Flipping through gaming magazines as a kid used made me envious of people living in Japan; they got the coolest games, and they got them first. Seeing all of those screenshots and previews always made the wait for the next Final Fantasy or Castlevania even harder, as the games would often show up in North America months, and sometimes years, after they did in Japan. With the rise of Western-developed blockbusters and the massive popularity of mobile in Japan, that's not really the case anymore, but there's still one reason I look at Japanese gamers with envy: Nintendo 3DS themes.
Thanks to an update back in October, Nintendo's handheld now gives you the option to spend a few dollars to spruce up the main menu of the device with a particular theme. In North America, the options available are about what you'd expect: there are themes based on popular games, like Zelda or 8-bit Mario, as well as a whole lot of Pokemon. (My personal favorite is a smiling Slowpoke laying on a beach, yours for just $1.99.) But there aren't many that are really amazing. I've yet to come across a theme I just had to install because it looked so great.
Japan, meanwhile, gets all of the good stuff. Just look at this adorable pile of sleeping cats, or this colorful theme based on virtual pop star Hatsune Miku. I'm in love with this Dragon Ball Z theme and I don't even like Dragon Ball Z. Meanwhile, this Neon Genesis Evangelion one even plays the anime's amazing, hyper theme song. But the most amazing of all comes from Sega, which recently released a theme based on its beloved Dreamcast. For just a few yen you can make your brand new handheld look (and sound) like a console from 1998. Just hearing that menu music brings me back to spending untold hours playing Soul Calibur in high school.
So yeah, I may not have to wait to play many games nowadays, but I'd trade it all to hear a dial-up connection sound when I boot up my shiny new 3DS.