Here's why you should pick up a Nintendo 3DS this Black Friday

nintendo 3dsKiyoshi Ota

Next March, Nintendo is expected to release the Switch, a new kind of video game console that can be plugged into a TV for big-screen gaming, or pocketed for portable action.

But while you wait for Nintendo to reveal more details on the Switch early next year, you should definitely take a look at Nintendo's current portable video game console, the Nintendo 3DS. Especially since it's the only way to play the brand-new Pokémon Sun and Moon.

And with Nintendo and retailers offering a sweet deal on the 3DS this holiday shopping season, there may never be a better time to get on board.

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The original Nintendo 3DS first launched in 2011. The bottom screen is for touch, complete with a little stylus.

The original Nintendo 3DS first launched in 2011. The bottom screen is for touch, complete with a little stylus.

The 3DS is Nintendo's follow-up to the massively successful Nintendo DS, pictured here. The Nintendo DS was the best-selling game console of all time with 154 million units sold.

The 3DS is Nintendo's follow-up to the massively successful Nintendo DS, pictured here. The Nintendo DS was the best-selling game console of all time with 154 million units sold.

The 3DS doesn't try to reinvent the wheel. It adds a joystick for better control in games, sports overall better graphics, and can display games in 3D, without the need for any kind of glasses. Hence the name.

The 3DS doesn't try to reinvent the wheel. It adds a joystick for better control in games, sports overall better graphics, and can display games in 3D, without the need for any kind of glasses. Hence the name.

Nintendo pulls some pretty neat tricks with the 3D. You can take 3D photos and video with the system's built-in cameras.

Nintendo pulls some pretty neat tricks with the 3D. You can take 3D photos and video with the system's built-in cameras.

The camera has one other bonus: By using included "AR Cards," you can see characters frolicking around in the real world on your screen.

Another fun little feature is "Streetpass," meaning that you can swap data, like Mii characters or top "Mario Kart 7" race times, with other 3DS owners, just by walking past them. It's automatic, no intervention required.

Another fun little feature is "Streetpass," meaning that you can swap data, like Mii characters or top "Mario Kart 7" race times, with other 3DS owners, just by walking past them. It's automatic, no intervention required.

The 3DS also has the Nintendo eShop, where you can buy and download games. The eShop also supports the Nintendo Virtual Console, where you can download pixel-perfect recreations of select games from Nintendo consoles gone by.

The 3DS also has the Nintendo eShop, where you can buy and download games. The eShop also supports the Nintendo Virtual Console, where you can download pixel-perfect recreations of select games from Nintendo consoles gone by.

But enough about the gimmicks. You'll be buying a 3DS for the games, and games it's got. Like "Pokémon Sun" and "Pokémon Moon," the system's flagship games this holiday season, available today.

But enough about the gimmicks. You'll be buying a 3DS for the games, and games it's got. Like "Pokémon Sun" and "Pokémon Moon," the system's flagship games this holiday season, available today.

For Mario fans, there's a bunch of great options, from the classic-style sidescroller "New Super Mario Bros 2," which lets two players adventure at once...

For Mario fans, there's a bunch of great options, from the classic-style sidescroller "New Super Mario Bros 2," which lets two players adventure at once...

...to the more three-dimensional "Super Mario 3D Land..."

...to the more three-dimensional "Super Mario 3D Land..."

...to "Mario Kart 7," an excellent and worthy entry in the long-running racing franchise.

...to "Mario Kart 7," an excellent and worthy entry in the long-running racing franchise.

The 3DS also gets its own version of games like Super Smash Bros., Nintendo's famed cross-franchise fighting game.

The 3DS also gets its own version of games like Super Smash Bros., Nintendo's famed cross-franchise fighting game.

As you may have noticed, most of the very best Nintendo 3DS games come from Nintendo itself. Nintendo owns a lot of the very best franchises in video games, including "The Legend of Zelda." Which, by the way, makes a very strong showing on the 3DS with "The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds."

As you may have noticed, most of the very best Nintendo 3DS games come from Nintendo itself. Nintendo owns a lot of the very best franchises in video games, including "The Legend of Zelda." Which, by the way, makes a very strong showing on the 3DS with "The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds."

...but there's still room for some oddball, charming winners from outside publishers, like Capcom's "Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney — Spirit of Justice," the latest in the long-running series about crime-solving psychic defense attorneys.

...but there's still room for some oddball, charming winners from outside publishers, like Capcom's "Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney — Spirit of Justice," the latest in the long-running series about crime-solving psychic defense attorneys.

If you want to buy a 3DS this holiday season, you have some options. The most popular 3DS model right now is the New Nintendo 3DS XL, which sells for $199. It's extra-sized, has great battery life, vastly improved processor power from the first model, and sports an extra analog stick that comes in handy for action games.

If you want to buy a 3DS this holiday season, you have some options. The most popular 3DS model right now is the New Nintendo 3DS XL, which sells for $199. It's extra-sized, has great battery life, vastly improved processor power from the first model, and sports an extra analog stick that comes in handy for action games.

You can buy it here.

Then there's the smaller New Nintendo 3DS. This usually sells for $175, packaged with a game. It packs all the same innards as the XL, in a slightly smaller and more portable package...at the cost of battery life.

Then there's the smaller New Nintendo 3DS. This usually sells for $175, packaged with a game. It packs all the same innards as the XL, in a slightly smaller and more portable package...at the cost of battery life.

Here's one version you can buy.

Both models of New Nintendo 3DS support Amiibo, which lets you take plastic figures and use them to unlock extra modes and features in select games.

Both models of New Nintendo 3DS support Amiibo, which lets you take plastic figures and use them to unlock extra modes and features in select games.

For the no-frills option, there's the Nintendo 2DS. It can play all the same games as any other 3DS. But as you may guess from the name, you sacrifice the 3D functionality, plus it won't work with Amiibo. The upside is that you can get it bundled with "Mario Kart 7" or "Yokai Watch 2" for $80 this holiday season, making it a great gift for younger kids who don't care about the bells and whistles.

For the no-frills option, there's the Nintendo 2DS. It can play all the same games as any other 3DS. But as you may guess from the name, you sacrifice the 3D functionality, plus it won't work with Amiibo. The upside is that you can get it bundled with "Mario Kart 7" or "Yokai Watch 2" for $80 this holiday season, making it a great gift for younger kids who don't care about the bells and whistles.

You can buy the Mario Kart 2 bundle here, or the Yokai Watch bundle here.

If it helps make your decision any easier, Nintendo is offering a great deal starting this Black Friday: A custom Mario-themed version of the New Nintendo 3DS, for only $99. It's a great low price to get started.

If it helps make your decision any easier, Nintendo is offering a great deal starting this Black Friday: A custom Mario-themed version of the New Nintendo 3DS, for only $99. It's a great low price to get started.

Here's a link to buy it, although it was out of stock as of publication time.

Bottom line here is that while the Nintendo Switch is looking pretty great, you can't go wrong with the Nintendo 3DS and its existing deep library of games.

Bottom line here is that while the Nintendo Switch is looking pretty great, you can't go wrong with the Nintendo 3DS and its existing deep library of games.

Besides, if you want to play the newest Pokémon games, the 3DS is the only way to fly.

Besides, if you want to play the newest Pokémon games, the 3DS is the only way to fly.
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