In the mid 80s, a Game & Watch Donkey Kong handheld game from Nintendo made its first appearance in the walkways of the high school I attended in Lesotho. Not long after that, I was fortunate enough to be able to hustle one out of my father. This was a glimpse into the unimaginable future; being able to sit, on your own, and navigate your way through this game, on a small screen. This character, Mario, hopped over barrels that a big gorilla threw down in an attempt to stop Mario. It was bliss.
Fast-forward a decade or three, while I had drifted away from handheld game consoles over the years and spent the mobile years primarily playing games on my phone, Nintendo popped out a couple of consoles, carrying on the spirit that was birthed in those early games. In 2011, I was invited to the launch of the Nintendo 3DS, which kind of jumped into the market as 3D was becoming seen as the future of everything. I engaged with it a couple of times but nothing really consistently.
The New Nintendo 3DS
And now Nintendo has launched a new 3DS, which definitely feels a step up from the previous one, which worked for the time. I was fortunate enough to be able to get both the old one and the new one to review to get a stronger sense of the improvements as part of a fun campaign.
From a design perspective, it feels distinctly more solid, and streamlined, even though it doesn’t deviate far from the aesthetic of the old one. I like that the slot for game cartridge and the stylus have been moved to the front as well as the Start and Select buttons being turned into ‘knobs’. The multicolour buttons are a nice touch as well. It comes in white or black with replaceable cover plates for you to personalise your 3DS.
From a system perspective, it has been improved with the 3D on the upper screen feeling a bit more comfortable and the image much more stable. This comes from a face-tracking feature on the inner camera which actual tracks the position of your head. It is also larger than the previous one and work has been done to ensure that it operates faster with a longer battery life, said to be 3.5 to 6 hours.
Being a casual gamer with young children, it is a great addition to the household while the multiplayer feature ensures greater connectivity and ‘collaborative play’ with other 3DS owners. I’m still tracking down friends who have one and other people I can play with. There are an array of games to play, which can also be purchased and downloaded on the e-Shop but, to be honest, my 7 year old son and I are still submerged in Super Smash Bros. He’s also been playing with the cameras, taking 3D pictures and videos, and adding his own little elements using the various tools available.
Another cool aspect is the compatibility with amiibo, which are figures of various Nintendo characters. Using NFC, you can do different things with the figures by placing them on the lower touchscreen. Mine is Bowser from the Super Mario Series, the king of the Koopas and Mario’s eternal rival.
As I delve deeper into the new 3DS, I’ll definitely be sharing more.