Amsterdam was the location of choice for Nintendo’s European 3DS launch reveal - and with good reason. The countrymen are known for their pleasant and laid back approach to life, and it also happens to be an excellent party venue. For many reasons. Ahem.
First... The Conference
Old pals club.
No measures of substances were necessary to generate excitement among the gaggle of press, developers and publishers eager to get a closer look at the 3DS. Unfortunately, the gaming public wasn’t able to see this excitement from the comfort of their own homes as Nintendo’s opening press conference - broadcast via the internet - was a total snorefest.
Jonathan Ross did his best to lighten up an incredibly uninspiring show, scattered with scripted ‘banter’ and more bland sales spiel than was necessary in ten lifetimes. Nintendo clearly aspired to stage an Apple-esque event, but the problem is that there simply isn’t a European equivalent of Reggie Fils-Aime, let alone Steve Jobs. The excellently vibrant - and pleasantly camp - appearance of charismatic Super Street Fighter IV
producer Yoshinori Ono was the only highlight in the 90-minute presentation.
However beige the introductory affair was, we did learn of some new details regarding the company’s new handheld. Namely, a date - the 25th March - and a sort-of price at around £230 (even if we did have to check with retailers on that). There was still a lot of excitement about the device during the after-show party, where I had some time to really get into the 3DS and enjoy its many features. If you’re sat on the fence as to whether to place a pre-order or not, I’ve compiled my thoughts into sections to help you make a decision. This is The Good, The Bad and The Ugly for the Nintendo 3DS.
It is a rather spiffing piece of kit.
The build quality of the 3DS is impressive. Buttons are satisfyingly clicky and the analogue nub (officially titled the Circle Pad) responds perfectly and feels very comfortable. This is an example of how an analogue nub should be done - take note, Sony. Don’t worry about the top screen looking out of place with the bottom screen. You hardly even notice it, and even 2D images on the widescreen display appear crisp and well-defined. And of course, the quality of the 3D technology in general is superb. Execution of the 3D and comfortability will vary from game to game, however.
Core Blimey Guv’nor:
Nintendo is keen to please its core fans as well as entertain a wider, more casual audience, and the 3DS looks set to more enthusiastically cater to the ‘real gamer’ in a very big way at launch. We’ve got Nintendo 64 classics like the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
and Starfox 64
, Virtual Console capabilities for Game Boy and Game Boy Color titles, long-awaited re-introductions of loved characters such as Pit in Kid Icarus: Uprising
and more besides. Not to mention the staggering support from Capcom, Ubisoft, Tecmo Koei and Konami. Those who have lamented the lack of Wii core games will be pleased with this console’s launch.
Augmented Reality Games:
Ono-san, man of the hour.
3D is the obvious unique selling point of the handheld, but one feature that shouldn’t be overlooked is built-in capability for augmented reality games. This has the potential to be huge. We’ve already seen how iPhone developers have been able to turn the real-world into an exciting gaming experience, and Nintendo’s own tech demo had sparks of the same exciting air of experimentation that the company was once known for years ago with the Game Boy Camera and e-Reader.