With the immense (or somewhat) popularity of 3D films and effects, it would only be natural for companies to start using this particular technology. A number of them have already marketed 3D-enabled LCDs that would allow you to watch 3D movies at your own home. Of course, the current technology that we have of them are a not family friendly. Why? Well, you still need to wear those damn glasses and most of these LCDs only give you one or two of them. Plus, if you are already wearing eye-glasses, chances are, you won’t find it fun wearing another set over the ones you are already using.
Anyways, as most companies have turned to the 3D technology to bring in more money for them, Nintendo isn’t going to be left behind what with its Nintendo 3DS which is set to be released in the market this March 2011.
The question is, with an astounding price of $250 on it, is Nintendo 3DS worth buying as soon as it is released on March? Well, first and foremost, here are some reasons why it would pay to have the newest handheld gaming device model from Nintendo:
Reason #1: It Does 3D Without Glasses
The Nintendo 3DS is the first real mainstream consumer product to try its hand at delivering a 3D gaming experience without the need to wear any cumbersome 3D glasses. (After all, Nintendo’s first real crack at 3D, the Virtual Boy, was nothin’ but the glasses!) It’s never been done before. Like how the Wii ushered motion controls into this generation, the 3DS is bringing this exciting new technology to the budget-conscious buyer, not just the one who can afford an expensive 3D TV and requisite 3D glasses.
Nintendo isn’t in the business of simply beefing up the graphics, doubling the processing power and then calling it a day. No, it’s all about bringing new experiences to everyone who has the guts to try it out. It’s worked beautifully with the DS’s touchscreen and Wii’s motion controls, so why not now with 3D?
Reason #2: Steady Flow of Big Name Games During Launch Window
When does a video game system start to stagger? When there isn’t a constant flow of blockbuster games released. Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata made it very clear in a recent interview that the Nintendo 3DS will attempt to “supply software without pause.”
With over 30 games launching around the release of the 3DS from the end of March to June, and big name franchises and games such as Super Street Fighter, Resident Evil, Mario Kart and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, it’s hard to not be impressed. You definitely won’t have a shortage of games to play, you’ll just have a shortage of time.
Reason #3: One Friend Code to Rule Them All
This one is a no-brainer. One of the biggest drawbacks of Nintendo’s online gaming strategy across the Wii and DS platforms is the Friend Code — a 12-digit string of numbers. If you want to play a game online with someone else, you have to type the entire number in. With each game having its own Friend Code, you can see why gamers have been griping about it. In typical fashion, Nintendo did this in order to protect younglings from meeting strangers online.
Currently, there is no universal buddy list like there is on Microsoft’s Xbox Live and Sony’s PlayStation Network. With the 3DS, Nintendo is promising ONE universal Friend Code, per system. Register your name once and that’s it. The company is finally starting to get with the program, even if it’s something the original Xbox started about eight years ago.
Reason #4: Game Boy and Game Boy Color Games on Virtual Console
If there was a Nintendo handheld time capsule buried in the ground, the Game Boy and Game Boy Color would be in there pretty deep. Long before the DS and its fancy touchscreen, bright displays and stereo speakers were the GB and GBC. With over 118 million systems sold (combined), the GB/C was Nintendo’s greatest performer during its comparatively lackluster N64 and GameCube days.
If you’ve ever longed for the old days of popping a cartridge into that old gray Game Boy to play games such as Metroid II and the original Pokémon Red/Blue, you’ll know that the games hold against time very well. Even with their MIDI sound blips and 8-bit graphics, you can tell the games were made with a lot of love. That’s why it’s great news that Nintendo is going to bring back classic GB/C games through the Virtual Console. The 3DS doubles as a GB/C that doesn’t suck up AA batteries by the boxload — shorter battery life notwithstanding.
Reason #5: Packed with Sensors Galore
Not to be left in the dust by Apple’s iOS devices, the 3DS has an accelerometer, gyroscope and a pedometer built in. The only thing it’s missing is a barometer. Combined, these sensors will give developers the freedom to program motion-controls into their games, just like on the iPhone. We’ve already all been conditioned into liking motion controls, why not have one more system that can do it, right?
I have a hunch that Nintendo is planning a health game along the lines of “Wii Fit 3D” or why else would it include a pedometer to keep track of your steps? Do we really need another Pokémon game that uses a Pokéwalker? A pedometer is just icing on the cake for exercise buffs.
Now that those things are out of the way, why does it sound like I’m not as hyped out about this as I usually am about new handheld gaming devices, consoles, and all-in-all gadgets? Well here are the 5 reasons why we should wait for the second generation 3DS rather than jumping into the bandwagon full of giddy and overexcited Nintendo-lovers.
Reason #1: Too Frakkin’ Expensive
Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime said that most people expected the 3DS to be $300 to $400 — Nintendo is selling it for $250, apparently a steal for you. So I hopped in my time machine to check out what other portable handhelds went for $250 from the gate. It turns out Sony’s PSP from 2005 and its PSPgo from 2009 both sold for $250. Nintendo’s own handheld consoles have never launched that high. The DSi XL was $190, DSi was $170 and the original DS sold for $150.
As a person who bought an original PSP for $250 in ’05, I can vouch that it was a pricey purchase. Gamers roared when Sony tried to pull the same schtick with the UMD-less PSPgo. As a result, the PSPgo priced itself out of the market. As it stands, the 3DS price is just too steep at $250, and that’s without any games, which brings me to my next point.
Reason #2: Expensive Games
Did you think that new games would get cheaper? What world are you living in? It’s hard to go back to paying $40 for a Super Mario game, when we can get as much fun or more from the $1 Angry Birds. Nintendo didn’t announce official game prices, but that hasn’t stopped Gamestop and Amazon frompricing them at $40 to $50. Yeah, I’m comparing watermelons to grapes, but the mobile world is different now — it’s populated by quick-burst casual games — the same ones that Nintendo made popular with its original DS.
With the added 3D dimension and more detailed graphics, developers and publishers will look to charge more for pocket versions of what are essentially console games (Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition, Resident Evil: Mercenaries 3D, Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D, etc.).
Reason #3: Terrible Battery Life
The DS Lite had an incredible battery. I often got over 10 hours of gaming in on the old thing. The battery on the 3DS? To put it bluntly: it sucks. Nintendo’s official stance is that the 3DS can get three to five hours on a full charge; that’s if you lower the brightness and dial the 3D depth down. The 3DS wouldn’t even last halfway through a 16 hour flight to Japan. Second-gen hardware revisions always have longer lasting batteries. It’s like companies purposely gimp the first-gen one just so they can tout more battery life later.
Reason #4: Ugly As Sin Design
You don’t have to hold the Nintendo 3DS in your hands to be able to see how ugly this handheld is. Everything from its polygonal hinges to the flat brick-layered profile to the exposed metal ports in the back make the 3DS look like an unfinished prototype.
Owners of the original Nintendo DS “Phat” will remember that it too was an abominable piece of gadgetry to look at. Nintendo gave the DS a complete makeover with the DS Lite, turning harsh angles into sleek curves; replaced the Lite’s glossy case with a very slick matte rubber on the DSi and then brought the gloss back on the DSi XL.
Nintendo’s going to redesign the 3DS, just like it did to the DS and the GameBoys before it. You can bet good money that the second-gen 3DS is going to look a helluva lot better than it does right now. What the hell was platform producer, Hideo Konno smoking?
Reason #5: Headaches and Eyeball Frying Tune-up
The goddamned 3D machine hasn’t even shipped yet and Nintendo’s already taking preventive measures by spamming every media outlet with warnings that the 3DS’s 3D could potentially mess up a little kid’s developing eyes.
It’s not only little kids who should be concerned, but also adults too. Japanese magazine Friday, ran a story claiming Japanese gamers suffered from headaches and eye fatigue after trying out the system at a recent Nintendo World event. Whether all of this is reason for concern is uncertain, but if it is, I’m sure Nintendo is monitoring it like a hawk and will tune it up in the next 3DS model.
So, are you going to go get the 3DS as soon as its out on the 27th of March or are you going to wait until Nintendo releases the second generation of the said handheld console? Personally, I’m going to go and wait.