In less than one week, North American gamers will be able to head out to their nearest video game retailer and pick up the Nintendo 3DS XL. The revamped portable will be launched simultaneously alongside New Super Mario Bros. 2, which should help motivate newcomers to invest in the significantly larger portable.

First-time buyers, and even those just making an upgrade from the standard 3DS model, are probably wondering what games they can look forward to playing on the 3DS XL later this year. That’s why it’s so convenient that Nintendo has taken the liberty of announcing the current lineup of 3DS games scheduled to come down the pipes later this year.

One of the biggest games on the list (if not the biggest game on the list) is Paper Mario: Sticker Star. 3DS owners have been looking forward to this game prior to the handheld’s launch, and they’ll finally be able to see if it lives up to the frachise’s illustrious pedigree later this year — more specifically, November 11th.

Other games detailed in the press release include Style Savvy: Trendsetters (October 22), Art Academy: Lessons For Everyone! (October 1), Freakyforms Deluxe: Your Creations, Alive! (November 5), Crosswords Plus (October 1), and last, but certainly not least, Sparkle Snapshots 3D (October 18).

Nintendo also reconfirmed the release date of Professor Layton and The Miracle Mask. The title has been available in Japan since the 3DS first launched, and now — after more than a year and a half later — it’ll finally be available in North America on October 28th. Meanwhile Skylanders Giants and Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion will be gracing the 3DS with their presence on October 21st and November 18th, respectively.

While some of these games sound like they’ll be a lot of fun, there’s one significant title missing from the 2012 lineup. Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon has been pushed back into the first half of 2013, with absolutely no reason given for the delay. This comes as a major disappointment, but with the Wii U rumored to launch this November, it’s a solid strategy to ensure Luigi’s latest solo outing isn’t overlooked.

There may only be a handful of must-have games coming this year for the 3DS, but the little system is starting to build quite a solid back catalogue. With games such as Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, Animal Crossing, and Super Smash Bros. all still in development for the 3D-enabled gaming device, there’s still a lot for Nintendo fans to look forward to. There are still more secrets the Big N is saving for the back end of 2012, and I for one can’t wait to see what else the company has up its sleeves.

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