That’s right, folks! The Nintendo 3DS has been released today and is on shelves in stores throughout the western hemisphere! Unfortunately, the 3DS is not yet available in this fine color that is shown above, but we certainly hope it will be in the near future! Hit the jump to view the features that the 3DS has to offer!

Before we begin with the features, the 3DS is (currently) available in these two colors:


Aqua blue and comso black.


And now, the features that make the 3DS what it is:

Activity Log

Like with the Nintendo Wii, the 3DS tracks your gameplay; it records what games you have played as well as how long you have played. There is also a step counting feature. If you take your 3DS with you when you walk from class to class or of you are just getting some exercise, the 3DS will count every step you take along the way. With every step you take, you accumulate Play Coins, which are used with certain games to acquire special goodies and some other beneficials that will aid you in those games.

Augmented Reality

This interesting little feature is brand new to the Nintendo gaming industry. There are some augmented games that come with the 3DS with six cards that, when you point the 3DS’s camera to them, a 3D motion image appears on top of the card!

Backward Compatibility

Yes,  you saw it right! The 3DS will not only play your 3DS games but will also play your DS games as well! This includes DSi software. And unfortunately, just like the DSi, the Nintendo 3DS cannot play Game Boy Advance games. Talk about a major bummer! Now as you all know there are some big differences between the DS game cards and the 3DS game cards. The 3DS cards have a small tab that sticks out from one corner of the came card to prevent putting them in any Nintendo DS system. If you so choose play your DS software on your 3DS (which we’re sure everybody will do), the game image will be stretched to fit the screen making it look a little distorted due to differences in screen size of the two systems. You can, however, make the image normal size if you hold the “start” and “select” buttons before launching the DS software.

3DS Messaging Service

Similar to the Wii Message Board, the 3DS sports a messaging system as well. This service allows 3DS users to send messages to and from one another using the Nintendo Wi-Fi connection. Your 3DS will notify you when you have a new message by changing LED light colors. This service replaces the Nintendo DS’s Picto Chat, but when did you ever use that feature anyway?

Virtual Console

After five years (about), the virtual console has finally gone portable! The 3DS’s virtual console will have the classic Game Boy and Game Boy Color games available for you to download onto your 3DS. Games for the TurboGrafx 16 and Game Gear will be on there as well. And instead of the “point system” that is used with the Wii and DSi, The 3DS VC will run on a “cash-based” system.

StreetPass and SpotPass Mode

In the nifty feature known as StreetPass, you can swap data with others that are carrying their 3DS along with them. If you pass another person with your 3DS on in “Sleep Mode”, you can swap data such as Mii characters and high scores with others with their 3DS in “Sleep Mode”. Of course, you can change your settings to allow which data to be transferred and which to be hidden. And with SpotPass, you can exchange data with your 3DS in Sleep Mode. However, this method of data exchange happens when the Sleep Mode 3DS passes by a wireless hotspot or wireless LAN access point. This application may not be available for use until after the software update in late May.

Video Content

The 3DS boasts 3D movie and video playback capabilities. Nintendo, Warner Bros, Disney, and DreamWorks have put their heads together to come out with some 3D movies. Although titles have not yet been announced, DreamWorks’ How to Train Your Dragon, Warner Bros’ Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole, and Disney’s Tangled, were previewed at last year’s E3. Durung the 2011 Game Developers’ Conference, Reggie Fils-Aime revealed that the 3DS will support Netflix instant streaming. So if you have a Netflix account and don’t have a laptop, you can now watch your movies on the go with your 3DS!

Mii Maker

Like the virtual console, the Miis are going portable as well!  The 3DS sports a Mii Maker as well as the ability to import your Miis from your Nintendo Wii. Unfortunately you can’t import Miis to your Wii due to additional content on the 3DS. You can also create a Mii from a photo taken by one of the cameras on the 3DS. Miis can also be loaded by capturing special QR codes with one of the cameras. There is also a Street Pass Mii Plaza to house all the Miis that you gather while in StreetPass Mode.

Nintendo 3DS Sound

This application lets you listen to your favorite music saved on an SD Card in MP3 or AAC format. You can even record and play with sounds via the Nintendo 3DS microphone with a variety of fun filters. This looks to be an expanded version found on the DSi.

Face Raiders

Using the camera, you can take a photo of yourself, a friend or family member, which is then placed right onto a range of shooting targets. To play, you’ll need to move with your Nintendo 3DS system, physically leaning and turning to search all around and aim high and low, taking out your targets.

There ya have it!

The 3DS has so much to offer us in such a small gaming machine. Be sure to get one soon and not miss out on the excitement and thrill that a lot of us are experiencing at this moment!  And let us know what you think in the comments below!