I really need some advice as I've been thinking about buying a 3DS XL since the announcement of the next Phoenix Wright game, but Nintendo has made it really hard for me with the region lock. I am from Sweden originally but currently live in Japan since a few years back, so here are my options:
Buying a Japanese 3DS LL
- Get the colour I want (white)
- Can use my accumulated credit with yodobashi (big Japanese electronics chain) to get the machine approx 150USD off
- Can get games not released in other regions (yet)
- I get to practice Japanese
- Can easily use the E-shop
- All games are in Japanese. Even though I can speak Japanese fluently, reading it does take more effort and although games like Zelda or Phoenix Wright will most likely not be too troublesome, the Layton-games or Virtues Last Reward would definately be kind of a hassle
- Games can be somewhat expensive
Buying an American 3DS XL
- Games are in english
- The USD is cheap and games are generally cheaper than in Japan
- Ugly colours (I wouldn't mind the Pink/white one but it's hard to get and expensive, and the red/blue ones are really boring in my opinion).
- Have to pay more money upfront for the machine since I cant use my yodobashi-credit
- Maybe harder to use the E-shop? (About this, I would have to buy Nintendo E-shop credits online, but even if I do, can I use the American Nintendo E-shop while physically being in Japan? Or will they somehow detect that and not let me use it?)
Buying a Swedish 3DS XL
Yeeaaaah not happening. The Swedish one is about 1,8 times as expensive as the US and Japanese ones are, and so are the games, so yeah.
So to summarize, both have some pretty heavy cons. Even though practicing my Japanese is well and good, sometimes you just want to relax and play games without any troubles, so only having to play games in Japanese is kind of a huge con. But on the other hand, buying a US 3DS means I have to shell up with about 240USD (incl. shipping) instead of the 50USD I would have to pay when I use my credit in Japan, and the colours are kind of a big deal for me as well (I know I'm silly like that).
Right now I'm having such a hard time deciding and I am so incredibly irritated with Nintendo for making a handheld machine region-locked that I am seriously considering just not buying it... But I really want it! I want to play Zelda and Theaterrythm and Virtues Last Reward and the new Phoenix Wright etc... What should I doo!?
Looks like getting the Japanese one is your best option in my opinion. Especially since you you are fluent in Japanese and you could get a good deal on it, and also since you can get the color you want.
Xbox Live- Zoom In
DO NOT correct me on my grammar because I could care less.
I've been using both the US and JP eShops for quite a while now, and I don't live in either of those countries, so you'd be fine with the US eShop.
To answer you question, in my opinion, your best bet is a JP 3DS. You already know the language, so something that will help you practice reading while having fun can only be a plus.
And I don't think there are many games that don't get released in Japan (I can only think of Heroes of Ruin off the top of my head), so you'll have the majority of the compiled library on one system.
Though, as you said, most JP games are indeed expensive, I believe ~$25 more than the US versions in a lot of cases. But you'll probably be paying something similar for shipping anyway, depending on your online store choice.
Also a side/random note about Amazon.com (US), they have a nasty habit of restricting international deliveries of games. Not all, but around 90% of my attempts were halted at the checkout.