5 Reasons Why the Nintendo 3DS is better than the Switch


Image courtesy of The Verge.

Nicholas Paragano, Co-editor, Arts & Entertainment

This is an opinion piece. Nicholas Paragano is a senior at Mendham who writes for Arts and Entertainment. All opinions expressed in this article are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Patriot.

The Nintendo Switch has been out for nearly four years, but is still missing key features from its predecessors (namely the Wii, Wii U, and 3DS). While I overall prefer the Switch due to the fact that it’s a home console/handheld hybrid, there are aspects that the 3DS excels at. It’s truly baffling to me that they haven’t been added to the Switch, and I think Nintendo should do so to make the Switch an even better system. Here are five areas in which the 3DS is better than the Switch.


#1: The Virtual Console

Image courtesy of Nintendo World Report.

The Virtual Console is a service introduced with the Wii in 2006 that allowed users to purchase downloaded games from older consoles (mostly Nintendo) onto their new system. This included NES, SNES, Nintendo 64, and GameBoy games, as well as third-party consoles like the Sega Genesis and TurboGrafx-16. This service was carried over to the Wii U and 3DS, but is notably absent from the Switch. Instead, you get access to select NES and SNES games with a Nintendo Switch Online subscription. You don’t own the games, and they become inaccessible when your subscription ends. The 3DS, on the other hand, still has an active Virtual Console with retro games available to purchase and download. You can play retro games on the go with a 3DS, and not have to worry about losing access to them, since you own them and have them downloaded to your system. The same cannot be said for the Nintendo Switch, which desperately needs a Virtual Console-like service. 


#2: Better App Support

Image courtesy of HD Report.

The Switch only has three streaming apps available for download: Hulu, Funimation, and YouTube. In contrast, the 3DS had Netflix, Crunchyroll, and Nintendo Video (an original streaming app), in addition to Hulu and YouTube. It also had a functioning web browser, which is absent from the Switch. The Switch doesn’t even have the newer streaming services like Disney+ and HBO Max. Again, the inclusion of these apps and services seems like a no-brainer, given the Switch’s portability. In this category, the ten year old 3DS has the Switch beat.


#3: Home Menu Themes

Image courtesy of My Nintendo News.

The Switch only has two options for home screen themes: black and white. There are no more colors beyond that, and no options for customization. The 3DS had background themes based on Mario, Zelda, Animal Crossing, Super Smash Bros, and Pokémon, to name a few. Third- party companies also made themes for the 3DS, based on franchises such as Sonic, Mega Man, and Skylanders. In addition to this, there were also more color options for standard backgrounds. The absence of customization options on the Switch is baffling to me, especially since the console has been out for almost four years now.


#4: Backwards Compatibility

Image courtesy of Lifewire.

The 3DS has native backwards compatibility with its predecessor, the DS. This is admittedly the most understandable omission from the Switch. But considering the constant rumors of a Switch Pro for years, it would be cool to see DS and 3DS backwards compatibility as a feature on a souped-up system. If not that, I don’t see why Nintendo couldn’t just put the greatest hits of the DS and 3DS on the Switch’s eShop for download. 


#5: Better Library

Image courtesy of Gematsu.

It’s only a matter of time before the Switch beats the 3DS in this category, but for now, I think the 3DS has the superior game library. The 3DS had big hitters such as 3D remakes of the Zelda games Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask, several Pokèmon titles, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Super Mario 3D Land, and Mario Kart 7, to name just a few. It even had remakes of Wii games such as Xenoblade Chronicles and Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D. In total, the 3DS has a library of 1,346 games and counting, as new games are added to the eShop even in 2021. Combine that with the DS’s 1,965 games, and you have a total of over 3,311 games playable on the 3DS. The Switch may have a larger library of 3,274 games, but I think the 3DS had more quality titles overall. That being said, the Switch has many amazing games and I think it will soon surpass the 3DS in this regard.


In conclusion, the Nintendo Switch is a fantastic console with impressive features and a great library of games. However, it is still missing a lot of features that were standard on the 3DS, features that I thought were obvious inclusions. I love both consoles, but I believe that the 3DS beats the Switch in many categories, and I hope Nintendo continues to improve the Switch to make it an even better system.