Sunday, March 3, 2013

Crescent's Thoughts On: The Nintendo 3DS

*Mumble* *Mumble* Okay, your attack power is 25, yours is 23, and yours is 17 against my defense of 19... *Mumble *Mumble* Wait, I'm weak against your attack so that 8 times 3 plus 9.... crap... Hmm? Oh, Sorry! Yeah, Fire Emblem Awakening has been consuming any bit of free-time I have had and I don't even think I'm halfway through the game. I probably am, but it doesn't feel that way, and I'm currently 40 hours into the game 40 HOURS. True, most of that is a lot of grinding but still. Anyway, because of my Fire Emblem relate commitments, I haven't had much time to put together a new review, or even think about what to review next. And so, since I've had my 3DS for almost a year now, and I have some experience with various games for the series, I will share with you my thoughts on the 3DS. I guess you could call this a review of a game system, but I don't really plan on doing this consistently.

How the hell do you advertise 3D in 2D mediums?
So what is the 3DS? Well, in case you where hibernating in a cave on planet Vega 2 for the past two or so years, the Nintendo 3DS is the successor to the Nintendo DS, which in turn is the successor to the Gameboy series of handhelds regardless of what Nintendo said at the time of it's release. The DS was a unique system designed to change the way we play games by introducing touch screen controls (now a common feature for tablet gaming) and having a top and bottom screen for which the system is commonly thought to have been named for (DS standing for Duel Screen). The 3DS improves on it's predecessor's design not only by including all the features of the advance DSi system, but also adds a new top screen that can display 3D movies, images, and gameplay without any need of special 3D glasses. It accomplishes this by having the top screen be able to display two different images angled in such a way that when sitting a certain distance from the screen, the left and right eyes get the two images and your brain combines them for the 3D effect (This is the same principle that Holographic Cards work on). It is this 3D effect for which the system is called the 3DS.

Okay, sales pitch aside, I really wasn't all that interested in the 3D effect prior to getting the system. I mean, this whole 3D effect craze, I feel is just a fad that will eventually burn itself out. I mean, James Cameron's Avatar (Which has nothing to do with the badass animated series) was suppose to be the crowning example of 3D movies, and honestly the 3D effects couldn't save a rather predictable and silly plot. I was also skeptical about how games would use 3D because again think about movies. What do 3D movies use their 3D effects for? Throwing things at the camera and making the audience jump. I couldn't see that working for video games because you usually have control over the camera and thus anything that is "In Front of" the screen could be clipped off of the edge of the screen. And this happened in the ending sequence to Star Fox 64 3D, which completely ruined the effect. The only way I could see it working is if they used the 3D to create depth "Behind" the screen, as if you are looking through a window into the game world. But I was surprised that that is how they usually use it and when it is used it is used beautifully. Now there are time where it just doesn't work (I'm looking at you 3D classics Twin Bee and Xevious) but from my experience it works more often than it doesn't.

Either the 3DS hasn't penetrated the market enough or I need to go out more.
Of course, since just being a gaming system isn't enough in this day and age, the 3DS has a slew of features including a camera to both take pictures and record videos IN 3D!! It also has a music player, a web browser, and the Nintendo eShop where you can buy and download new demos of games, videos, and even full retail games now. And all of this can be stored on a SD card allowing you to transfer music, movies, and pictures from your 3DS to your PC and vice-versa. I only have two issues with this, one is that I need a SD reader on my computer to transfer files, but that can be easily solved... if I had money to by a SD USB reader. The second is that the SD card that comes with the 3DS is only 2Gigs, that is nowhere enough room for even half of my music. This can also be solved by buying a new larger SD card, as usually most SD cards are compatible with the 3DS (TAKE THAT SONY!) but once again money is my main stopping force.

One of the features that is very prominent with the 3DS is the Streetpass feature. Basically, if your 3DS's wireless communicating is on and there is another 3DS within proximity, you will engage in a Streetpass and data is transferred between the two systems. One feature that is available right out of the box is the Mii Plaza, where the Mii you create in Mii Maker can be swapped with other system's Miis and you can play games including a Puzzle piece collection game and a very simple RPG type game. It also allows you to see what other people have been playing. Other games also use the Streetpass feature like both Fire Emblem Awakening and Etrian Odyssey IV allow you to swap your teams with each other to see how other players are doing in the game. Personally, it is a nice little feature, not something to sell systems I feel, but it is neat to see what other people are doing... However, the issue is of course finding another person with a 3DS, and that person having Streetpass on.

Nintendo Video, why are you so useless?
However, there is one problem I have with the 3DS. Okay, it's main feature is that it can use 3D images without the need of 3D glasses. You can play games in 3D sure, but you can also watch videos in 3D as well, right? Well why in Sagan's name isn't there a free video service for the 3DS!? Why do I have to have either Hulu Plus or a Netflix account to watch videos on my 3DS? It is nice that they are there, but what I want is a Youtube equivalent. A video service where I can watch videos for free and only have to suffer though watching commercials every now and then. Or watch Hulu without having to have a Hulu Plus account, something like that. Yes, I know there is Nintendo Video, but that doesn't cut it. I mean seriously, only 4 videos that rotate and I have no choice as to what videos I can get, and there is no catalog of older videos and series that I can watch at my leisure? Often times I just go to the Nintendo eShop because they have videos for games and stuff available there, and I can watch them anytime I want, why can't Nintendo Video work the same way? Okay, honestly I just want to watch anime on my 3DS, you know so I can watch the entire series of Spice & Wolf in my down time, when I for some reason don't want to play Fire Emblem Awakening. So can someone please let Nintendo know that I want a free video service like Youtube on my 3DS, Nintendo Video just isn't cutting it.

Games for the 3DS? The only answer you need is Fire Emblem: Awakening.
Beyond that, I really have no issues with the system. Games-wise, I know that the system had a very slow launch, the only games really for it that could move systems was Super Mario 3D Land, Kid Icarus: Uprising, and the 3D remakes of Ocarina of Time and Star Fox 64. Not a really stellar library to start off with. But I feel that the system is starting to hit it's stride. With Fire Emblem: Awakening and Etrian Odyssey IV, and games around the corner like the MUCH anticipated Shin Megami Tensei IV, Pokemon X and Y, and even a remake of Dragon Quest VII, I think the 3DS has created it's place in the gaming market. Hell, I'm making use of my 3DS and I can still play my catalog of DS games on it.

Until next time.

-Crescent, Dammit I want that 3DS! Does anyone know if I can get that design as a decal?

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