Handheld Gaming in Three Dimensions – Should You Buy a 3DS?

I have an original Nintendo DS, and my son has a DSi. The DS Lite and even the DSi XL were reasonably sensible additions; sure, they didn’t have a great deal to offer that the DSi didn’t, but whatever.

The games carried over, and so everything was fine. My original DS works perfectly fine even now, almost five years after I got it from an acquaintance who no longer wished to use it, and in all honesty it has far out-lived my expectations. But with the 3DS opening up a whole new feature in the world of the hand-held console, should I be considering buying it?

One of the big draws to buying my son a DSi was the fact that he and I would be able to swap games back and forth. And this remains a good point for the 3DS; I can play all my old games on it.

But the new games will have an extraneous corner on their casings, preventing users from inserting it into an older model DS. As the 3D aspect of the games is controlled by a sliding mechanism on the side of the 3DS, and it’s possible to play them all without turning on the 3D, it seems a little unnecessary to make the new games unplayable on older models.

Whether this is simply a way to make people buy the 3DS, or if the technology is simply incompatible, is unclear. Either way, it sticks in the craw of many a user, as it comes across as a money-grabbing move.

Speaking of the 3D, I was very excited. The idea, I was led to believe, was that perspective would be used to create an illusion of 3D. The result is an unfortunate flickering screen that neither evokes the thought of 3D particularly strongly nor allows the player to enjoy it for long without developing a blinding headache.

For the 3D to work properly, the unit has to be held at a very precise distance and angle, with the 3D slider not turned up too high.

Now, that’s perhaps fair enough, but it seems to contravene some of the convenience of a handheld gaming console if I can’t sit in absolutely any position I like whilst playing it and personally, I’m not particularly keen.

Add to this the fact that the 3D adds nothing to the gameplay at all, and I personally don’t see the point of buying a 3DS aside from the new games which will be coming out without an older-model counterpart.

Finally, the battery life is truly disappointing, which means that, again, the portability is affected. A valiant effort by Nintendo, but in my opinion a bit of a swing and a miss. I’ll be succumbing to the 3DS as soon as Nintendo bring out a Mario title I can’t slot into my original DS… But until then, I’ll wait for them to iron out these issues.

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