games.
  • Face Raiders: Available in the Home menu, this shoot-em-up allows you to snap a pic of your face or faces of your friends that will appear in-game. Face Raiders will take the image and paste it onto flying enemies that you can blast out of your real world play space.

Activity Log

Similar to the Wii’s Message Board system – but far more streamlined in presentation – the log records your play times with each of your titles. The log also tracks the amount of steps taken while carrying the 3DS around with the system’s pedometer feature.

Nintendo eShop

Similar to the DSi’s Shop Channel, you can purchase and download 3DS software, DSiWare, and Virtual Console titles via Wi-Fi. Games purchased on the DSi are fully compatible with the 3DS.


This feature allows the 3DS to automatically communicate with a nearby Wi-Fi connection to access the internet and transmit data. The 3DS can transmit free software, 3D photos, StreetPass notifications, system updates, or other info, while playing a game or when in sleep mode.


StreetPass will automatically search and communicate with other 3DS systems within range to exchange info such as Mii data or game records. There’s also the Mii Plaza that uses the StreetPass functionality to populate your plaza with Miis of other 3DS owners. Note that even if you’re not actively playing a game you can still exchange data in sleep mode. If you don’t want to enable data exchange with others at all this feature can be disabled.

Go on to Page 3 for launch games!

Launch Games


Pilotwings Resort

If you’ve played Wii Sports Resort than you’re pretty familiar with Wuhu Island. Pilotwings Resort is located in the clouds above the tropical paradise. Your Mii will pilot a number of airborne vehicles to fly through rings among other activities to complete missions and snap photos.

Steel Diver

This submarine strategy and combat title uses 3D to give players the feeling of looking into an aquarium while controlling the vessel’s speed, depth, pitch, and torpedoes.

Nintendogs + Cats

Similar to its predecessors, this adorable pet sim lets players interact with – you guessed it – dogs and cats. There are three versions of the software that will be available, each with different starting breeds: French Bulldog, Toy Poodle, and Golden Retriever. Each version allows players to unlock more than 20 different breeds.


Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition (Capcom)

The 3DS edition of SSF IV matches its console counterparts feature-for-feature and plays almost identically. The attractive visuals are further augmented with stereoscopic 3D. Matches can be played in either the traditional 2D view or optional over-the-shoulder 3D. StreetPass will allow players to swap trophies with another 3DS user or launch battles when in proximity.

The Sims 3D (EA)

The Sims 3D is essentially The Sims 3 designed for Nintendo 3DS. New camera angles will take advantage of 3D, there will be 3DS exclusive karma powers, and you’ll be able to use the 3DS camera to snap a photo of yourself to automatically create a Sim to your likeness.

Madden NFL Football (EA Sports)

Football in your face via 3D that features traditional 11-on-11 or 5-on-5 games, plus use the 3DS touch screen to draw plays on the field with the Call Your Shots feature.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D (Konami)

Depth and distance with the 3D functionality in this soccer sim helps realize distance between players and the goal. Players can create their own team in Master League mode and pit the team against other users via StreetPass (team with the best stats wins). One-on-one wireless play will also be available.

LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars (LucasArts)

The 3DS version of The Clone Wars is largely similar to its console brethren; however the 3DS version will use StreetPass and Play Coins to unlock new characters and access bonus content.

Go on to Page 4 for even more launch games!

Ridge Racer 3D (Namco Bandai)

Along with single-player options, the arcade racer offers up to four-player competitive races via local play. You can choose a registered Mii, tag, or photo during a race to identify yourself in races against friends, swap ghost data with StreetPass, and create your “My Ranking” profile to exchange course records with other 3DS owners.

Super Monkey Ball 3D (Sega)

Players can choose between the motion sensor or slide pad to navigate through Super Monkey Ball puzzles, car battles, and brawls. Play with up to four players in Monkey Race and Monkey Fight via Wi-Fi.

Bust-A-Move Universe (Square Enix)

It’s Bust-A-Move, so expect a whole lot of bubble popping…IN 3D.

Samurai Warriors: Chronicles (Tecmo Koei)

Toggle control between four warriors at a time using the touch panel when positioning your battlefield, or you can form an army with up to four warriors in StreetPass and have them fight with armies of other players whose 3DS is within range.

Asphalt 3D (Ubisoft)

Race across 17 locations in high-performance vehicles with the 3DS’ accelerometer and standard control configurations. Play against up to six friends using local play, and use StreetPass to see how your stats stack up against friends. You can also race against the viral ghost of top-ranked players.

Combat of Giants: Dinosaurs 3D (Ubisoft)

When dinosaurs roamed the earth only the most powerful survived. In a fight to become top predator, dinosaurs had to battle the Arkosaurus, the most ferocious of dinosaur species (we couldn’t make this up if we tried). Customize your favorite dino with 18 different breeds to choose from, roam the world in full 3D, crush trees and rocks for rewards, and brawl with other dinosaurs.

Rayman 3D (Ubisoft)

This port allows players to re-live the magic of Rayman 2 in stereoscopic 3D as you battle off the evil mechanical pirates led by Razorbeard in order to save the world. Enhanced visuals and a tight control scheme adapted for the 3DS makes Rayman’s classic quest worth revisiting.

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Shadow Wars (Ubisoft)

Trek along the deserts of Kazakhstan, towns of Ukraine, and frozen regions of Siberia to discover and disable secret Soviet-era bases. Along the way you’ll come across 3D cutscenes and in-game effects, challenge friends in duel maps, and more.

For more details on the games listed here and upcoming 3DS titles, click here. Want to get your hands on 3DS before it comes out on March 27? Visit select 3DS Demo Tour locations.