Summer is here, which means a chance to get away for that long overdue vacation to someplace exotic or a short trip to visit family. Whether it’s a long or short trip, and you’re a gamer, it also means spending time away from your console or PC. As gamers, we love our games but we also have lives outside of Mario and Zelda. How can a gamer have their cake and eat it too? If you own a portable game system, like a Nintendo 3DS or even a Nintendo DS, you bring that with you on the road. Here’s my personal five fun games I’ve taken with me on trips to pass the time between flights or rest stops. The list will focus on games that can be played on the Nintendo 3DS.
1. Ace Attorney Series
If you like courtroom drama with a side of over-the-top absurdity and a cast of colorful characters mixed in, the Ace Attorney series will be for you. I’ve taken a few of the games with me on longer trips, finding it a great opportunity to complete a single episode, or at least sections of a court case I’m currently playing through, when I’m not going sightseeing. With the entire Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney trilogy now available to play on the 3DS through the Nintendo eShop, it’s easier than ever before to start the series from the beginning and discover why Phoenix Wright is one of the most well-known and beloved video game characters to ever exist. Unfortunately, if you have an interest in playing every single Ace Attorney game to ever be released in North America so far, Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney and Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth are still only playable on a Nintendo DS. I can’t imagine a better travel companion than Phoenix Wright.
2. Fire Emblem Awakening
As a late bloomer with video games, I’ve missed out on playing games that are considered classics or have been around the block for years. This includes the Fire Emblem series. Any chance to play one of these games when they’re released on a system I actually own is a chance I don’t hesitate taking advantage of. Fire Emblem Awakening is my first introduction to the Fire Emblem series and a highly reviewed game. The gorgeous 3D cutscene animations, the smooth tactical gameplay, and one of the best story experiences I’ve ever had in a game makes Awakening one of the best games to bring on a trip. Of course, Awakening is a long game and not exactly one you’ll finish while you’re away. You’re on vacation to actually see and do stuff, right? But there are other things you can do in Awakening, like building bonds of friendship or romance with your companions or play through optional challenge battles that has no connection to the main story, especially if you want to level up your weaker characters more. If you find you have nothing to do during a longer than a few days trip, Awakening is a game you might want to consider packing.
3. Super Smash Bros. 3DS
I’m a big fan of Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Wii, so when a new Super Smash Bros. released for the 3DS back in 2014, it became a must-own game for me. I’m not the best fighting game fighter, but I do like a good beat ’em up session now and then. My favorite go-to characters to play as have always been Marth, Princess Zelda, Kirby, and Meta Knight to name a few. If you have a friend or family member who has the game and are traveling with you, it’s the perfect game to take for a little multiplayer fun during the trip. I find a game like Super Smash Bros. 3DS a good one for shorter trips when you only have time for a quick 15 or 20 minute gaming session.
4. Pokemon Series
Far too many Pokemon games have released for the Nintendo DS and Nintendo 3DS over the years. Everyone is going to have a different opinion on which Pokemon game they think is the best in the series to play. If you’re thinking of games to bring on a trip, no matter what the length of time is you’ll be away, Pokemon would be at the top of my list. There’s a certain allure in wanting to catch all the Pokemon, or maybe just your favorites, and continuing the long-standing tradition of becoming the greatest Pokemon master in the world. It’s the closest thing to living out a childhood dream of being in Ash’s shoes, traveling all over to become the very best with your very own Pikachu by your side. Whichever Pokemon game you choose, the series will keep you busy in short or long bursts of time, whether it’s combing through the grass for new Pokemon to catch or visiting the gyms to earn a new gym badge to bring you one step closer to the Pokemon League.
5. Animal Crossing: New Leaf
Some might have a divided opinion on putting a game like this one on any list. Animal Crossing: New Leaf is one of those games you’ll either find fun to play or a boring waste of time. Picking fruit from trees? Fishing or catching insects? Where’s the fun in doing chores? I’ll pass, thanks. I hear you, and I actually didn’t have much of an interest in the Animal Crossing games either. I just didn’t really get the appeal. I also learned later that Animal Crossing is a series that has been around for a while too.
When Animal Crossing: New Leaf released in 2012, you bet I didn’t exactly have this game high on my list of games to own. If it wasn’t for a friend and his girlfriend who already owned the game and wanted to make me an Animal Crossing convert too, he and his girlfriend succeeded by giving me the game as a birthday present one year. I sort of see the attraction of playing New Leaf. I certainly enjoy building your town the way you want it to look, the seasonal and holiday events the game has for players to come back for, and discovering which new neighbors move into my town. I would definitely say that New Leaf is by far the least stressful and most casual game to take on a trip, if you really don’t want anything too involved. It’s not a game I play every single day, but I like coming back to it on and off. It’s a game you play when you don’t have too much time to play a longer video game, but you still want to scratch that gaming itch satisfactorily. New Leaf is almost always a game I’ll pack and play on trips when my attention span is a bit short and I’m bored. It’s also nice to check in on your town and residents now and again, though the residents sure do freak out when you’ve been gone weeks or months at a time. What a clingy bunch!
There are plenty more games not on this list that would make a perfect traveling buddy on a trip. I’ve listed some of mine. What are yours?