"Nintendo have finally lost it. Iwata should resign from his position in shame. This is a company that doesn't care that it's on the way downhill fast, and they're doing everything they can to bet (sic) there even quicker."
These are some of the... gentler comments that I've read since yesterday's announcement that Nintendo are adding yet another handheld to their DS line, and as you'd expect - because it ALWAYS happens - the Internet exploded at how the company totally doesn't get gamers and they should just quit now.
The 2DS is coming on October 12th, the same day as the release of the two new Pokemon
. No matter how much people may piss and moan, nothing they do is going to stop the release of this cracking little handheld. In fact, if you're one of those people who wasted valuable energy at any point in the last day or so to complain along those lines, I have two words for you. Shut. Up.
I have many other words too, but I shan't bother to count them. I realise that when it comes to gaming, having a positive attitude is somewhat going against the grain, but seriously: Nintendo knows what it's bloody doing here.
Having spent some time today getting used to the 2DS, I've come to the conclusion that they're doing precisely what they feel like not because they want to piss off Teh Hardcore Gamers - it's because they want to foster an entire new generation of them. And it's going to be aces.
Let's talk about the technical stuff first. Size-wise it's roughly the same dimensions as a fully-opened regular 3DS, but when laid flat on a table there's a slight incline with the top of the machine a few millimetres thicker than the bottom. Holding it in your hands is very comfortable, more so than the XL, which isn't bad to begin with.
The L and R buttons are kind of recessed into the body of the machine, very accessible and I had no problems with the ultimate test of pulling off powerslides in Mario Kart 7
. No hand cramps at all.
Of course, as an all-in-one unit, there's no hinge so the thing doesn't close. A new sleep mode switch has been added to the bottom to save your battery power (which runs up to 5 1/2 hours of solid gameplay or up to three days standby, according to tests).
An XL-sized stylus tucks into the back, and the screens are exactly the same size as those you'll find on a standard 3DS. The whole device gives off a certain retro charm, the red and white one being my favourite over the black and blue version, and it feels as if Nintendo has collaborated with LEGO in the most awesome of ways to create a fun machine that will launch with access to a library of thousands of titles.
The 2DS does everything its 3D sibling does, just without that third visual dimension. Streetpass is still in there, as are the front and back facing cameras.
Hell, you can even take a 3D picture with a 2DS, but to see it in all its glory you'll have to switch out the SD card. Launching alongside the Pokemon
games is a killer move, especially if any of the retailers price it at a sub-£100 level (at the moment only GAME has announced a price point - £109).
The 2DS is a perfect entry-level device for all kinds of gamers. Yes, I think the main target demographic will be children, but that's far from a bad thing. It feels solid, and no hinges means that daddy's limited edition Animal Crossing
XL will remain safe from grabbing jammy hands. However, it's also an excellent option for people who are looking to pick up a second unit for co-op play but don't want to shell out for the 3D experience.
Nintendo knows exactly what it's doing. It knows that there's power in marketing a very child-friendly system that can play a whole bunch of games already. Sure, they may not be focusing on the hardcore, but in all honesty, why should they? That's not where the money is.
The 2DS is a canny, bold and brave move, one that will reach out to a much wider audience and hopefully get a whole new generation into their fantastic games. Anything that widens the hobby is something to be applauded, not derided, and if you still think that the 2DS is going to fail, I reckon you're in for a surprise.
It's a cute, fun and bloody awesome little machine that is going to do very well...