Published on October 26th, 2011 | by G. Bargas, Managing Editor
My Top 5 Biggest Nintendo 3DS Disappointments
The Nintendo 3DS console released on March 27, 2011 and we are currently coming up on the seven-month-mark for the glasses-free handheld 3D device. For a calendar date that was only earlier this year, it seems like so long ago that we were anticipating getting our hands on a very personal 3D experience. With that being said, I can honestly admit that a LOT has changed in the software department and for my expectations of its 3D display.
Since the release, we have seen an updated eShop, StreetPass Meetup Days and a slew of first party Nintendo games that players have been begging for since the announcement of the console.
Although many were willing to shell out the immediate funding to support this expensive gaming habit, myself included, some of us felt a little duped by the backpedaling in price point and the offering of condolences in the form of free titles.
The time frame in which the console has already seen new implementations is short, but for some owners like myself, I still feel like something is missing. There are times when I look down at my portable unit and can’t help but list the wants and wishes that would make it a much better gaming experience. Some of those things might not be far off in the future, but others may come at the price of a hardware redesign.
1. The 3DSign
There are so many things that could have been polished and primped before the release. Seeing some of the then “early” models of the Nintendo 3DS console left me wondering what exactly the final product would look like. We were reassured over and over that the model sitting in front of us was not the finished productl and that the majority of it was for software demo purposes. At the time, I was thinking: “The outer shell of the handheld could use some major cosmetic updates.” When we fast forward to launch day, however, the final 3DS model was pretty damn similar to what I saw on the E3 show floor.
Just a little over a month ago, Nintendo announced the release of the swivel pad that allows for an additional analog pad to be brought into the picture. The exclusion of the additional analog pad was an immediate letdown when I first laid hands on the console at E3 2010, and once again when the final product hit. Now, we are starting to see how important it will be in keeping up with the times and that a gyroscope can’t fix everything. This is especially the case when it comes to the field of view for the 3D intensity and space.
The slide bars are some of the most flimsy materials on the console. I know that I am not the only one who accidentally hits the volume to “max” when I’m getting down and dirty in a game. Would it have been that hard to include buttons similar to that of the DSi?
In the ridge where the two screens meet and fold catches my eye 90 percent of the time when I pick it up to play. The paint on it at times looks cheap, and I catch myself discussing in my head how Nintendo “meant” it to look that way. The design of the DSi, although not quite as powerful hardware-wise, was done so tastefully and in tune with keeping it aesthetically pleasing.
2. Matinees but no feature films.
Nintendo has done a great job of jumping on the bandwagon for Netflix and recently announced Hulu Plus will supply a great deal of online entertainment at a fingers reach–but what about music purchasing or movie rentals? Even with the new Hulu Plus subscription, fees will start at USD 7.99.
This wanting stems not only from the lack of entertainment features that can be found on the device’s online eShop, but from the statement coming from the launch of the console about it being the “most connected Nintendo handheld to date”. Playing music tracks during games, or even during hourly trips, would benefit the consoles ability to become more of an entertainment hub.
Also, renting movies and not streaming them directly from Netflix would likely wield a far better connection and quality that is currently not available from this version of Netflix. It is already bad enough finding the movie that you are actually looking for and then not being able to watch it in HD, but not utilizing the 3D video capabilities is frustrating. Even with the introduction of Nintendo Video, it is still not enough to propel the consoles efforts to be the go-to-device when looking for online media entertainment.
3. Data Management-quick to the cloud!
This might not be something that most people think of when they purchase a portable gaming device. The PlayStation Portable (PSP) caught flak for the use of digital-only titles, but PlayStation also utilized its Sony exclusive Memory Stick Duo design. At the time this was great for me, owning both a PSP and Sony Camera, but did little for my SD cards that were previously in use for my other camera and the ongoing collection.
The Nintendo 3DS does use SD cards for larger storage capacities, but after a recent folly, all data from my initial setup was lost (it pays to read the instructions about your system memory on the device). Although all information from the built in memory was lost, there was something a little bewildering about the storage itself. If everything was wiped clean, then why then is there a ton of data from my games and system info still saved to the SD card? With internet connectivity in most areas, especially with the most recent AT&T Wi-Fi spots opening up (25,000), it seems like a viable option.
It felt like such a waste going from a 2GB card to a 4GB and accidentally deleting the information on the console. Admittedly, a dumb move on my part, but having the information still on the card was displeasing.
4. Where have all the colors gone?
No matter what the console’s color is, most of the time they do the same thing as every other console of its kind, but reaches the player on a more personal level. It was somewhat of a letdown however to see all of the colors dangled over our heads and showcased by Nintendo for the release of the 3DS and see no follow-through. Granted, we did get a Flame Red release for Star Fox 64 3D, but thus far, none others have risen on the market.
Even at launch day I was disappointed to find that the only available colors would be a shiny black or atomic blue. I would have snatched up a forest green console and Ocarina of Time 3D faster than you can say “Kakariko Village.” There was such an array of glossy, sleek-looking handhelds that were showed off during E3 2010,but somehow the console only managed to release with only two colors, and as of recently, three.
5. You should friend code me sometime. Here’s my number : 757689-4849403-39384874-4849495-4859595-39393
The introduction to the StreetPass was something very unique to the console. The first and only meetup day that I attended was by far the most out-of-the-way trip that I’d been on to meet up with other players of Nintendo games. This was also important being that these fans had purchased the console at the hefty USD $249.99 price tag. It was fantastic to see an abundance of notices come through and then guess and play some who’s who.
The other notable scenarios where StreetPassing galore occurred happened at E3 2011. I’ve never had so many alerts, introductions or help taking on yet another dungeon in Find Mii than on the show floor and outside the Nintendo Press Conference (if you read the above, then you’ll know that all of this was gone in the matter of unintentional moments).
This is a great feature for those wanting to simply see what others are doing and have another buddy online. The only problem is the gap that is still present in these interactions: “Great, I know ‘Timmy’ is online, but all I want to do is send him some quick messages.”
With the new update, you can leave hand written messages to online members, but it seems like there is something missing in this community puzzle. What about just giving “code names”, or “StreetNames” “Gamer ID’s”, “FriendPass”, or something other than these silly “nicknames” or string of digits that give no sender and receiver courtship? These “friend codes” do not get much use other than the initial input when we want to add a fellow player to some list that we are never going to look at, other than seeing them huddled like a homeless person holding a sign in the MiiPlaza. You might see them wield a sword or give you a puzzle piece in a mini-game or two, but what about the other games we are currently playing?
While the inclusions that we have seen so far have improved the the Nintendo 3DS’ overall use, it still seems like there is so much untapped potential. In order for them to survive in this next round of high-quality-handhelds releases, it might be riding on a whim to think that 1st part games are going to float a device with a lot of potential, especially one that does 3D without the glasses.
Nintendo has been compromising in the efforts to further incorporate these features into the every visit to the consoles dashboard. As the number of titles and applications increase in the eShop, it will become more than necessary for them to adapt to the changing in their community.
This was something that Microsoft did in the future ventures of their Xbox LIVE dashboard, and I must say, the outcome was not too shabby.