The Retro Gamers Guide to the Nintendo 3DS

The Nintendo 3DS XL

Just because we're retro gamers doesn't mean we don't dig new systems, especially those of Nintendo that allow you to play old-school classics in an entirely new way.

Besides, true 3-D gaming was born in the classic, like SegaScope 3D for the Sega Master System, which used the same 3D tech that HDTVs are touting now, or Nintendo's first attempt at a 3-D system, the Virtual Boy.

Now with the 3DS, Nintendo is promising all sorts of goodies galore for the retro enthusiast, but it’s not all apparent. So to help navigate your way to the old-school goodness we present to you the Retro Gamers Guide to the Nintendo 3DS.

Backward Compatible, But...

The Nintendo 3DS touts backward compatibility, but not everything will transfer and it won't play all that the original DS or Game Boy Advance games.

What it does: You can play both the new 3DS as well as the regular DS game cards, also some of the DSiWare games you loaded onto your DSi will transfer.

What isn't backward compatible: In addition to Nintendo sending the warning that not all of the DSiWare titles are transferable, it also cannot play any Game Boy Advance games.

The GBA Advance cartridge was a standard on the original model of DS, but eventually removed on the remodeled DSi, and while Nintendo has announced that they will be making Game Boy Classic and Color titles available via their eShop (see section: Nintendo's eShop: 3DS Virtual Console) they have no announced plans for GBA titles.

Plus it's doubtful that all of the original classics will be available. Some will likely never see a rerelease again, so hold onto that old system if you want to make sure you're able to play your older games that are no longer available.

New Ways to Play the Classics

So far all of the retro re-releases, remakes, and sequels available and announced for the 3DS will be available in 3D, and not through some kind of auto-3D software program but handcrafted 3-D effects.

If you’re a purist who doesn’t want to play the original classics in 3D, all you have to do is adjust the 3D slider bar down to 2D and it will be as close as you can to playing these original handheld classics.

Nintendo's eShop: 3DS Virtual Console

One of the features that makes the Wii one of the best next-gen consoles for the retro gamer has been announced for the 3DS!

Possibly the biggest news that the 3DS Virtual Console ever had for retro fans was Nintendo bringing back the long-awaited return of Game Boy Classic and Game Boy Color titles for download via the Nintendo eShop. Fans have also been satisfied with many Wii Virtual Console offerings being made available for the 3DS.

Also, many classic Sega Game Gear and Turbografx-16 games have been available for the 3DS.

3DS Retro Remakes, Remixes, and Sequels

The handful of launch titles for the 3DS included Rayman 3D, a 3-D remake/remix of the PlayStation One classic Rayman 2. While some are considering this (and other games in this category) a port, it’s more accurately a remake or remix as the original was never in 3D. This is because technically a port means a direct copy of the original game code.

List of 3DS Virtual Console Titles

  • Columns
  • Dragon Crystal (aka Dragon Crystal Shirani's Maze)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX
  • Shinobi
  • Sonic Drift 2 – Game Gear
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: Triple Trouble (aka Sonic & Tails 2)
  • Super Mario Land
  • Bomberman 3DS
  • Bust-A-Move Universe
  • Kid Icarus: Uprising
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D
  • Madden NFL Football 3DS
  • Mario Kart 3DS
  • Mega Man Legends 3
  • Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
  • Ninja Gaiden
  • Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions
  • Pilotwings Resort
  • Rayman 3D
  • Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D
  • Resident Evil: Revelations
  • Ridge Racer 3D
  • The Sims 3
  • Star Fox 64
  • Super Mario
  • Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition
  • Tetris 3DS