What I'm Not Playing This Week: 3DS Edition

As a reformed Nintendo fanboy, today has been something of an emotional rollercoaster. Nearly five years ago, I lined up at three in the morning outside my local Target to purchase one of the 24 Wiis it was going to have in stock. I picked up a DS Lite on launch day, which has served me extremely well over the years. So imagine my surprise when I woke up last week and found my Twitter feed full of 3DS friend codes and people creaming their jeans about how great the Augmented Reality cards are.

“Oh,” I said, “Is that thing out today?”

I’m not trying to troll here and tell you that the 3DS isn’t worth paying attention to or anything like that, merely that, personally, it’s extremely odd. It’s odd that the launch of a major piece of Nintendo hardware and the follow-up to their most successful handheld ever had almost completely flown under my radar. And based on what I’ve been seeing, I don’t think I’m alone here. Hit the jump and we can talk more about the 3DS launch and why I haven’t picked one up.

As is typical, Nintendo held their biggest launch event for the 3DS in New York City last week. DualShockers was there, but to hear some of my fellow writers tell it, that video piece is a just a little misleading. Apparently, compared to many of their NYC events, attendance at this one was actually rather poor. And while sales numbers have reportedly been strong overall, but we certainly haven’t seen the hyper-sensational shortages and sell-outs we saw with the Wii launch so many years ago. Sure, there’s an awful lot of factors that make that comparison a little unfair: March is hardly the holiday season, it’s a handheld, the software lineup isn’t as strong, that kind of thing. You could even argue that maybe, just maybe, Nintendo has actually figured out how to meet demand and avoid those nasty shortages.

That could all be true, but part of me thinks that the marketing push just isn’t there for this thing. The average consumer, the kind of person that gave the Nintendo DS its dominating hold on the handheld market, just isn’t aware of the 3DS. They don’t know why they should want it. After all the redesigns of the first DS, most folks simply aren’t discerning enough to look at a case filled with DSi’s, DS Lites, DSi XL’s and 3DS’s and understand that one is effectively a brand new generation. If it weren’t for the price tag, people might miss that little leading numeral entirely. Maybe Nintendo is just getting overconfident? Do they assume, perhaps, that since it’s shiny, has their name on it, and fits in your pocket, it will simply sell itself?

Obviously, none of those excuses really apply to me. I am well aware of the 3DS, and have been for over a year now. I know what it can do and I know why I should want it. So why don’t I? Well, despite what my Wii launch antics may reveal about me, I’m not typically an early adopter. I didn’t pick up a DS until the Lite was out and it had a reasonable back catalog of software, and I’m still waiting for the Xbox 360 and PS3 to give me a good reason to turn my PC off for more than 25 minutes. So while the 3DS is certainly an impressive piece of tech, and something I’m sure I’ll be interested in picking up at some point, I’m just gonna let them work out the kinks first. Give the developers a few months to figure the thing out, let Nintendo get a few firmware updates under the hood, then we can start talkin’ brass tacks. There’s also Nintendo’s aforementioned love affair with hardware redesigns to consider: the “I’ll wait for the 3DS Lite” argument is far from ridiculous.

Something tells me, though, that I’m not gonna last that long. While the software available for the handheld seems lacking at the moment, once Nintendo’s first party stuff starts rolling out, I will be completely unable to resist. Ocarina of Time and Star Fox 64 are easily two of my favorite games of all time, and the opportunity to play both of them, on a handheld, in 3D with updated graphics is enough to force 13-year old me to travel into the future and kick me in the crotch if I don’t purchase them as soon as I possibly can. But then again, my girlfriend just picked up a 3DS, so I can always just play them on hers. Maybe I’ll be able to hold out until the 3DS Lite after all.

That’s all from me, but some of my best friends in the world aren’t playing things, too. What are they?

Justin “The Yellow Dart” Hutchison: Everything, because I’m too busy crashing farming equipment in Farm Simulator 2011.

Allen “The Yellow Snot” Park: The Stacking DLC, because thanks to the 3DS I now have a permanent magic eye effect going on with my vision.

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Danl Haas

Danl is a home-grown Minnesotan gamer, artist, and programmer. He loves rhythm games, RTS, and platformers. He loves building computers, too. His favorite games include Phoenix Wright, Dance Dance Revolution, and Katamari Damacy.

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