Nintendo is in one of the company’s most interesting periods of time. Both the Wii and the DS are nearing the end of their run, and the world waits in anticipation for a shiny new handheld, the 3DS. This year’s E3 presentation sent out a clear message; no matter your tastes, Nintendo is gunning for you.
Or depending on said tastes, maybe they are trying to woo you with cute puppies instead. Point is, where the Wii was a gaming platform for “Everyone” (Read: Not people who, you know, play games), the 3DS has it’s ambitions set as a console for everyone. The games announced thus far have drawn respect from the hearts of the coldest of hardcore gamers with powerful names such as “Resident Evil” and “Metal Gear Solid”, as well as intriguing the casual onlooker with the idea of stroking 3D house pets with titles like Nintendogs. And as always, the Mario’s and the Zelda’s are present to keep fans of Nintendo’s legacy of original IP’s delighted.
The icing on this delicious game cake is that the console’s graphics, if we are to judge from what we have seen thus far, seem mighty impressive, and coupled with the 3D effects, I expect the visuals will be very good indeed.
Nintendo may have spent the last four years somewhat neglecting their original fans in favor of the masses waiting to be captured, a tactic Microsoft and Sony are only just starting to adopt, too late, I might add, but the 3DS intends to clean out every corner of the gaming world, casual and otherwise.
Video game consoles supporting video games are all well and good, but in space-year 2010, Joe B. Schmo expects his gadgets to do more, and Nintendo aims to please in this area too. Nintendo 3DS will allegedly offer the ability to watch movies in 3D. There is no word on how this will be achieved, wether through PSP-style physical copies, or through digital download. The former is an idea that has no place in today’s instant entertainment world, so here’s hoping Nintendo goes with the latter.
And this is where we encounter Nintendo’s biggest challenge, the company has never been adept at offering robust internet services:
The Gamecube’s ability, or rather, disability to play over the internet was a joke. Exactly four of the system’s titles could be played online, one of which was only released in Japan, and the other three all being Phantasy Star games.
While Xbox owners took intuitive online play for granted, Nintendo fans could only look jealously at them.
And while the Wii and DS might offer online play in more games than the Gamecube did, the experience is still limited, with no player-to-player communication until sixteen-digit “friend-codes” are input.
My point being; in the war of the online services, Nintendo have been bringing muskets to battlefields populated by laser-guided missiles. Catching up to the competition will be no mean feat.
But the real selling point of the 3DS, the true reason why the handheld might just sell like the hottest of hot cakes, is in the name; the 3D.
Nintendo 3DS, through it’s mystical witchcraft, projects 3D images without the need for glasses of any kind. This is a winning formula, and the biggest ace up Nintendo’s sleeve.
Ever since last christmas, the 3D craze started by good old Jimmy Cameron has shown no sign of halting. And sure, it’s possible to play a few PC and console games in 3D, but the process has not been simple enough to appeal to a mainstream crowd.
The need for pricy screens, an extensive setup process and not to mention, cumbersome glasses, has made the masses turn a blind eye to 3D gaming, but it’s an eye Nintendo intends to open.
3D, cheaply and simply, is what everyone wants, and it’s something the Japanese company has the potential to offer.
And it won’t matter if 3D on the 3DS won’t look as good as the one on the PS3, it’s a matter of accessibility and fashionability, neither of which any competitors offer.
The Nintendo 3DS might not have a secured success, but if Nintendo can overcome their hurdles, it sure as hell has the potential for one.