The 3DS apparently released on my birthday in 2011. While I sat in a pub with a gruesomely sticky carpet and drank Strongbow with my friends, people in Japan shuffled, rather than ran, to buy Nintendo’s latest offering, which would reach the West about a month later. I had to look that up, because just like on the day of its release, the 3DS passed me by entirely, released during a time when my relationship with videogames was as much like my relationship with money and consumer products on the whole – occasionally complicated, mostly non-existent.
Fast forward 10 years later, where people talk to me about videogames every day, and not having a 3DS suddenly felt like a genuine oversight, not because of FOMO, but because people who know my taste would not stop saying things like “You will love Ghost Trick” or “You should really play Fire Emblem Awakening”, and while I shrugged them off, wary of spending even more of my money on games, these recommendations lingered, if only for how often they were repeated.
Eventually, a friend lent me their 3DS, and that broke the dam – not because of the games so much as this small, cute thing – a genuine handheld that even occasionally fits into a woman’s trouser pocket, and it’s whimsical by design. I know the quotes about Nintendo’s philosophy being that of a toy maker first, game company second are so worn they’ve got calluses, but I think I never really understood what that meant when not applied to an experimental product like Nintendo Labo or playing tennis with Wiimotes.