For highly patient gamers across the country, the wait for a better, slicker 3DS model finally paid off last Sunday, when the 3DS XL officially launched in North America. With bigger screens, a better battery life, a sleeker design and larger buttons, this new system represents a giant step forward for the little system that could. But while the XL is a fine piece of machinery, a gaming system is no good if you have nothing to do with it. You can only Raid so many Faces, after all.
If you want the lowdown on how to truly ock being a 3DS owner, check out the guide below. From the games you should definitely pick up to a couple of things you should take care of to maximize your experience, this is everything you need to know to get the most out of your new investment. And for those of you who are upgrading from the old model, browse through to make sure you’re all caught up on the big items too – and skip to the end if you want help making the jump to a larger SD card.
While it took a while to find its stride, the 3DS library is now rather strong for a system just barely past its first birthday. Below you’ll find the handful of titles you absolutely can’t pass up, and a pretty good sampling of what the 3DS has to offer. No, not every amazing 3DS game is included here (calm down, 3DS owners!). This is just a good starting point for people to whet their 3D appetite with. Oh, and the first isn’t a suggestion – it’s required playing.
Super Mario 3D Land
The definitive 3DS experience and the best portable Mario game ever made. Super Mario 3D Land looks amazing – especially on the XL’s larger screens. It’s Mario magic incarnate.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D
A gorgeous and faithful remake of one of the greatest games of all time, presented in stunning 3D. You’ve never seen Hyrule field like this before.
Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance
A great action RPG that leads right into the (presumably) forthcoming Kingdom Hearts III. Sora and Riku are back – and keep an eye out for some awesome The World Ends With You cameos!
Resident Evil Revelations
Revelations pushes the system to its limits, offering a full Resident Evil experience that feels right at home on a portable.
Kid Icarus Uprising
After far too long, Pit has returned thanks to Smash Bros. creator Masahiro Sakurai. Help the angel soar in this exciting new adventure.
Mario Kart 7
Challenge friends and strangers alike in MK7, which features Nintendo’s most sophisticated example of online multiplayer to date.
The 3DS’s offerings aren’t only limited to retail games. Your first step to getting at these awesome downloadables is to connect your system online. You can do this in System Settings, and once you’re online you’ll also be able to receive SpotPass content from Nintendo. Once that’s done, grab some 3DS cards – or a credit card, either way – and hop on over to the eShop to catch up on these downloadable goodies. Again, this is only a small sampling of what the eShop has to offer, but it should be more than enough to get you started.
A delightful and wholly unique puzzle game that will keep you coming back for more… and more… and more.
Sakura Samurai: Art of The Sword
Master the sword in this delightful action game. It has a Kappa in it!
Dillon’s Rolling Western
Defend your towers – and some weird, sheep-like creatures – in this Western-inspired title.
Old school platforming with an epic use of 3D. If only it were 10 times longer!
The painting tool to end all painting tools. Doodle in 3D, then share it with your buddies!
As for the 3DS Virtual Console, check out the titles below, then begin your journey into gaming’s portable past.
The Legend of Zelda
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
Super Mario Land
Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins
Super Mario Land 3: Wario Land
Metroid II: Return of Samus
Donkey Kong ’94
Kirby’s Dream Land
Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters
Game & Watch Gallery 2
Now that you’ve dipped your toes in the 3DS software pool, there are just a couple things you should take care of before your 3DS is good to go. The first thing you’re going to want to do is update your system – you’ll find this option in System Settings. Once the update is complete – it should only take a minute or so, depending on your connection – you’ll be able to create folders on your Home Screen. Just tap a blank spot, click Create Folder, name it, and fill it with awesome games.
Make sure you also create a Mii for yourself in the Mii Maker, then visit your StreetPass Mii Plaza application to get the StreetPass party started. Once you’re all set up, just carry your system around in sleep mode to tag other 3DS owners, collect puzzle pieces, and unlock tons of hats in the included Find Mii RPG mini-game. Enjoy!
If you look to online retailers like Amazon, you can easily find a 32 GB SD card to upgrade to for around $20. Then, even if you take to downloading full retail games like New Super Mario Bros. 2, you’ll never have to worry about card space again. Here’s how you transfer your data to the new card once you have it:
Step 1: Pop your SD card into your computer. Use an SD card reader if your computer doesn’t have a card slot.
Step 2: Drag everything in your old SD card to an empty folder on your Desktop.
Step 3: Remove the old SD card and insert the new one. Drag the contents of the folder (not the folder itself!) to the new card.
Step 4: Remove the new card from your computer, pop it into your system, and voila! Transfer complete.
That about covers everything you need to know to begin your 3DS XL adventure. Keep in mind that the games mentioned are only the tip of the iceberg – I’d wager you can look to the comments below to find more game suggestions for once you’ve worked your way through these.
Audrey Drake is an Associate Editor at IGN and a proud member of the IGN Nintendo team. She is also a lifelong gamer, a frequent banisher of evil and a wielder of various legendary blades. You can follow her wild adventures on her IGN blog and Twitter. Game on!
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