The Nintendo 2DS is a specialized incarnation of the Nintendo 3DS. Though its name may indicate otherwise, it doesn't play a separate library of games. Instead, it plays all of the Nintendo 3DS's games (including games bought at retail, and games downloaded from the Nintendo 3DS eShop), but does so without offering the option for 3D visuals. In fact, there's no 3D slider at the side of the system, unlike the Nintendo 3DS or Nintendo 3DS XL.
The Nintendo 2DS is also cheaper than the Nintendo 3DS or 3DS XL ($129.99 USD versus $169.99 USD and $199.99 USD), and it boasts a tablet-style design instead of the 3DS's traditional clamshell design.
If you have a youngster and you're worried about the effects of 3D on his or her eyes (or if you don't want him or her messing around with the 3DS's fragile hinges), the 2DS may prove to be an excellent option for you! Similarly, if you're an adult who has problems with seeing 3D projections and would rather not pay for technology you can't use, the 2DS is a good alternative.
Here's what comes in the Nintendo 2DS box:
The Nintendo 2DS system -- Newsflash: You need the Nintendo 2DS if you want to play the Nintendo 2DS. If you live in North America, you color choices are red and black, or blue and black. If you live in Europe, your options are blue and black, or red and white.
A stylus -- The Nintendo 2DS comes with a large, thick stylus that's much like the Nintendo 3DS Xl's default stylus. The stylus works as a sort of virtual "pen" to poke around on the 2DS's lower screen, though the system's tablet-like layout makes it easy to use a finger, too.
A 4 gig SDHC card -- An SDHC card comes packed in with the system (literally; you'll find the card in the 2DS's SD card slot). The card holds 4 gigs of data, including game save data and games downloaded from the Nintendo 3DS eShop.
A Nintendo 3DS AC adapter - The Nintendo 2DS utilizes the 3DS's AC adapter, which charges the system's lithium-ion battery when it's plugged in. Unlike the 3DS, the Nintendo 2DS does not come with a charging cradle.
AR Cards -- The "AR" stands for "augmented reality." As with the Nintendo 3DS, AR Cards use the Nintendo 2DS's cameras to project fun images and simple games onto a flat surface in your home.
No subscription to Nintendo Power magazine - Alas, the magazine is dead, so the decades-old tradition of hawking subscriptions with every new Nintendo system is dead, too.
Nintendo is also offering an optional carrying case for the Nintendo 2DS. This soft, zippered case isn't a bad idea for anyone who likes to carry their portables in bags, knapsacks, and other environments that contain pens, keys, and other sharp objects that might scuff up those handsome screens.