Nintendo 3DS fans say goodbye to the beloved handheld

While the final days of the Nintendo 3DS might have been a long time coming, that doesn’t take away the sting that comes with the final step of ending a generation of consoles.

Nintendo shut down the online servers for the Nintendo 3DS family of handheld consoles on Monday. While ceasing services doesn’t exactly spell the end of the 3DS in general — people can still enjoy games offline — it does provide a sort of bookend, since it marks the final step in ending the console life cycle.

Nintendo first released its electric blue Nintendo 3DS in 2011. At the time, I remember watching trailers somewhat incredulously as the gaming company promised players fully 3D graphics that would pop out from the screen without the need for glasses. The 3D gimmick might have been somewhat lackluster, but this entry in Nintendo’s handheld history ran a stellar library of games, combining Nintendo DS titles and new games for the 3DS. Later additions to this family of consoles, like the Nintendo 2DS, represented some of Nintendo’s best handheld design. The 2DS quickly became a fan favorite for its affordable price point and the way it encapsulated Nintendo’s knack for creating elegant yet bright and toy-like handhelds.

But like all good things, it had to come to an end. Nintendo formally ceased production of Nintendo 3DS consoles in 2020 and shuttered its eShop in spring 2023. Now its games no longer have online functionality, and fans of the 3DS are sharing videos on social media platforms like TikTok and X to say goodbye to the beloved handheld. In this video, a player captured the moment the servers turned off while taking one last cruise down Rainbow Road in Mario Kart 7.

In Animal Crossing: New Leaf, players could visit other towns online via the Dream Suite. TikTok user Acnl.e commemorated the game with a loving note and a series of screenshots from the game. Under the gallery of images, they wrote, “It’s so sad to see that after so many years it really came to an end. I’ve been playing ACNL for almost 10 years and it was the best time of my life but now we have to say goodbye.” In another video saying goodbye to New Leaf, a group of friends gathered virtually to spend their final moments in the game online together.

In this video, a player took one last stroll around a town to say goodbye.

The Nintendo 3DS isn’t the only console that lost online functionality on Monday. Nintendo also stopped service for the Wii U servers this week. I didn’t see as much of an outpouring for the Wii U, but this video pays homage to both consoles.

Though this chapter is over, that doesn’t mean the console won’t find other ways of living on in the hearts of fans. It might just mean that players will have to get a bit creative… and mod their handhelds in order to keep using certain features or play certain games. The only drawback is that those means don’t get Nintendo’s sticker of approval.

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