September 4, 2014

The "New Nintendo 3DS" - Announcement Reaction & Initial Thoughts

For those who might not yet have heard, Nintendo has announced a new handheld game system.  As of now, it has only been announced for Japan, but there isn't much chance it will be exclusive for long.  The new system is called "The New Nintendo 3DS".


And the confusion is already clear.

Let's clarify one thing.  A lot of people online are calling this the "New 3DS" - that is not the name.  The name is the "New Nintendo 3DS" --- not the "Nintendo New 3DS", the New comes first.

I sincerely hope that they will come out with a *ahem* new name before launch - at least a new name for regions outside of Japan.  (Nintendo does have a history of using slightly different names for consoles in Japan - the biggest being Japan's Famicom / Super Famicom vs the Nintendo Entertainment System / Super NES, and the most recent being Japan's DSi LL & 3DS LL vs the DSi XL & 3DS XL.)

The first problem,"New" things don't stay "new" for long.

Remember a few years ago - Apple came out with the "New iPad".  That was the official title.  Not the iPad 3 or the iPad 2012 or the iPad 3G or the iPad 3rd Generation... no, it was officially titled and marketed as "The New iPad".  It was replaced and discontinued in less than 8 months.  It took less than 2/3 of a year for the "New" iPad to go from "New" to "Not-the-Newest-One-Anymore" to "No Longer being made or sold".

I'm not saying the "New Nintendo 3DS" (which I am now going to call the nn3DS because - it's faster) will be obsolete in 8 months.  But what I am saying is that at some point in the future, it will no longer be the newest handheld console from Nintendo.  And before that even happens, it will simply no longer be "new".  The PS Vita is Sony's latest handheld - but it's not "new".  It has been out for over 2.5 years and has already seen a hardware refresh.  It is not "new" by most technological or video game standards.  It is still the new-est - but it is not new.  And the same will happen with the nn3DS.

The second problem - probably the bigger problem - that name is confusing as *#^~@!

It is bad enough that we have currently on the market the 3DS and its follow-up the 2DS, (not to mention the 3DS XL).  Now we will have the 3DS - the 3DS XL - the 2DS - the nn3DS and the nn3DS XL.  So let's say your 3DS breaks, and you want a replacement.  You go to your local game store and you say "I want a new 3DS" - and since "your local game store" is a GameStop, because they are a complete monopoly - they sell used consoles.  So the clerk asks you "Do you want a new New 3DS or a used New 3DS?"  You assume the second-place "new" is lowercase and referring only to the fact that it will be "new-to-you".  ...

Ok, it's late, and I haven't thought the joke all the way out, but you could have up to 3 "new"s (not to be confused with 3 news).  If it is a not-used nn3DS that you have never personally owned before, it would be a new-to-you new New Nintendo 3DS, or just a new-new-new 3DS.  As opposed to a new used New 3DS or a new used 3DS or a new new 3DS or a ....

I hate the name.

I seriously hate the name.

None of this would really matter much if - like the 2DS - the nn3DS only played 3DS games.  But they don't.  There will be exclusive titles to the nn3DS.  Meaning you will run into all this confusion everytime you want to buy a new 3DS game... or a New 3DS game....  or a new-New.... $*#@)#*!#*!!!

Now....  Name aside - what is so... *ahem* "new" about it?

A second analog disc - much smaller than the main one.  The 3DS already has an awkward optional add-on device that adds a second control disc.  So it would be possible for nn3DS games to use that to be backwards compatible - but that is not all that separates the 2.

The 3D is better.  The 3D can now be seen from a much wider angle - and not just directly on.  On the current 3DS, if you tilt either your head or the 3DS screen even slightly it can - and does - break the 3D effect and blurs the screen.  The nn3DS promises to change that.  This will be really helpful for anyone wanting to share their screen with someone else (which doesn't make a whole lot of sense on a handheld... but it is good to have the option).

A feature a lot of reviewers aren't even mentioning is there will now be 2 shoulder buttons per side.  This, with the new circle pad, will finally bring the 3DS to have the same number and type of controls that virtually all other consoles have had for the last 3 generations or so.

The thing that will make nn3DS games impossible to run on the "old" 3DS is that the new hardware will have a faster, more powerful processor.

It will also have NFC to communicate with Amiibos. (Something that yet another optional add-on accessory for the 3DS will be able to do.)  Potentially, this could be used for Disney Infinity and Skylander figures as well, but I am far from familiar enough with the tech to know if that is even possible.

It is moving from an SD slot to a Micro SD slot, which isn't horrible, but it is more limiting.  At least it is an open standard format and not some proprietary garbage like Sony uses on the Vita.

Some of the button layout is different, not just the addition of the new controls, but the star and select have been moved - and the XYAB buttons are now color-coded like the Super NES/Famicom buttons were.  This is a nice touch.

All-in-all I like the system just fine - but I hate the name.  I look forward to seeing it in action.

What do you think?

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