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Now that support for Nintendo 3DS seems to have come to an end, with Nintendo putting most of its focus on the wildly successful Nintendo Switch, we thought we’d take a look back at some of the stellar 3DS games that helped define the handheld game console’s legacy.

Super Mario 3D Land

For some critics, the release of Super Mario 3D Land also marked the debut of 3DS’ first killer app. And for good reason. Super Mario 3D Land pairs the timed obstacle course style of levels found in 2D Super Mario classics like Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario World with the 3D perspective of titles like Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Galaxy to create a whole new take on the Super Mario series. The game also showed off just what the 3DS’ namesake 3D stereoscopic effect was capable of – from the puzzle rooms designed specially with the effect in mind to the game’s many worlds that really pop in stereoscopic 3D. Don’t worry, if you have a 2DS or you simply don’t like playing with the 3D effect turned on, the game is totally playable without it.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

Before The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild turned the series on its head in so many glorious ways, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds was received as a refreshing return to the more non-linear approach that the series had steadily turned away from. Thanks to Ravio, a merchant in Hyrule, Link can now rent weapons, rather than finding them in dungeons – subverting the formula of previous entries and enabling the player to complete dungeons in any order they choose. The game also introduced the wall-merging mechanic, which allowed Link to cling to walls like a painting and move about to find secrets and access Lorule, the dark mirror of Hyrule. As a sequel to The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, the game shares a map with its predecessor – providing some nostalgic throwbacks throughout the adventure. To date, it is the last original mainline 2D entry in the Zelda series, with spinoff The Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes released in 2015 on 3DS and a remake of The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening released on Switch in 2019.

Fire Emblem Awakening

If there’s a major success story that goes beyond the game itself, it’s the development of Fire Emblem Awakening. Reports indicate that developer Intelligent Systems was informed if their next game did not sell a minimum of 250,000 copies, it would be the swan song for the storied Fire Emblem series, whose first installment came out in Japan in 1990. Determined to make the best installment yet, Intelligent Systems incorporated a multitude of elements, while still retaining its tactical role-playing core. Features included an optional first-person viewpoint during battles and a marriage and children system. To appeal to newcomers, the developers also allowed players to turn off permadeath – a mechanic many longtime fans consider integral to the series. Thankfully, the game was a commercial and critical success, and Fire Emblem has come to be considered one of Nintendo’s major franchises. And it all started on 3DS with Fire Emblem Awakening.

What’d We Forget?

We’re sure we left out some of your favorites! The 3DS has one of the best libraries in gaming history, including titles such as Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Pokémon Sun and Moon, Kirby: Planet Robobot, Bravely Default, and Mario Kart 7.

Be sure to check out our blog for more fun topics and updates on local events.