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3DS launch games: Where to start

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Monster Truck Destroyer

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3DS

As every gamer knows, hardware is meaningless
without the software to back it up. Thinking of grabbing a Nintendo 3DS when it
launches March 27? Then you're going to need a few games to get the most out of
your fancy new handheld. Start with these four:

Super
Street Fighter IV

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Capcom

Meet your first 3DS must-have. This handheld
take on Capcom's critically-acclaimed fighting game simply explodes off the 3D
screen, featuring gorgeous graphics and all the characters (yep, all 30 of
them), modes and moves from the console version. Full online play, optional
touchscreen controls -- this is a complete portable game package, and
hands-down the top launch game for the 3DS.

Buy from Amazon

Pilotwings
Resort

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Nintendo

Nintendo fans will instantly recognize the
PIlotwings brand, but even those who missed out on the older games in the
series should fly home from the store with this 3DS launch game in tow. It's a
terrific showpiece for the new Nintendo technology, letting players partake in
increasingly challenging flight missions using planes, gliders, and a jet-pack.

Buy from Amazon

Ridge
Racer

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Namco Bandai

Most folks associate this fuel-injected racing
series with Sony (and one impressive internet meme),
but publisher Namco has polished up Ridge Racer for its 3DS debut. It's very
much a Ridge Racer title, so expect to powerslide your way through tons of
large, winding tracks while banging into walls but never taking any damage. In
well-handled 3D, of course.

Buy from Amazon

Nintendogs
+ Cats

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Nintendo

Whether or not you'll want to adopt this
3D-enabled sequel to the 2005 virtual pet phenom depends greatly on what you're
looking for in a launch game. The 3D tech really brings the pooches to life (and
the cats, though they're mostly an afterthought), and their cute animations and
behaviors will make younger gamers squeal. Just don't expect much gameplay out
of Fido.

Buy from Amazon


Saved up for even more? Then also consider:

Super
Monkey Ball 3D

The latest from Sega's spherical simians offers
a nice variety of play modes, including a legit kart racer and a fighting game
inspired by Nintendo great Super Smash Bros.

Buy from Amazon

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars

This turn-based strategic take on the
highly-regarded Ghost Recon series might prove the perfect match for older 3DS
owners.

Buy from Amazon

Steel
Diver

If you're looking for a side-scrolling
challenge, take the plunge with this odd submarine hybrid title. Blending
action, strategy and sim elements, it's pretty unique.

Buy from Amazon

Lego
Star Wars III: The Clone Wars

It might not pack the drop-in, drop-out
multiplayer of its console kin, but with loads of playable characters and solid
gameplay, this pint-sized Lego Jedi is a chip off the old block.

Buy from Amazon

The Sims
3

Tiny people inside your portable? Sims fans will
enjoy the solid - if very familiar -- feel of the 3DS version.

Buy from Amazon

Must-have
accessory: Carrying case

While the 3DS features the same clamshell
design as the older DS systems and thus affords decent screen protection when
closed, that won't help much if the thing falls out of your backpack and slams
on the pavement. Take care of that investment with some handy accessories;
specifically, a good, solid carrying case.

Peripheral maker Power A touts a variety of cases
ranging from simple low-end cases to burlier transport bags, as does MadCatz. Though it affords less protection,
check out the Catalyst
slim case
from CM4 for a more designer feel. And if you just want to keep
your play-toy playful, look into PDP's 3DS Nerf
armor
. Bouncy!

RELATED: Is the 3DS safe for kids?

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