Nintendo's current handheld has been out for quite a while now, so there is a wealth of information out there. Information which I will chuck in here to make it easier for you to enjoy your 3DS outright.
There are some numbered segments that I'll use to divide the content, which should make it easier for you to navigate through this post. Some of you are already past the initial stages mentioned in this post, meaning that you should probably go ahead and ignore the first bit and skip to end. Here we go!
1. Buying your 3DS.
Prices for the 3DS have become a lot more affordable in the last couple of months, so now would be the optimal time to get the unit. There are many in store specials which change too often to be added to this guide, so I will suggest that you keep your eyes on the flyers and newspapers of Makro, Game and BT Games. The general idea is that you buy one where the price is R1899-00 or under for the unit alone. If you can get a bundle for almost the same price, even better.
Online retailers like Takealot.com, Exclus1ves.co.za and Kalahari.com all stock these units and you would do well to check them out frequently.
Update: The 3DSXL is available as of the end of July 2012. This device brings more screen space to the existing architecture of the Nintendo 3DS. These devices will cost a little more than the existing model, but I would recommend waiting a little while for the price to drop a little bit. Also, they look pretty sweet.
2. The Accessories
You have the device, now you need some gear to go with it. There aren't many official Nintendo 3DS items available in South Africa, but there are plenty of 3rd party providers which normally sell a combo pack, specifically Nitho and Logic3, who provide a range of goodies for your handheld at a good price. If you shop around, you will be able to find combo packs that contain a stylus or two, a carry bag, screen protectors, head phones, a touch point for your finger and carry cases for your cartridges. I got a whole set for R150 at Musica. If you can't find one for 3DS, the DSXL packs will do just fine. If you plan on traveling, a car charger might also be useful to you. If you plan on traveling with the device, I recommend that you obtain a car charger.
Kalahari and TAKEALOT now sell packs which contain all needed items mentioned above, for around R250. Go check them out. These packs are manufactured by Nitho and Logic3.
3. The Games
Last year this time, there were almost no games that were must haves for this console. These days, however, the library has expanded GREATLY. The Nintendo e-Shop has also grown insanely large, allowing many digital titles to stick their heads out. Check into the store frequently to see what is new and also make sure to see what Classics have been remade to fit the 3D standard.
The e-Shop allows many games to be downloaded as a demo, so that players can try it out before spending their money on a game. The demo versions of the games are quite elaborate, trying to fit as much deciding content into the mix. The downloads are relatively small, as a download of MGS: Snake Eater was about 1100 blocks of Nintendo memory (I will work on getting a converter from MB to blocks into this guide).
Here are some awesome 3DS games that might get you interested:
- Super Mario Land
- The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
- Mario Kart 7
- Kid Icarus: Uprising
- Resident Evil: Revelations
- Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater
Some games even support online functionality, e.g. Street Fighter IV, which makes use of the online features to pit you in vs. matches against other players.
These should keep you busy for ages. If not, there are a wealth of DS titles that are available for you to play, like Pokemon and Professor Layton titles.
4. Street/Spot Pass
The new Street Pass functionality allows 3DS device to communicate with one another when they are in close proximity. When this happens, information gets passed between them, like Miis (to further your progress in Mii Plaza). Spot Pass allows your device to download content when it is in range of an open WiFi hotspot, like videos and notifications. Events like rAge are make use of the functionality, allowing gamers to exchange info by simply walking past someone else. Keep the communication tools on and see what happens.
5. Club Nintendo
5.1 Make sure to create an account on Club Nintendo. This is the South African Club Nintendo page.
5.2 Register all applicable games and consoles on Club Nintendo to earn Nintendo stars, which can in turn be exchanged for awesome Nintendo goodies. To do this, look inside the game cover of Nintendo video games, where you will find a leaflet with a code printed on it. This code will allow you to earn Nintendo stars, once it is registered on the website. For consoles, the leaflet should be somewhere in that pile of manuals and useless stuff that no one ever reads.
5.3 You will start to notice that as you register more games on the website, your Stars balance grows. There is a catalogue on the website, which contains a few Nintendo goodies that can be acquired by cashing in your stars balance.
5.4 Link your device's e-Shop profile with your Club Nintendo account in the Settings menu, once you are signed into the e-Shop.
6. The e-Shop
The 3DS gives you access to the e-Shop, which functions as a digital marketplace for your 3DS device. Here you can get all the latest digital games and apps to keep you entertained for hours. Please note that the e-Shop is not accessible via the anything other than the 3DS at the moment. Nintendo has mentioned that they are aiming to make it accessible via any web enabled device in the near future.
6.1 Please note that the e-Shop is region locked and will contain only content that pertains to your region. To get the most out of your 3DS online experience, change your region settings to the United Kingdom, as the South African e-Shop contains almost nothing at the moment. To do this, please visit the Settings application on your home screen and change your region setting in the Profile section.
6.2 As mentioned in the previous section, link up your Club Nintendo account to your 3DS device's e-shop account. This will help Club Nintendo keep track of any digital games that you buy.
6.3 There are a ton of cool stuff on the e-Shop. Keep on checking back, as Nintendo sometimes gives away free stuff for a limited time on the e-Shop.
There might be a time when something is not going the way you planned and you'll need some help with your 3DS. Here are some suggestions:
7.1 The local distributor in South Africa is the Core Group (yeah, the same guys who are doing all the Apple stuff). You can send them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and they'll try to help you.
7.2 If you prefer to look into it yourself, check out the official Nintendo Support page. This might help you get along a little quicker, as you will not be waiting for someone to get back to you.
7.3 Another option is to post in this thread, or send me a PM. There might be someone reading who knows what to do with your situation.
1. All images used in this article are directly from the Nintendo website. I do not own, nor pretend to own any of their property. I am writing about their stuff, so I hope they don't mind me using some of their images.
2. If you are a Nintendo Ambassador, then please check this link regarding your bonus games.