Nintendo 2DS: Third Time’s The Charm 4


Moments after the Nintendo 2DS was announced, gamers immediately hurled their usual vitriol at Nintendo. Most mocked it; calling it a “toy” that heralded Nintendo’s doom. So, this is exactly what they said about the Wii U, Nintendo 3DS and Wii. In fairness, the Nintendo 2DS’ design is unexpected and polarizing. It came out of nowhere and dropped the familiar clamshell design that Nintendo used for their handhelds since they introduced the dual-screens. However, this device is aimed at a demographic of gamers who haven’t even entered the market: kids and casual gamers. Therefore, Nintendo needed to lower the barrier to entry without compromising the 3DS gaming experience. The result was budget hardware that’s surprisingly a joy to use.

Barely 48 hours after its announcement, Nintendo had demo units of the 2DS on floor at PAX in their Handheld Lounge. I got several long minutes playing with the device. After adjusting to its new design during a level of New Super Mario Bros. 2, I was surprised by how comfortable it is to hold. The narrow bottom and wide top fit naturally into your palms and provide a suitable amount of space at the top for your index fingers to rest. Your thumbs hover precisely above the analog stick/d-pad and ABXY buttons. Just like with a tablet, the device disappears and you’re immersed in the content. While designed to meet a specifically low budget, none of the buttons or materials felt cheap. Buttons all click exactly as you’d expect from a Nintendo handheld. The home button and volume slider do require some effort to get at, but again this device was designed for kids — and adults that won’t be bothered by it. Other people that tried out the device did so out of curiosity but walked away genuinely impressed.

The Nintendo 2DS is an important step in Nintendo growing their handheld audience. It’s not for everyone. When the Nintendo 3DS XL was first released, I didn’t hesitate to upgrade immediately because the buttons and screens were too small for me. This was still true with the Nintendo 2DS, but that’s a personal preference. With the original Nintendo 3DS at $169, the Nintendo 3DS XL at $199 and now the Nintendo 2DS at $129, the company won’t be able to keep enough on store shelves this holiday season. The Nintendo 2DS will charm your pants off the moment you pick it up.

(Writer) Frank is a self admitted Nintendo fanboy living in Seattle, WA. He’s currently a Computer Science student with aspirations of working in the game industry one day. When he’s not writing for the site, he spends his free time absorbed in all kinds of geekery: video games, comic books & technology. For more of his thoughts on LGBT representation in video games or any other geekery, follow him on Twitter or visit his site at

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4 thoughts on “Nintendo 2DS: Third Time’s The Charm

  • avatar
    Shin Gallon

    It’s a nifty idea. I never use the 3D in games because it causes me eye strain in less than 5 seconds so this would be great, but I really like the clamshell design. I’d be afraid of the screens getting scratched constantly.
    Still, it’s a neat concept and if I didn’t already have a 3DS I’d be tempted to get one of these.

  • avatar
    Frank Fuentes Post author

    You’re right. A lot of people seem concerned about scratching the screens—and rightfully so! However, a lot of this can be remedied by keeping it in a case or applying screen/decide protectors. If you have a tablet or smartphone, this is something you’re already familiar with. Still, at $130 I would just buy a couple screen protectors and call it a day. Just like we previously covered, the 2DS isn’t for current owners. It’s for kids and casual gamers. People who probably won’t are about scratches. But, I own an original 3DS and XL so I’ll likely be picking one up…

  • avatar
    Frank F

    Yeah, scratching seems to be everyone’s worry about this design. But I suppose it’s not really an issue because it’s not aimed at current users. It’s for kids and casual gamers; they won’t care about scratches. But, still I guess you could get screen and device protectors. This is kind of something tablet/smartphone owners are accustomed to. That said, I will likely be buying one come October 12.