The 3DS is the next big thing in gaming. There’s no doubt from game analysts and critics that Nintendo’s next handheld console will sell in droves. But hasn’t Nintendo been releasing a new DS every year? So what is the problem?
It is true that Nintendo has released frequent updates for its handheld gaming machines almost every year. In 6 years we have seen the original DS, DS Lite, DSi and DSi XL. None of these were really considered essential updates, even by Nintendo. The DS Lite was just a fancy version of the original, with no extra features. The DSi added a number of minor updates including 2 cameras, but nothing too impressive. The DSi XL was simply a larger version of the DSi.
The 3DS, however, that’s a different story. At first glance, it might look similar to a DS Lite, but it’s actually a completely new system.
Let’s start with the most interesting feature; a 3D display that doesn’t require glasses. This is the first time that a mass market product has come with such a feature. With glasses-requiring 3D TVs costing a small fortune, it seemed unlikely that the average person would experience 3D without glasses for a good number of years. Nintendo shocked the world when it announced that its next portable game console would include this technology.
That’s really just the beginning. When the DS launched 6 years ago, game fans were disappointed with the quality of the graphics. Even at launch it seemed dated. Fortunately, a combination of novel control features, unique gameplay, and marketing made it the most successful games console of all time in the UK. Still, the dated graphics annoyed gamers who were used to HD gaming on their TVs. The 3DS solves that problem with truly stunning visuals that look almost as good as your home game consoles.
The dual screens of its predecessor and the touch-sensitive interaction are maintained. Now, however, the top screen has a wide aspect ratio in line with modern movies and TV. On top of that, the resolution has been increased massively so the picture looks much sharper, similar to HD TVs.
Nintendo invented the analog controller, so it seems strange that they were the last to include it in their handheld consoles. Thankfully, they’re now in the form of a sliding pad that doesn’t stick out like a standard analog stick might. This means you’ll still be able to close the console without the lever getting in the way.
While previous iterations of the DS made minor improvements, none of them were major updates. The 3DS is the first to play completely new games (although it can play old ones, too). The extra power of the console means that much more detailed or larger games are possible. It also gives developers the freedom to create new and exciting games that weren’t possible before. On top of that, experiencing 3D gaming without the need for glasses really adds depth to the games you’re playing.