Well, this is it: The month that the 3DS hits North American shores. It makes me glad that I skipped the DSi altogether. The “red flags” went up when zero DSi-specific games were ever released, and other than an app store and a camera, there weren’t enough changes to justify the purchase (that, and I would have missed my Game Boy Advance slot).

But I pre-ordered the 3DS as soon as it came available. Everyone has that “killer app” that pushes them over the edge to buy any system. Mine was Kid Icarus: Uprising. I’ve waited nearly a year for this particular title, and if the madness that befell the consumer base in trying to get a Wii, I decided to get it at launch instead of spending a year going from store to store in an attempt to hunt the system down. In short, I pre-ordered out of necessity.

The 3DS is a list of positives and negatives for me, though largely optimistic. It’s got a laundry list of cool new features: 3D without glasses, a ton of “traditional” gaming franchises that haven’t touched a Nintendo platform in years. 3D photography, motion controls, Netflix support, universal “Friend Codes”, classic NES/SNES games redone in 3D (will Square do Rad Racer properly after all this time?), account transfers from system to system, a “Virtual Console” for portable titles from Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Gear, and Turbo Duo, 3D movie trailers, remastered Nintendo 64 games…. It addresses a lot of the issues that I had with the Wii (that, and I won’t have to worry about it eating games like my Wii still at times does), and shows that yes, Nintendo is learning.

Is it all perfect? Not really. The launch window for software, in my opinion, is awful. Nintendo is strangely gutsy to open the games with just Pilotwings and Nintendogs, and outside of an ambitious Street Fighter IV, there’s not much that pushes me to buy any software at launch. There’s always Ocarina of Time, ri…. Well, at least Starfox 64 will be there since Kid Icarus isn…. Well, at least I’ll have the new Virtual Console and Netflix servic…. in May and in June.

(Question for my readers: Will the DSi Shop allow people who never owned a DSi buy some of the pre-existing titles? I have a few I never got to play, like Shantae.)

Then there’s the Virtual Console. Truth be told, the VC was a HUGE reason why I originally wanted the Wii. I was thrilled at the concept of playing what amounted to “old friends” that I grew up with again. The mere thought of Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Gear, and Turbo Duo makes me salivate and hope that we’d get to see the Neo Geo Pocket or Atari Lynx.

And then I remember what became of Wii’s Virtual Console and it’s state for the last year or so.

As much as it pains me to say this, I wish the Virtual Console would drop all the systems, save for Game Boy and Game Boy Color. Nintendo did an amazing job of promising the gaming world being one click away with nearly a dozen consoles, and little to scarce support for a good number of them (Master System, Commodore 64, Nintendo 64, Arcade, and I’d even argue the remaining systems never reached a fraction of their potential, even excluding the licensed titles). Nintendo can’t or won’t support multiple platforms, and as a gamer, I’m just not ready to bear that level of disappointment all over again. If Nintendo were to focus on just two systems, they might at least get a more robust library from what they would have to work with. A counterargument might point out that they’ve addressed a lot of their previous issues with the 3DS, but when it comes to “Round 2” of a new Virtual Console… I’ll believe it when I see it.

Don’t get me wrong: There looks to be a lot of awesome titles and services available for the 3DS… once the platform picks up steam in a few months. I’d argue that one doesn’t need to buy the system at launch, but then again, that would likely be foolish if you planned to pick one up in the next year or so.

All in all, I’m excited for the 3DS. The titles and services look awesome, and the 3D aspect could be really cool (I look forward to seeing how they do this – I’d much rather do it this way then all those glasses sets that I saw for TVs at CES), but it’s going to have a slow start.

At least the initial payoff sounds promising. I hope it stays true into the next year.

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