The Nintendo 3DS is a handheld console developed by Nintendo, released on February 26th, 2011 in Japan, March 27th, 2011 in North America, March 25th, 2011 in Europe, and March 31st, 2011 in Australia. It is the primary successor to the Nintendo DSi, and was first revealed at E3 2010. While the design of both systems are similar, the 3DS now features a control-stick style button known as the Circle Pad.
The main gimmick behind the 3DS, like the name suggests, is its ability to display images in stereoscopic 3D without the use of 3D glasses. The 3D feature allows developers to add more depth and style to the games. For example, in Super Mario 3D Land, certain 1-Up Mushrooms are actually just cardboard cutouts. The only easy way to tell the difference between the fakes and the real mushrooms is to turn on the 3D feature. While most games do not incorporate the 3D feature as a gameplay mechanic, it is regardless available for use.
Like the DSi, Nintendo eventually released the 3DS XL, on July 28th, 2012 in Japan, August 19th, 2012 in North America, July 28th, 2012 in Europe, and August 23rd, 2012 in Australia. The same aspects of the system return, except now the 3DS has been scaled up about 90%, to allow those with bigger hands a more comfortable experience. Nintendo also released a 2DS, a version of the 3DS that is unable to use the 3D feature but still plays its games. The system is no longer foldable, and less portable. This was created likely so that younger players could play the games without having the 3D effect harm their eyes.
The 3DS is backwards compatible, meaning games for the DS and DSi are still playable on the 3DS; the Circle Pad will work with them as well. However, toggling 3D does not do anything because the games are not designed to handle it, and the 3D light will turn off to indicate this. The successor to the 3DS, the New Nintendo 3DS, was released in 2014 in Japan and Australia, and in early 2015 for Europe and America. The New 3DS, unlike its predecessors, already had an XL version upon launch. Interestingly, the XL version is the only version that is being released in America.
In the Nintendo Direct on September 1st, 2016, a new Pikmin game was revealed, tentatively titled Pikmin for Nintendo 3DS. Unlike past Pikmin games, it is a 2.5D sidescroller. The April 12th, 2017 trailer revealed the game's final name to be Hey! Pikmin.
Bundled with the Nintendo 3DS is a pack of AR Cards. These cards can be used in the built-in app AR Games, and in various software that supports AR Cards, like Tomadachi Life. The main use of the cards in AR Games is to take pictures of them in the mini-game Star Photos, where the characters in the cards come to life, in static poses. The player is able to take photos with them and the Question Mark Cube.
One of the cards has a leaf Red Pikmin, a flower Yellow Pikmin, and a bud Blue Pikmin. When scanned into AR Games, the Pikmin are stylized like the ones from Pikmin, and, like the other characters, feature 5 different poses. Interestingly, the third pose shows three Pikmin carrying a 1 pellet, something that is not possible in the games, but possible in various forms of prerelease content and rumors.
Japanese eShop cards
In Japan, three Pikmin-themed AR cards came bundled with eShop cards. The Yellow Pikmin card comes bundled with a 1000 Yen card, the Red Pikmin card comes with a 2000 Yen card, and the Blue Pikmin comes with a 3000 Yen card. Each card shows a Pikmin of the same color on it. With them, pictures can be taken. Unlike the bundled AR Cards, these can be freely moved around, and the Pikmin will interact with them accordingly. For example, if the card is held upside down, the Pikmin will hang onto the card before falling down. By tapping the cards, more Pikmin can be spawned. Tapping with the maximum amount of Pikmin on the card will turn it into a different whistle. This whistle will organize the Pikmin into lines. The ? card bundled with the 3DS will show a Bulborb when used with this card set. The Bulborb will chase after the Pikmin if they are close enough. These cards have not been released outside of Japan.
Currently, there are three Pikmin-related 3DS themes available on the 3DS Theme Shop. One is called "Pikmin Working Together", and features a picture with the various Pikmin types on top. On the bottom, there is an animated image of various Pikmin working, being followed by a Bulborb. The second is called "Pikmin and a Hungry Bulborb". This theme features many cartoon styled Pikmin on the top screen walking. On the bottom screen is a cartoon-styled Bulborb which will shift its eyes when the cursor on the bottom screen is moved.
The third theme released near the releases of Hey! Pikmin, and is about that same game. It's called "Hey! Pikmin: Adventure Together". The top screen shows the scene from the European boxart, while the bottom screen has a large strip of terrain in a sideways view, with Captain Olimar, Pikmin, and some enemies scattered around. Music from the game plays when this theme is active. It was released in Japan on June 28th, 2017, and in the US in July 13th, 2017.
Like most themes, all of these are available for $1.99 / €1.99 / £1.79 each.
Streetpass Mii Plaza Puzzles
Streetpass Mii Plaza is a pre-installed game where players use Miis that they have encountered to complete games. One game, "Puzzle Swap", requires players to take pieces that they don't have from other players, in order to finish puzzles of various Nintendo characters or games. There are currently 4 Pikmin-themed puzzles on "Puzzle Swap". The first is a picture of a Red, Yellow, and Blue Pikmin looking up at the sky. The other 3 are still-frames from the Pikmin Short Movies.
Nintendo Badge Arcade
Nintendo Badge Arcade (Collectible Badge Center in Japan) is an app for the Nintendo 3DS. It is a crane game in which players must use the crane to grab or knock the badges into the bottom of the screen, awarding the player with said badges to decorate their 3DS Home Menu.
In order to play, players must purchase plays on the Nintendo e-Shop. In the US, 5 plays cost $1.00, and the player is able to purchase bundles of 10, 15, and 20 plays for $2.00, $3.00, and $4.00 respectively. Another method of getting plays is by playing the Practice Catcher. Once the player accumulate 10 practice badges, they get a free play. Some practice badges have blue or red targets on the back of them, giving players 1 or 3 free plays respectively. Occasionally, Nintendo will do Free Play giveaways, giving one free play on certain days.
Pikmin Safari is a short series where the areas of PNF-404 in Pikmin 3 are explored by Alph and narrated by a man identified as Winston Chumling. It uses many documentary techniques, like switching between close ups of the animals and zoomed out shots of Alph walking. They were released on the Nintendo Video app on the 3DS. There are currently only 3 documentaries, for Garden of Hope, Distant Tundra, and Tropical Wilds. Since the Nintendo Video app was removed, Pikmin Safari was discontinued.
Hey! Pikmin is a Pikmin game available exclusively for the Nintendo 3DS. The Pikmin Short Movies were available for purchase on both the 3DS and Wii U eShop – the 3DS version has images in 3D, while the Wii U version's video is in high quality. The software was removed from the eShop on October 8th, 2020 and the videos were uploaded to Nintendo's YouTube Channel a day later. Although not belonging to the Pikmin canon, Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS is also game with Pikmin elements on the 3DS.
When transferring downloadable content from DSi to 3DS, or 3DS to 3DS XL, various types of Pikmin are seen "carrying" the data over.
Pikmin 3 was originally made for the Game Boy Advance, and later Nintendo 3DS, but Shigeru Miyamoto wasn't happy with either of these consoles limitations for the game he envisioned. Eventually, he settled on using the Wii U.
A Red Pikmin hat can be obtained for the Streetpass Mii Plaza in the Find Mii mini-game. It can be worn by the player's Mii.