The Best Virtual Console Ports on Nintendo 3DS

The Nintendo 3DS is one of the greatest handheld consoles in video game history. Not only is its own library fantastic and full of modern classics, but it also has access to the entire DS library, plus plenty of great retro titles. These titles are available through Virtual Console, Nintendo’s attempt to port most of its classic vintage library.

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With the tragic news of the 3DS eShop closing in 2023, now is the most relevant time to make sure you have some of these games downloaded onto your system. Here are some recommendations for those who aren’t sure where to start or what to buy next.

9 Oasis Defenders

Defenders Of Oasis is a JRPG originally launched for Sega Game Gear. Much of Game Gear’s library is vastly underrated, usually due to the handheld system only selling a fraction of its biggest competitor, the Game Boy. However, if you’re a classic JRPG fan, you shouldn’t miss this hidden gem. It repeats a lot of the common tropes and mechanics of the day, with the game’s touch having an Arabic setting. Genies, jinns and monster scorpions await you in this rare Middle Eastern adventure.


8 Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse

If you’re a fan of Soulslike games and want a retro title with so many challenging monsters and creepy environments, this might be the game for you. Castlevania III is often considered the hardest in the long-running series, although the addition of save states makes the game much more manageable. The same could be said for many games on this list. The first four Castlevania games are all on Virtual Console, with the first, third, and fourth all highly recommended by Castlevania fans as classic games. The second? Not really.

7 Earthbound

Ness and party on a street in EarthBound

If you’re a JRPG fan, Earthbound is a must-play game. It’s not only one of the greatest JRPGs of all time, it’s also terribly rare to find a physical copy. This means that buying the game for your 3DS might be one of the only options you have to play it. It’s a charming, humorous, and infinitely weird adventure told through an artistic Japanese interpretation of ’80s America. To that end, it almost hits the odd valley for Americans playing. If you’ve often wondered about the origins of the beloved Super Smash Bros. character. Ness, try Earthbound and see what it’s all about.

6 F-zero

Speaking of Super Smash Bros. characters. of obscure origins, F-Zero is the Super Nintendo game that gave us Captain Falcon. Although its role in this original title is extremely small, the game does not suffer in quality. It’s a fast-paced racing game that pushed the Super Nintendo’s rendering capabilities to their limit at the time. If you’re a fan of racing games or interested in the origins of one of Super Smash Bros.’ most iconic characters, then F-Zero is a solid buy you’ll have a lot of fun with.

5 Pokémon Gold and Silver

Nintendo surprised everyone by announcing that the first two generations of the mainline Pokemon series would be ported to Virtual Console. This is the first and only time, so far, that Game Freak has made ports of their old games rather than remakes.

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If you’ve missed playing the oldest and most classic Pokemon titles, or are just nostalgic about revisiting your favorite childhood game, then this is a great way to do it. Also, you can transfer any Pokemon you catch in these games to Pokemon Home on Nintendo Switch, from Gen 1 to Gen 1.

4 Mega Man 1-6

Capcom furiously pumped out Mega Man games back in the NES days, and they’re all now available on the 3DS Virtual Console. Most Mega Man fans prefer the previous games, with Mega Man 2 having the general consensus as the best in the series, but each game has its own merits. They’re all pretty similar too, which is why Capcom was able to produce so many in such a short time. That means if you like one, you’ll probably like them all, and there’s plenty of Mega Man to enjoy on your 3DS.

There are so many Legend Of Zelda games on the 3DS eShop. If you’re a fan of the series, there’s no better system for filling up on puzzles and adventures than the 3DS.

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Link’s Awakening was Nintendo’s first foray into a handheld experience for this franchise. In addition to Link’s Awakening, there are the fantastic Oracle Of Seasons and Oracle Of Ages. It would also be a shame to overlook the remakes of Majora’s Mask and Ocarina Of Time, which come together to put almost all of Link’s games from the 90s and early 2000s at your fingertips.

2 Kirby’s Dreamland 2

Kirby’s Dream Land 2 is one of the greatest Kirby games of all time. It is the first portable Kirby to use the copy abilities that Kirby is known for. The game is simplistic, but endless fun. As is often the case with Kirby, the game isn’t hugely challenging, although some of the bosses will certainly put you to the test. There are a wide variety of stages and enemies to keep things interesting from start to finish. Additionally, Kirby rides a fire-breathing hamster. Many lackluster games could greatly benefit from the inclusion of a fire-breathing hamster.

1 Triple Sonic Trouble

Sonic Triple Trouble is a lesser-known Sonic title, but not one to be taken lightly. Like Defenders Of Oasis, the main reason Sonic Triple Trouble isn’t so well known is that it’s a Sonic the Hedgehog game originally on Game Gear, and it just so happens to be one of the best games on this system. Sonic Triple Trouble has all the classic features of the best Sonic Genesis games taken up a notch with brand new features that can make the game a little easier but still fun.

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