October 21, 2014

New Nintendo 3DS, and the want

Sam Byford, writing for The Verge, on the New Nintendo 3DS:

But let’s be real here: very little about the New 3DS feels new, or even much like a gadget released in late 2014. It’s still made of chunky plastic, the screen is still lower resolution than a standard-definition TV, and the internals are still wildly out of date compared to smartphones from even a few years ago.

It’s just as well, then, that the 3DS’s biggest strength is that it isn’t a smartphone — and that the other changes Nintendo made are all major improvements to the main thing it’s designed to do. Which is play games.

The score’s a respectable 8.2. I’ll probably pick up one of these when they launch in Europe next year (they’re Japan only for the time being), but it’s not a given. The problem isn’t the lack of games – there are plenty of great ones for the 3DS – but the fact that Apple and its App Store developers have utterly destroyed the need, if not the want, for a dedicated handheld games console.

Byford does have a point regarding both the 3DS and the Wii U: If you enjoy, and want to play, traditional video games, and especially those from Nintendo, then these are the games devices to own. That’s the one point where the App Store and its namesakes are sorely lacking. They can’t deliver the traditional games experience, and although there are controllers, they’ve a way to go.

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