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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Personal Experience: System Transfer to New Nintendo 3DS XL

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - The media are still the bad guys, but there's a truth to their stories of complexity.

I have had enough of having a broken Nintendo 3DS. I'm not even supposed to have an original Nintendo 3DS, and I set out at the start of this generation that I would start with the revision. It's just Shigeru Miyamoto's lies got in the way, and bam, I get stuck with a sexy Midnight Purple handheld with built-in design flaws and garbage-quality shoulder buttons. And the Circle Pad peels off and ends up in random places in my house instead of being on the pad.

So, as part of the Black Friday sales, you and I could save $20 on a New Nintendo 3DS XL. I know my headline was about the Wii U bundle, but basically every retailer had that $20 off. So...why not do it? Replace my broken Nintendo 3DS with a New Nintendo 3DS XL! Then I can actually play Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon instead of write articles pretending that I'm legitimately able to think it's the best game of the year.

I therefore ordered the New Nintendo 3DS XL off Amazon. I remembered that you needed a very small screwdriver to switch SD cards, which I would need to do if I wanted to transfer all my data from my Nintendo 3DS (which has a 16 GB SD card and uses about half of its memory right now) to my New Nintendo 3DS XL! And I also needed to actually buy that bigger microSD card. And I also remember that when the New Nintendo 3DS came out, there was all the media commotion that went along with this screwdriver business. And I dismissed it, saying,

The latest slew of attacks on the New 3DS that the mainstream media is massively reporting is the transfer process between your ordinary, old 3DS and the New 3DS XL. They're falsely reporting about its complexity. [...] Here are the facts: People who have done the 3DS to New 3DS transfer via computer have reported that it's extremely easy.”
So, I ordered those things. Though, at different times. I ordered the New Nintendo 3DS XL (New Red colour) and the screwdriver (#00 Phillips, because one source said those would be better than #0. That source is probably wrong, and Nintendo officially says to use #0) on Black Friday. And I then ordered the SD Card (16 GB microSD card) after the New Nintendo 3DS XL arrived. One correction from my article ten months ago:

"Chances are, if you can afford a New 3DS XL, you have or know someone who has the required screwdriver. If they don't, you can  buy it for literally one dollar. You can also use it for many other things as well."
Well, it was no longer one dollar come Black Friday!

Red New Nintendo 3DS XL Phillips Screwdriver microSD card
The SanDisk in the background, with the foreground having the New Nintendo 3DS XL and the screwdriver.

I thought about keeping the included 4 GB microSD card in the new system and doing the Low-Capacity microSD Card Transfer, but I'm not sure that I can keep both systems' batteries running for a very data-intensive task with only one AC Adapter. (Being the original 3DS's AC Adapter, since the New Nintendo 3DS XL doesn't come with one.)

Anyway, while waiting for the SD card, we went ahead and unscrewed the back cover for the New Nintendo 3DS XL. What a pain in the ass. The left side went off nice and easy. The right side? Not really. I do like how the stylus was designed to be a hinge to pry the back cover, though. However, it's not very useful for the job. Nintendo said don't use your fingernails, but I did. This is the one area I didn't exactly follow the directions.

New Nintendo 3DS XL battery cover Red
New Nintendo 3DS XL with 16 GB microSD card inserted. Now with subliminal Purell advertisement.

Removing the 4 GB microSD card included within was also... a lot more difficult than it should be. But, I did it. And then put in the 16 GB microSD card. I didn't re-screw the back cover yet since I know I'll have to take it out again. According to Nintendo's guide, now I can transfer since I just "upgraded".

Going to system settings on both 3DS and New 3DS XL... Gotta log-in to my NNID. This is like a funeral for my Midnight Purple 3DS. "The transfer process will replace all data on the target system with that of this system. All data on this system will be reset and deleted. Continue?" ...Yes.

Do I even have any DSi titles to move...? Oh yeah. Zelda: Four Swords Anniversary Edition, I guess. The Midnight Purple 3DS is saying, "Please check the transfer progress on the target Nintendo 3DS system. (This may take a while.)"

New Red Nintendo 3DS XL system transfer Midnight Purple
The awful lighting here actually shows off the 3DS's design flaw of the Circle Pad against the top screen.

PC-based transfer let's go! Watching some Pikmin move things. We start at 0% progress and they're moving a software icon from 0% to an area called 25% in flowers. Most of these Pikmin are apparently purple. Why can't they be white?! Wait, there is a white one. And that white Pikmin was moving NOTICEABLY FASTER than the other Pikmin! Good attention to detail! It zooms in on a milestone (now 50%) when it's being completed. Sheesh, this article is almost turning into a live reaction log. There's literally a purple Pikmin on the very left side of the screen just running in place for like a minute. This guy is inefficient. Also, there are no blue Pikmin in sight, but I'm not planning on playing underwater.

Pikmin movie New Nintendo 3DS XL system transfer
Here the Pikmin are transferring Nintendo 3DS Sound. Very quick, since there's nothing in there.

...Sheesh, all of that was just Built-In Software. Time for Built-In Save Memory! But that's a lot faster. And there's a blue Pikmin here.

Oh! Before I knew it, the transfer is complete! And the Midnight Purple has...been formatted... It's now giving me the runaround about setting my language as English and setting Date & Time. Oy. What do I do with this thing?

Meanwhile, the New Nintendo 3DS XL is looping through system transfer instructions. "This screen will be displayed if the procedure hasn't been completed, even after turning the power off and on again."

SanDisk microSD card Adapter correct way placement
This is the proper way to insert a microSD card into the SD Card Adapter.
...'cause I did it wrong at first and was wondering why it wasn't being recognised.

After holding down the power button on the New Nintendo 3DS XL for... five seconds, I got the microSD card back out and put it in the Adapter that came with it. The microSD card is totally empty according to my PC (since I just took it from the box), except the Nintendo 3DS folder. Which is itself totally empty. Still, Nintendo wants me to format it. So I will.

SD card formatter program
'kay. Done.

...I can't shake off the feeling like I've done something horribly wrong.

PC-based transfer Nintendo 3DS data
Well, guess this'll be a while.

Well, had dinner. Now I'm back! Ejected the Adapter from my PC since it looks like it stopped copying. Put the microSD card into New 3DS XL and put the battery cover back on (and screwed it back too... maybe not tight enough...?) and turned the system on.

After some things about Zelda: Four Swords Anniversary Edition needing to be redownloaded, the system restarted...

what Nintendo 3DS system transfer carries over
Level 20 Inkling amounts of freshness on this HOME screen right after transfer!

...And the HOME menu I showed off here is what greeted me! Nintendo Badge Arcade badges and the Splatoon theme blaring and everything! Even my unread StreetPass notifications are still intact, along with Play Coins! And the L & R buttons work perfectly! Friends List is the same. My bookmarks on the Internet Browser transferred. Everything, every little detail you could think of transferred besides that DSi game.

Unread Notifications transfer New Nintendo 3DS XL
I can actually PLAY Kid Icarus: Uprising now.

What lessons can we learn? One, the system transfer obviously isn't impossible. You just follow directions and it all works out. Two, the prices on screwdrivers fluctuate!

Still, when I was tellin' folks what I was doing, their first reaction (and these aren't tech-savvy or even game-savvy folks) was how horrible the New Nintendo 3DS XL must be designed to have to go through all of this screwdrivering and SD card transferring crap. And yeah, in a perfect world, you should be able to just take the 3DS's SD card and put it into the New Nintendo 3DS XL's slot. Unfortunately, it won't fit because it's for microSD cards only. And the licenses for the games (which wouldn't exist in a perfect world) are within the system, not the card.

It's not like the GameCube where you can just take your perfect 100%-completion Super Smash Bros. Melee data on a Memory Card in Slot A and make as many copies as you want with other Memory Cards in Slot B and use those on anything. Or you could just take the Slot A Memory Card and put it in as many Nintendo GameCubes as you dang want. You should know that I yearn for those days back, but I know that in reality, they won't.

Some folks will blame Nintendo for the handheld's design. And yeah, Nintendo does get some blame here. But as it is, you can just barely fit the New Nintendo 3DS XL into a pocket, and only if you give up on having other things in that pocket as well. And if you wear jeans (which I sure don't), then you can probably forget it.

My biggest issue from all of this was the stress. That said, my mind was primed up by the mainstream media's ridiculous horror story reporting from the beginning of the year. If they didn't fuel my natural inclination for anxiety and fear of the unknown, would I have felt all of this stress? The media has to take responsibility for the (un)intended consequences of their news reporting!

Ludwig now has a basically-factory-reset-besides-its-physical-failings Midnight Purple Nintendo 3DS in his possession, along with its 16 GB SD card that he should probably format. What will he do with it? What SHOULD he do with it? He does know some younger people in his life who might appreciate a gift. Give your thoughts, and your own experiences with system transferring! Also, Follow Ludwig on Miiverse because he might post more 3DS screenshots.

There's now a newer hardware revision than the New Nintendo 3DS XL, but Ludwig won't buy it because his New Nintendo 3DS XL is just fine.
Ludwig's New Nintendo 3DS XL is actually not fine, because it too has many design defects.


  1. I still don't understand why the New N3DS doesn't come with an adapter. Seems silly...

    1. Yeah, I would still really like to know that.

      Too bad this thing that came with the 3DS (charging cradle) is way too small for the New 3DS XL.

    2. But the adapter itself would work, just not the cradle, right?

    3. Correct.

      It just means the New 3DS XL doesn't get a home to sit in.

    4. I'm not sure where my 3DS cradle is. I never used it for charging, just as a stand, and I liked the one Kid Icarus came with better (even though I never used it while playing).

    5. Sometimes it wasn't even good for charging because the cradle is slightly too big for the 3DS, so I actually put it on the Kid Icarus: Uprising stand in a way so the side with the charging cable would be on the down-end. Y'know, so 3DS would be charged via gravity.

  2. I sometimes wish I have an excuse of a N3DS as I like its upgrades but my current 3DS still plays the games I like so there really is no need to spend on it.

    1. I would like to say that I'm so happy I can play PSMD.

      That said, I played Smash 3DS and had usage of shoulder buttons in the first time in forever... and I gotta say I really don't like Smash 3DS. <_<

    2. For those who already own the Wii U or are highly considering buying a Wii U, the 3DS version was more of a way to help those who are impatient play it until the Wii U version comes over. And I sadly am an impatient person.

    3. ...Yeah. So it became useless a month later.

  3. I have not transferred to a New 3DS mainly because I know a newer system will be right around the corner, but is it worth the upgrade?

    1. The New 3DS XL is so wonderful compared to a broken 3DS.

      Dunno if it's worth it for you, though.

      My thoughts are sort of... influenced by the fact that I got it as a gift.


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