Console Round-Up: Nintendo 3DS


The Short Version: Initially, I wasn’t interested in the 3DS but after playing a demo of Super Mario 3D Land at a Best Buy I realized it would be a good system to have. I purchased one and really like the features and most of the games I now own.

I’ve had at least one of the top three, current generation consoles since the Wii and Xbox 360 were released (PS3 ownership came later). For a while now I’ve owned all three. They each get used infrequently – typically the Xbox 360 is used the most though every once in a while I use the Wii or PS3 when a new game I’ve been waiting for is released (for example, Shadow of the Colossus for PS3 and New Super Mario Bros for Wii).

As a life-long gamer I fall somewhere between being a casual gamer and a hardcore gamer.

I’ve certainly been aware of portable game systems – in the past I briefly owned an original GameBoy (I also played a Sega Game Gear for a while though think I only borrowed it). I also borrowed a PSP from one of my brothers and toyed with it for a while over several months.

Over the past few years I’ve been aware of the newer Nintendo portable systems such as the DS, DSi, and 3DS but I didn’t have much interest in any of them. Even after toying with a 3DS a friend owns I still didn’t care for it much.

It wasn’t until the Christmas holidays when I played a 3DS in a Best Buy that I realized that I would enjoy owning one. I suppose the reason I wasn’t impressed the first time I used one was because most of the time was spent playing with the AR games. While they’re certainly not bad they don’t really show off the 3-D effect well (the quality of the camera is poor and it’s very sensitive to the distance between the camera and the AR card).

The 3D effect with games is excellent. I was concerned that playing in 3-D would be hard on my eyes but so far I haven’t noticed any difficulty in playing a 3-D game for a considerable length of time. Yes, the first few hours required some adjustment but I attribute that to simply becoming accustomed to playing in three dimensions. I prefer to use the maximum 3-D effect setting

Overall, I’m very impressed. The main interface (menu) for the system shares some similarities to that of the Nintendo Wii’s and it works well with the stylus. The only thing that I thought could have been done better was the inability to use an existing Wii Mii as the primary Mii on the 3DS. While you can transfer Miis from the Wii to the 3DS, which is a great feature, it’s not possible to make a transferred Mii serve as the primary Mii. The primary Mii file cannot be deleted nor is there a way to transfer the Mii character into that file. It’s not a major issue – I just had to create a new Mii for myself.

There are several entertaining activities included in the 3DS. It comes with a couple of Mii-based mini-games though those require either earning Play Coins or by encountering other 3DS systems (yes – the 3DS can be configured to poll for other systems using a feature called StreetPass, in which your Mii can interact with copies of other Miis).

So far, even though the console has a Netflix app, there are no 3-D movies available from Netflix. I’ve read statements indicating that there will be but very little information is available so I’m not sure if it’s more speculation than fact. Perhaps that will change soon.

The 3DS has several excellent games available, many of which gamers my age are probably playing to relive some nostalgia related to remakes of classic games from the SNES and N64. The console’s game library is further expanded by the inclusion of backwards compatibility with DS and DSi cartridges.

The battery life is a bit weak. I haven’t played the system until it died but I do carry an extra power adapter (one stays at home with the handheld’s dock) and a car adapter. There’s another battery I can purchase that will provide twice the play time though I haven’t picked one up yet.

I’m impressed. It’s a great system and one of the reasons I purchased it was because Nintendo was developing many of the games that I wanted to play for the 3DS instead of the Wii.

2 thoughts on “Console Round-Up: Nintendo 3DS

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