Gut Reactions: Nintendo 3DS

The GameSpot editors share their thoughts on Nintendo's announcement of new handheld hardware.

Gut Reactions: Nintendo 3DS

After numerous rumors and much speculation, Nintendo formally announced its new handheld hardware--the 3DS (tentative name). While the company has yet to reveal details, we do know that the focus of the system, according to a Nintendo press release, is to produce 3D effects without the use of glasses that we've seen utilized for movies and forthcoming TV sets. In addition to games specifically designed for the new handheld, the 3DS will play original DS and DSi games. The GameSpot editors chimed in on the announcement and shared their thoughts on where Nintendo is taking handheld gaming.

Sophia Tong | Associate Editor

As much as I love my Nintendo DS, I'm not sure how many versions of it I want to own. It's one of my favorite systems to play on, but I already have three, two of which are DS Lites and one is a DSi. I will definitely not be getting the DSi XL because it's too big and bulky, and I'm not quite going blind just yet.

Not having to wear stupid-looking 3D glasses will be a perk, but I wonder how much of a strain it will be on the eyes. Is this going to be like Virtual Boy 2.0? I'm just hoping there will be no 3D Magic Eye game where you'll have to relax your eyes and stare at an ugly multicolored mess until the 3D image pops out.

It will be interesting to see what size this new 3DS will come out in. Will it have multiple sizes to choose from? Will it be XXL? Super lite? What should we expect next? Nintendo 3DSHD? I'm really wondering how many more versions of the DS will come out before we see a new, completely revamped handheld. For those who don't own a Nintendo DS yet (What's the matter with you?), you're going to have a lot of options to choose from, but for the millions of us who do, I'm not sure if I want to keep buying a new one every couple of years.

Andrew Park | Managing Editor

OK. I get that Nintendo is trying to get me to rebuy its game hardware yet again (something it's done numerous times with its three, now four versions of the DS, and the three versions of the Game Boy Advance). What I don't quite get is why Nintendo is going in this particular direction. The supersized DSi XL, which comes with preinstalled games and "apps," as well as an onboard camera, almost seemed like a step toward Nintendo competing directly with the iPhone--another pricey, app-laden, pocket-sized gadget with an onboard camera (and phone functionality, of course, but who even uses their iPhone to make calls?). I have to admit I'm skeptical hearing Nintendo's claim that the handheld will produce 3D effects "without the need for any special glasses" and can't help getting vivid flashbacks to the headache-inducing Virtual Boy. But I must be way off base drawing that kind of comparison. Right?

Justin Calvert | Section Editor, Reviews

My first thought upon hearing about the 3DS this morning was that perhaps I should cancel my DSi XL preorder. I won't. But given that the jumbo DS launch is just days away here in the US, the timing of this announcement seems odd. Here I am, excited to get my hands on new hardware at the end of the week, and now, there's already another Nintendo handheld on the horizon. Regardless, I'll still get my DSi XL and, when the time comes, I daresay I'll also buy a 3DS. The prospect of 3D gaming on any platform doesn't excite me in the slightest, and the prospect of adding a fifth DS to my collection is worrisome if anything, but I'm old and wise enough now to know that as soon as Nintendo puts a 3DS in my hands at some event or other, I'll almost certainly want one. It worked with the Game Boy Pocket, the Game Boy Color, the GBA SP, the GBA Micro, the DS Lite, the DSi, and the DSi XL. Why should this one be any different?

Brendan Sinclair | Associate News Editor

When I saw the announcement of a 3D DSi, my first take was that Nintendo was trying too hard. The company established that eschewing the bigger-better-faster approach to new hardware could pay off big with the DS and the Wii. The difference is that those systems had innovative interfaces with gameplay applications, introducing the touch screen and motion controls to mainstream gamers. While we don't know anything about the games so far, the 3DS sounds like it's simply a prettier version of what came before. Yes, 3D graphics could be a cool novelty, but I don't see that they will dictate new approaches to gameplay in the same way as the touch screen and motion controls. The 3DS sounds like Nintendo jumping back into the race of trying to impress people with shiny graphics. And that's a race the company dropped out of years ago specifically because it recognized it couldn't win.

Brian Ekberg | Senior Editor

With the PlayStation Move and Project Natal, Sony and Microsoft have been playing catch-up to Nintendo's motion controls for a while now. After today's announcement of the Nintendo 3DS--days before the release of Nintendo's latest handheld reboot, the DSi XL--the tables have been reversed with Nintendo looking to stake a claim in the 3D space after Sony made its big 3D splash at CES 2010. The timing of this announcement couldn't have been weirder, but I suppose that's just how Nintendo rolls. There's no telling exactly when Nintendo will announce the successor to the just-announced 3DS, but considering the company's recent past, I'd say we can expect it sometime in the next two weeks.

Tom Mc Shea | Associate Editor

It's so difficult to get a handle on what kind of company Nintendo is. On the one hand, it is far behind the technological curve. The Wii struggles to output visuals that can match the best games found on the nine-year-old GameCube, and the DS is at its best when it's channeling the long-dead spirit of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. But when you factor in things like motion controls and a touch screen, you realize Nintendo just doesn't care about graphics. It focuses its technological efforts on new ways to interact with games. So where does the 3DS fit in? Is this going to change things from a gameplay perspective, like the Wii and DS have had so much success doing? Or are we going to get the same basic experiences with an extra dimension? As someone who is admittedly quite ignorant in regards to 3D, I don't understand how this will make my games better. Avatar, G-Force, (the games, not the CG movies) and Invincible Tiger had 3D effects, and though they were neat, they gave me a searing headache after a few minutes without making the games any more fun. If Nintendo has ideas for games that would only work in 3D, I can't wait to see what they are. But if this is just a way to stand out from the crowd without any concrete gameplay enhancement, I will continue to play my regular old DS instead.

Shaun McInnis | Associate Editor

When I heard the news of this new DS, the first thing I thought of was Avatar. I played the Avatar game in 3D, and you know what? It kind of made me nauseous. Like, really nauseous. Now, I'm trying to imagine a scenario in which I'm playing a game like that--one that's capable of making my stomach go "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?"--and throw the whole portable element into the mix. Have you been on a San Francisco bus? They're pretty bumpy! What you end up with is a combination of a jerky bus ride and a stomach shouting "WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME?" for the duration of your ride home. This is not an appealing combination. This is when my stomach goes "WE CAN'T BE FRIENDS ANYMORE" quickly followed by "HERE, HAVE YOUR LUNCH BACK." So, yeah…I think I'll stick with my 2D DS for the time being.

Giancarlo Varanini | Editor-at-Large

The only thing that really surprises me about this announcement is the way that it was announced. Sending out a brief press release seems so un-Nintendo-like that I have to wonder what made it take this approach. Is it because it wants the 3DS out sooner rather than later? Only Nintendo employees know for sure at this point, but that aside, the 3DS falls pretty much in line with the company's overall strategy the past few years. Nintendo takes a technology (if the rumors of the Sharp 3D LCD screens are to be believed) that has become more cost effective and adapts it to new hardware, thus differentiating itself from the competition. Obviously, 3D is all the rage right now, so that's not necessarily new in itself, but the idea of a 3D gaming device without an extra peripheral is something that has seemingly been overlooked--until now. Frankly, I'm pretty excited about the possibilities, but I'm disappointed that this is all coinciding with the upcoming release of the DSi XL. I was going to buy one, but now, I'm not so sure.

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