I’ll admit, when I first heard about the Nintendo 3DS, I was excited. It was handheld gaming – in 3D – with no glasses required. It housed a 3D camera, had an analog stick and was a welcome, innovative twist to mobile gaming.
Although I love my iPhone, and use it for gaming as well, nothing beats having the good ol’ D-pad and buttons for gaming on the go. I had an original DS, but always thought it was a disappointment for older gamers looking for something to take on the go, because while there was a multitude of titles to play, the quality of those titles was often shoddy, and it placed a heavy emphasis on kid-friendly gaming. I understand that it is a system designed for kids, but as the only system on the market with the stylus/touch screen combo, it was something that could have lent itself to a wider variety of games that could have appealed to an older audience as well. It never really did that, and it was something I had hoped that the 3DS would address. And even though the original DS had plenty of movie licenses, the majority of development was focused on the larger consoles, leaving the DS versions sorely lacking in quality. Sony’s original PSP was a disappointment as well, looking good out of the gate, but struggled largely due to its proprietary UMD format.
So at launch, the 3DS seemed like a logical addition to my arsenal of gaming gadgets, and was poised to be the device of choice. But alas, it was not to be. It was released with quite a limited selection of games, the E-shop was non-existent, and the 3D camera took only grainy pictures. Still, despite the initial disappointment, I was determined to give it a chance.
Unfortunately, things got worse. The heavily anticipated 3D effect got really old really quickly. The novelty had worn off after only a few hours, and I found that I was playing with it turned off 99% of the time, usually only turning it on to demonstrate to friends what it looked like (and also for those cool little augmented reality cards).
So when the E-shop was finally announced, I got excited again. But when it launched, it was a barren marketplace populated by lackluster old-school console ports like Excitebike3D which – even though it was a great game on the NES – didn’t benefit at all from the addition of the 3D element. Connection issues are also a problem, as downloading applications or games usually takes more than one try.
As I continued to use it over the coming weeks, the E-shop started filling up with a lot more content, but it pained me to find games that could be played on my iPhone for .99 cents – simple puzzle games – cost upwards of $7.99 on the 3DS. I couldn’t understand why everything cost so much! As I write this article, Amateur Surgeon in the iPhone costs $3, whereas House: Episode 1 (practically the same sort of ‘Operation’ style game – Surgeon even has more content) breaks the bank at $7.99 on the 3DS.
My confidence in the 3DS was waning, and I hadn’t touched it in nearly a month when Nintendo announced that there would be a HUGE price drop for the system. This was less than a few months after I had purchased it for full price. I wasn’t too happy to say the least, but was interested to see what the compensation to us original price paying suckers would be. Well, I got my answer when Nintendo announced its Ambassador program, which was supposed to be a sort of “thank you” to the gamers that had purchased the system before its drastic price drop. What was our reward? 10 NES virtual console games and 10 GBA virtual console games. Were they kidding? Aside from Legend of Zelda for the NES and some Mario/Donkey Kong spin-offs, the selection of games announced were relatively unheard of: Ice Breaker? Baloon Fight? Give me a break. If you want to wow us with great NES ports, how about a Double Dragon port, or a Battletoads port?
It’s really just been one disappointment after another with my 3DS. It was a system that I tried to like, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t. Unless the 3DS rectifies some of these shortcomings, it seems as though it’s doomed to be eclipsed by the upcoming PSVita, and relegated to the gaming console wasteland occupied by other consoles that just couldn’t keep up.