Nintendo's unique handheld is facing a tough battlefield for best portable gaming experience.  Android and iOS devices are relatively easy to obtain through cellular contracts, and have a huge selection of casual games that grows every day.  Playstation is only a few months away from releasing their new handheld, the PS Vita, which they have stated will be insulated from other systems and dominate the market.  With all this upcoming competition, and a lackluster launch for the handheld, how will the 3DS hold up this holiday season.  I'd say a lot better than you might think.

When the 3DS launched back in February this year, there wasn't any real reason to go pick one up.  While the glasses free 3D tech is very cool, there just weren't any good games and features such as the browser and eShop weren't up and running yet.  Now jump ahead to the present.  It's now the middle of November.  The eShop is up and finally starting to churn out some good quality downloads.  Early adopters of the system were treated to 10 free NES virtual console games, and still have 10 free GBA virtual console games on the way.  For everyone else, the virtual console has released many awesome original GameBoy games including the original Kirby, Super Mario Land, Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, Donkey Kong, The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX, and many others.  There have also been five 3D classics released, the most recent was Kirby's Adventure from the NES.  These 3D classics and the Virtual Console games have been great since a lot of the younger generation have had no experience with these titles from early in Nintendo's history.

The drought for decent 3DS cartridge titles is also finally over.  The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D and Star Fox 3D were good diversions while waiting, but we're finally starting to see some of the big Nintendo franchises finally releasing some of their new ideas.  The most recent of these was Super Mario 3D Land released just a few days ago.  This is the best use of the 3D capabilities I've seen in the system since release.  It is also one of the best 3D platforming games I've played since Super Mario Galaxy 2.  Another game featuring the Italian plumber is Mario Kart 7, out December 20th.  That's a boat load of both classic and new Mario all before the end of the year, which means inevitably this system will be at the top of a lot of kid's lists for the holidays.

A recent price drop for the system will also help boost sales this December. The whole reason for the Ambassador program was to sooth early adopters after Nintendo dropped the price down to $169.99 back in August.  That's $100 bucks less than the PS Vita is retailing for, and it'll be out this holiday season while the Vita isn't being released until February.  On top of that, there is a great lineup of games coming out in 2012, such as Resident Evil: Revelations, Luigi's Mansion 2, Paper Mario - 3DS, Kid Icarus: Uprising, and Metal Gear Solid 3D Snake Eater.  Now to be clear, I'm not saying the 3DS is going to destroy the Vita once it's released, I'm just saying that Nintendo's newest handheld is not going anywhere any time soon.  It's just taking a little time for the system to settle into place.  But that's just my guess, we'll have to wait to see what happens after the holidays.  Either way, right now is a good time to be a gamer!

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