The Nintendo 3DS has had a lot going for it lately. With the imminent release of Super Smash Bros. 3DS in Japan, gamers who have held off buying the system for the past few years are starting to snatch it up. And it’s not like they don’t have options, either; from the 3DS XL, which has twice the screen size, to the 2DS, which sacrifices 3D for a more affordable price, Nintendo knows how to cater to the crowd.
That is, until a few days ago, when they announced the New Nintendo 3DS.
It looks like a 3DS with a couple new buttons, so what’s the big deal? A more powerful CPU, improved graphical capabilities, improved battery life, improved 3D, and a customizable shell is what. It’s almost, but not quite, a brand new handheld system.
“Is there a problem with that?” You ask. “That actually looks pretty cool.”
It is cool. It looks awesome. I would be happy to get one when it comes out. Still, Nintendo releases upgrades to its handheld systems every couple of years and has been doing so since they started making handhelds in the first place, and I’ve never bothered with them. My regular little 3DS works fine, so I thought there was no point in spending the money.
Now, though, it seems like Nintendo isn’t giving us that option. After the initial announcement, another piece of news came out — games will be released for the New 3DS meant specifically for the New 3DS.
Meaning they’ll be incompatible with previous models.
And the first New-3DS-only game they’ve announced? A port of the Wii JRPG Xenoblade Chronicles.
Xenoblade Chronicles was released in North America in 2012 after a two-year fan campaign to get it localized. It was considered one of the greatest JRPGs of its generation, but a limited run, plus the fact that it came here near the end of the Wii’s lifespan, resulted in it becoming nearly impossible to find. Even now, the average price for it online is around $80, and you can forget finding it in stores.
Let’s see, the game originally came out in 2010, so I’ve been wanting to get it for, oh, four years now. Imagine my delight when I heard it was being ported to the 3DS.
Now imagine my reaction after finding out it would only be compatible with the new model.
Nintendo, I know you’ve been having a bad year … or two, but come on. You don’t need to be that blatant in telling us you want our money.
“But,” says the hypothetical you, “it’s just one game, and not everyone is interested in JRPGs. This seems like a more personal issue that you have about Xenoblade Chronicles.”
Okay, so let me get more general. I have a friend who’s pretty hyped for Super Smash Bros. 3DS. Just last month he bought a shiny new 3DS XL in preparation for its release.
Super Smash Bros will work fine on the regular 3DS, sure. But with the New 3DS, smash attacks will be easier and faster to use, built-in NFC technology will allow you to customize your fighters, and, well, it just looks and performs much better than the original. The look on my friend’s face as I explained earlier today that if he’d waited a few more months he could have gotten a way better 3DS practically tailored to Super Smash Bros. was quite entertaining.
From what I can tell, my friend is not the only one who’s having this problem. Why did Nintendo wait until now to announce the New 3DS, then? It really should have been advertised alongside Super Smash Bros.
Another problem: the New 3DS will be released in Japan on October 11 … a whole month after the Japanese release of Super Smash Bros. Estimated release dates for the rest of the world are around early 2015 — again, after the release of Super Smash Bros. I’ve seen a lot of consoles get released without any games, but the game getting released before the console is a first.
Again, the New 3DS isn’t necessary for Smash Bros. or any other upcoming 3DS games aside from Xenoblade Chronicles. For now. That will probably change, and soon.
One last gripe I have with the New 3Ds is its title. In this generation of Nintendo consoles — the 3DS and the Wii U — both are not upgraded versions of the DS and the Wii, despite their names. They’re entirely new systems. The New 3Ds is an upgraded 3Ds, not a new system … but it will have games exclusive to it. Is it a new generation? Not really, it’s like it went halfway there and then stopped.
Honestly, I would have preferred that Nintendo waited a year or so, made an entirely new console, and announced it as their next generation of handheld gaming rather than yet another upgrade. The 3DS XL and the 2DS were fine for upgrades. As for Xenoblade Chronicles, I’ve waited four years already, so what’s another?
And for a final, more practical problem, sure, “New 3DS” sounds cool in Japan, but what’s going to happen when it comes out here? I can just imagine the poor mother walking into the game store to buy a new system for her kid, asking for a new 3DS, and getting a used New 3DS … there’s a new Abbott and Costello routine in there. (Note: I did not make up that joke. The memes are already starting.)
Here’s hoping they at least change the name to make it less confusing.
Lynn Bachman, a fan of many things, was born and raised in Baltimore. After reading Lord of the Rings at a young age, she has had a perpetual fondness for fantasy worlds, epic quests and magical horses. When you can tear her away from her role-playing games, she enjoys such things as drawing, horseback riding, and of course, writing. Lynn received her B.A. in Writing and Literature from Juniata College in 2013. Don’t talk to her about sports or politics. Do ask to see her video game collection. Want to play a game: She goes by peacefulcascade on Steam, pcascade on Playstation Network, and my 3DS Friend Code is 2122-6206-0737..