Get the Most from Your Nintendo 3DS

Edited by Batkingnz, Rebecca M., Anonymous, Eng and 4 others


If you're putting your hands on a shiny new Nintendo 3DS this Christmas, you're really in for a treat. Since the release of the 3DS back in 2011, it has gone on to dominate the handheld gaming market. Now is a better time than ever to own a 3DS with plenty of games available and a thriving eShop. That being said, it can be difficult to appreciate the system and use it to its full potential when you turn it on for the first time. From adding notes while playing games, to watching YouTube, the 3DS has plenty of tricks up its sleeve and VisiHow has compiled some of the best and most useful ones for you in the article below.

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Managing The 3D Effect

The 3DS features an innovative, glasses free, stereoscopic 3D screen that allows for a new dimension and greater immersion in handheld games. The feature is worth checking out the first time you use your 3DS, especially if you've got some great games like Mario Kart or The Legend Of Zelda. Take a look at our tips to get the best experience from the 3D effect.

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  • The effectiveness and clarity of the 3D is affected by where you hold the 3DS in relation to your eyes. The first time you use it, try and locate that sweet spot for prime viewing.
  • Your ability to see and enjoy the 3D effect depends on your eyes. It's very rare that someone will need to set the 3D slider to the maximum position. Start with the slider set to OFF and slowly move it upward. You will know if you've gone too far because the strain on your eyes will be felt immediately. Find a setting that's comfortable and stick with it.
  • Take a break every hour or two by turning off the 3D, or putting the 3DS down altogether. The first time you use a 3D screen, you might experience headaches, dizziness or eyestrain. If you notice any of these, take a break from the game, have a rest, and slowly adjust to the 3D during your next game by breaking sessions up into 30-minute blocks.
  • If you're still having negative effects from the 3D, stop using it altogether. 3D is not for everyone, and many players prefer to play with it switched off to save the life of the battery.

Upgrade Your SD card

The 3DS comes with a 2GB SD card. This SD card is fine for trying out game demos and downloading short videos, etc., from the eShop, but it's nowhere near enough if you're going to be downloading retail games to your 3DS. For that, you'd need to upgrade the SD card to at least a 16GB version. Even if you don't think you'll need one, this upgrade is highly recommended. With an ever expanding eShop and the increase of digital downloads, upgrading the you may not use the additional storage now, but you most certainly will in the future.

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Create a Nintendo Network ID

The Nintendo Network ID is Nintendo's version of the Xbox Live Gamertag or Sony's PSN accounts. Creating an ID will give you a single account for all your Nintendo devices, including the Wii You. As of the latest 3DS update, you'll also need an ID to download any paid or demo content from the eShop. To create an ID simply perform the following steps:

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  1. 1
    From your 3DS home screen, press "System Settings" on the touchscreen.{
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  2. 2
    This will open up a new menu.
    On the touch screen, open up "Nintendo Network ID Settings".
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  3. 3
    You can complete the sign up process by following the on screen instructions.
    If you already have a Nintendo Network ID from another 3DS, 2DS or Wii You, you can link your existing profile instead of creating a new one.
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Apps, Apps, Apps!

The 3DS is a portable gaming powerhouse, but that doesn't mean it's a one trick pony.

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Did you know that you can use your 3DS to watch videos, send 3D notes to friends, listen to music, record and manipulate sounds as well as take 3D pictures using the 3DS's unique camera? We've compiled a list of the best apps and system functions for you to enjoy.

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  • The Nintendo eShop. This is your go to app for paid game downloads, game demos, game videos, game reviews and other content from Nintendo. The eShop is a system level app, and comes pre-installed on your 3DS. You will need to sign up for a Nintendo Network ID before you can get any paid or demo content.
  • Watch Videos on your 3DS. The YouTube app brings the world's most popular streaming video service to the 3DS. Just search YouTube in the eShop to get the app. *The Nintendo Video app is also searchable from the eShop.
  • Listen to music as well as record and edit sound on the 3DS using the Nintendo 3DS Sound app. This is pre-installed and can be found on your home screen.
  • Don't forget to create a Mii to use with your Network ID, and other game profiles on the 3DS, Wii or Wii You. Just open up Mii Maker from your home screen and you can begin creating or viewing your Mii characters. You can also receive and send Miis to other users from this app.
  • Swapnote is a free app available from the eStore that lets you trade 3D handwritten notes with your friends on the Nintendo 3DS. It's a fun novelty to pass time between gaming sessions, so be sure to check it out.

AR Games

One of the most overlooked or forgotten features of the 3DS is the AR Games app built in to the system. The app includes unlockable games that use the camera to give you an Alternate Reality experience on the 3DS. Want to play archery on your desktop or go fishing in the kitchen sink? Well you can with your 3DS and here's how.

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Julian ARGAMES 01.jpg
  1. 1
    Take your AR Card that was included with the 3DS packaging and place it on any flat surface to begin.
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  2. 2
    Open up the AR Games app from your home screen.
    The app is pre-installed on your 3DS.
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  3. 3
    You need to be in a well-lit area and have the 3DS around 14 inches away from the card.
    The console will do the rest for you. Once the 3DS identifies the card it will open up a selection of mini games for you to play.
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  4. 4
    The 3DS uses your real environment as a backdrop for the AR Games, but it's not just a simple overlay.
    Artificial elements from the DS will sink into surfaces, or hide behind objects, making these games a great introduction to the technology in your hands, as well as a nice showpiece when letting others try out your new toy.
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Tips, Tricks & Warnings

  • If you're playing your DS while it's connected to a power source, it will have an (automatic) increased brightness setting that's not available under any other conditions.
  • You can launch the camera at any time from the home screen by pressing either of the shoulder buttons.
  • App icons on the home screen can be rearranged by long holding and dragging the icon where you want.
  • Screen brightness can be adjusted, even when you're in the middle of a game. Just press the home button and then hold start while pressing left of right on the DPAD to decrease or increase the brightness.
  • Holding the left and right shoulder buttons plus start simultaneously, will reset the 3DS, which can be useful, especially if a game freezes or glitches.

Questions and Answers

I can't find an 3DS game I downloaded, what do I do?

I downloaded Tomodachi Life, and I can't find the icon to play it. What do I need to do?

When you buy and download a game from the eShop, your 3DS will put a gift icon on your home screen. Simply tap the icon and open the gift up; then Tomodachi Life's icon will replace it, and you can play your game.

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How can we add free content? Like apps?

Hi. My 7 year old just bought his first DS. It's 3DS. I have tried: I started looking around on the Internet and ended up here. I think it was caused by: Ignorance

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Recent edits by: fish44banana, Calob Horton, Alma

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