Nintendo 3DS: Look who just innovated itself out of a paper bag!

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The beauty of the Internet is that it demands instant analysis of every single development to come out of Peoria. The Nintendo 3DS—out of Kyoto, which is not Peoria, I’m afraid—was announced overnight, time zone permitting. It will debut at E3 in June, and it will forever change the way you and I… do something. Something video game-related, methinks.

If one thing’s certain, it does mean that 3D is here to stay. I’m sorry. Say what you will about Avatar, but it made quite a bit of scratch. Then CES came around, in January, and every single TV manufacturer held presentation after presentation, laser light show after laser light show, trumpeting their fancy 3D TVs. None of the TVs are compatible with each other, so if you buy Company A’s TV and your neighbor buys Company B’s, y’all can’t get together to watch the World Cup in 3D—the glasses won’t allow it.

The GameCube barely displaced any water—what did it have, those Metroid games, Resident Evil 4, a couple of Mario games? It did well enough, but compared to the PS2 (and Xbox, I guess) the GameCube was sorta a disappointment. Granted, comparing any other video game system to the PS2 is like comparing a light bulb to the sun, but you can only beat what’s put in front of you.

Wii! Yup, Nintendo got tired of the hardware race, so it slapped a Bluetooth sensor bar to white shelled GameCube, called it Wii, then sat back and let the money a-roll in. It completely changed gaming. Now, rather than relying upon the “hardcores” to buy the latest Earthbound, Nintendo could convince Grandma and Grandpa, and your girlfriend, to play Wii Sports till their arms fall off.

You’ll note that it took Sony and Microsoft a few years before they realized, “Hey, this motion control business is quite nifty. Maybe we should get in on it?”

And they have! I have no time for motion control—you can pry my mouse and keyboard from my cold, dead hands~!—but clearly there’s money to be made here. If Sony and Microsoft can’t make money selling Fling Paint, then there’s no money to publish things like God of War and Fable.

So this 3DS thing (here’s the full English press release)… Nintendo describes it as letting you play games “with 3D effects without the need for any special glasses.” As someone who wears glasses—I’m blind as a bat, and nowhere near as cuddly—, let me be the nine millionth to say “Obrigado!” The 3D TVs at CES were largely pants, but I did get to play Battlefield: Bad Company 2 in 3D (thanks to some sort of Nvidia trickery) a few weeks ago. It didn’t blow my mind or anything, but if given the option, provided it’s affordable—I’m not buying a $1,000 monitor and glasses and a new video card!—then why not? Nothing wrong, per se, with a little added depth as I try to left-click over a Bad Guy’s face.

The 3DS, which should come out around this time next year, will be backwards compatible with your current DS library. My DS library is quite small (Chrono Trigger and those Final Fantasy remakes), so I could give a toss about backwards compatibility, but I’m sure there’s those of you who have more than a few games, games that you wouldn’t want to “lose” when upgrading to the 3DS.

Upgrading may not even be the right word, since the 3DS is totally new hardware. It’s not like going from the DS Lite to the DSi, or from the DSi to the DSi XL.

The point is, this is Nintendo saying, “Hi guys! Remember how we made motion control cool, bringing it to the masses? We’re going to do the same thing with 3D now. Kthxbye!”

And now we wait for Sony to announce a 3D PSP of some sort…

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