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Holiday gift guide 2019: Nintendo 3DS/2DS consoles, games and peripherals

For those not ready to take the plunge on a Nintendo Switch, there's a solid alternative for the holidays in the Nintendo 3DS/2DS and its decade-plus of games.

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The holiday season is here and that means buying the latest and greatest gifts for your family and friends. But sometimes, you aren't necessarily looking for the new hotness. Sometimes, you're looking to catch up with the old hotness. So while Nintendo has moved on to the Switch, there are folks out there who are looking to jump back into the previous handheld generation dominated by the Nintendo 3DS and 2DS. So Shacknews has put together our Nintendo 3DS/2DS holiday gift guide to make your shopping trips a little bit easier.

New Nintendo 2DS XL

New Nintendo 2DS XL and Nintendo 2DS

The 3DS generation has had a vast number of hardware iterations over the years. While Nintendo did spend its first few years looking to perfect the faux 3D visuals, the company laid back on that idea much more over the latter half of the handheld's life cycle. The focus was more on good games and the 3DS generation has certain had those.

The standard Nintendo 2DS goes for an MSRP of $79.99 and plays all of the best 3DS games. The downside is its odd design that doesn't allow it to close shut, like the more traditional clamshell design. If you have very young kids who are just getting started on video gaming, the 2DS might be the way to go.

The New Nintendo 2DS XL, meanwhile, has an MSRP of $149.99, but is arguably the ideal 3DS experience. It comes with a larger design and much more screen real estate, is compatible with all 3DS software, including certain games designed with the ZL/ZR and C-stick buttons in mind. You also have access to all of the 3DS Virtual Console lineup, including various 16-bit Super Nintendo classics. There's even a New Nintendo 3DS XL bundle that comes with Mario Kart 7 pre-installed.

You can find a more detailed comparison on the Nintendo website.

Carrying Cases

While the Nintendo 2DS can be a simple thing to carry around, it never hurts to have a case whenever you want to travel. That's especially the case if you're looking to bring along multiple games. There are a handful of handy carrying cases from manufacturers like Keten, Fyoung, Smatree, and TakeCase, all coming in for less than $20. Each of these cases have slots for your handheld, your AC adapter, your games, and your stylus pens. Don't be caught without one of these things on those all-important travel dates.

Stylus pens

The stylus is a critical tool for the 3DS player, but it's a very easy thing to lose, especially for small children. So make sure to have extras. Amazon is a reliable place to look for new stylus pens and they'll often be sold by the dozen.

MicroSD cards

The Nintendo 3DS family of systems come with a 4GB MicroSD card packed in, but let's face it. If you're going all-in on a 3DS or 2DS, you're going to want a lot of digital games. So be sure to grab a good microSD card wherever they're sold. A 32GB or 64GB capacity card should be more than enough to hold the very best 3DS games.

Nintendo 3DS/2DS Games

The Nintendo 3DS assembly line has largely come to a stop when it comes to games. However, there are a few noteworthy items to keep in mind. Firstly, there are a few releases that trickled out in the last year, including a few first-party Nintendo games. Also, if you haven't bought Shovel Knight yet, the 3DS version is in line to get the new King Knight campaign in just a few days. You can also grab Shovel Knight: King of Cards a la carte.

The other thing to note is that the Nintendo eShop will likely have some sales up and running after the holidays. So if you didn't pick up that MicroSD card we mentioned earlier, consider scooping it up.

Here are some specific games to watch out for:


The Nintendo 3DS/2DS is a solid option for those not ready to make the full jump to the Nintendo Switch. Pick one up and start catching up with over a decade of great games.

(Disclaimer: Shacknews may receive a small compensation for any purchases made using select links provided in this article.)

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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