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On Sunday, I noted the announcement of the 3DS XL, and mentioned that I had my own thoughts on the matter.  For context, I got a 3DS within the month of launch.  Can’t remember if I went so far as to get it on launch, but it’s possible.

The Good

Obviously, the larger size is nice for visuals.  There are some very nice looking DS and 3DS games that could really be served well by being on a larger screen. As I understand, the larger screen really delivers. I was never bothered by the battery life, but it was evidently a big deal to lots of people.  The XL has a longer battery life.  The XL also supports a larger SD card.  It allegedly has a nicer form factor, and is more ergonomically designed. Additionally, the $200 price tag doesn’t seem so bad.  The DSi XL seemed a bit inflated in price, but that lies in part with its proximity to the announcement of the 3DS. I can see a $200 price being justified, with the minor caveat that that puts it at the same price as current-gen consoles, if not more expensive.

The Bad

The 3DS seems to have been designed with travel in mind.  It’s difficult to reconcile the StreetPass feature with the larger system, as a larger system is less portable. Nintendo, like so many other companies, is irrationally afraid of us stealing from them, so my library of DSi and eShop games are either inaccessible or subject to a rather obnoxious migration process.  Which deletes any saves. Furthermore, any attempts to add functionality to the system will brick it. Are they trying to compete with the iPad? The price makes it competitive with iPads, but a 3DS isn’t nearly as multipurpose.  Never mind the fact that Nintendo is still terrified of the internet. People say that Apple is eating Nintendo’s lunch in the portable arena. I don’t but that idea, and think remaining a dedicated system is perhaps the wisest approach, but it needs to be done right. It can’t be done by pretending to be an iPod, or an iPad. It can’t en done by sticking to the same ideas that have worked for a century, but it also can’t be done by shouting “me too!”

A few short years ago, Nintendo caught everyone by surprise with the DS and the Wii, both expected to be flops. They seem to have learned the wrong lesson. The lesson they learned was “Screw the public, we can do better if we trust our instincts!” The lesson that should have been learned was “Dare to be different. Try new things and take risks.” Seeing as the key announcements for Nintendo have been the Wii U, New Super Mario Bros. 2, and the 3DS XL, I think it’s fair to say they didn’t learn the right lessons.

The Ugly

Everyone’s making a stink about the lack of a second analog pad. Dual analog controls weren’t the norm for quite some time in polygon-rendered games (i.e. 3d environments and characters).  There are other control schemes that work. Kid Icarus: Uprising was a disaster with controls, admitted.  But ti was a disaster precisely because the designers were married to one particular idea of what a control scheme should be. Pot, meet kettle.

Also, the color choices on launch are pretty lame.

Since we’ve just gotten the announcement, there’s really not much that would be fair to say right now, even though the anticipated release is about 2 months from now.  Seeing how things go, I may be enough of a sucker to get one – the visual improvement is hard to deny, and most of my portable gaming is on a couch anyway, and I’m probably more devoted to Nintendo than I should be or they deserve.  But Nintendo getting my business is hardly a mark of success.


Randomness from the Intarwebs

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Decided it’s probably best to take a break on Sundays – share some various oddities and points of interest for people who follow the intarwebs less than me. Won’t always be video game oriented, but that’s what jumps out this time…

Super Retro Squad – a Kickstarter project to turn the ideas of Super Mario Bros. Crossover into its own game, with original IP and a more robust game overall.

Nintendo announces the 3DS XL – I have a few thoughts on this, but it will get its own post, most likely.

Muk used Acid! (NSFW language)

The Turntable Turnabout