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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Thoughts on the New 3DS Models

Do people still express much in the way of emotion when Nintendo announces an upgrade to their handhelds? I mean, this isn't anything new. They've been doing it since the Game Boy days. When news reached me that Nintendo had announced the New Nintendo 3DS, they only thing I could do was laugh. I was not the least bit surprised by this reveal, even though I was considering buying a 3DS XL, which I may still end up doing somewhere down the road. It may sound rude, but some of my laughter was directed towards those that had picked up the 3DS XL, thinking they had the best version of the 3DS. I can imagine the rage some of these owners were feeling. Nintendo had already stated that they wanted to forgo multiple releases of the 3DS as they did with the original Nintendo DS. But as we can already see with the 3DS XL and 2DS, they aren't exactly doing a bang up job. When I did some more reading on these New 3DS models, I found that there wasn't a whole lot to laugh about.

Cosmetically speaking, I think the design of these New 3DS Models is quite rad. The A, B, X and Y buttons are each mapped to distinct colors, which is obviously a homage to the Japanese SNES counterpart, the Super Famicom controller. Anything that gives a shout out to my favorite video game console of all-time is aces in my book. On the right side of the touch screen is a second analog stick of sorts, something Nintendo was criticized heavily for not including on the original 3DS and 3DS XL models. Nintendo tried to address this with the Circle Pad Pro add on, but most people didn't wish to physically add more to the system, myself included.

Another visual reminder of the SNES? Yes, please!

But a second circle pad and flashy face buttons aren't the only things these new kids are packing. The CPUs on these babies are more powerful than any of the current models, superior 3D viewing angels, additional shoulder buttons similar to those on Nintendo's first Wii Classic Controller, built in Amiibo scanners for your Amiibo figures (because you KNOW you're buying those things), Micro SDs instead of SDs, the best battery life yet, lasting up to seven hours and even a  replaceable battery. This sounds like much more than a mere upgrade, almost a whole new handheld. All of a sudden that 3DS XL ain't sounding too hot.

So yeah, this thing is miles ahead of any 3DS unit available and the increased power has brought some gamers fears to life. Xenoblade Chronicles will only be playable on these New 3DS systems and you can bet that won't be the only 3DS game that gets hit with that treatment. That's enough to have anyone seething.

It reminds one of the N64 days. Remember the expansion pak? The thing added more RAM to the N64's memory to enable games like Perfect Dark, Donkey Kong 64 and the Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask to be playable on the system. Whereas the expansion pak was an add on and not quite as costly as a game, these New 3DS's are no such thing. These are full blown systems and gamers should not have to cough up an absurd amount of cash just to play some 3DS games that should have been playable on hardware they already owned.

I think the most gamers seeing red are those that were trying to be smart and wait for the ultimate 3DS to come along. No doubt there are those that picked up a 3DS XL not too long ago and then read this news. Its like being kicked in the face with a pair of cleats. That stings bad enough but what this New 3Ds means is that unless you own it, you are essentially locked out of the entire 3DS library. As I said, I highly doubt Xenoblade Chronicles will be the only 3DS game to be made exclusively for the New 3DS. More games will follow and if you want to play them, the system upgrade won't be optional this time.

Wanna play Xenoblade Chronicles on the go?
Better be prepared to fork over some serious cash.

Still, it isn't all dark and cloudy. When you take a good look at it, the New 3DS units are exactly what gamers have wanted from Nintendo: more powerful hardware. But this thing is still a double edged sword for The Big N. While the hardcore gamer has their ducks in a row and is knowledgeable on the differences between the Wii the Wii U and different 3DS models out there, little Billy's mom isn't so savvy. Nintendo can plaster "Only Playable on New 3DS" on those boxes all they want. Such words will be lost on the casual consumer and will no doubt cause endless confusion, the very type Nintendo expressed desire to avoid by not releasing a plethora of 3DS models. And yet, here we are.

As much as fans adore Nintendo, they still catch a ton of heat from former fans that feel they've abandoned them and those that hate them for petty reasons. Nintendo just gave these gamers more ammo for their saw-doff shotguns. Things are certainly gonna be interesting to say the least.

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