It’s been an interesting road for the 3DS since it March debut, and it seems to get more and more interesting as time goes by. The most recent “big” news is the cancellation or halting of production of Mega Man Legends 3.

Some gamers are often quick to crucify Capcom for their quality of games this generation, but at the same time forget Mega Man 9 and 10, as well as them taking a chance with Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom on the Wii, which had a snowball’s chance of success, but released it anyway. And who would honestly ever think we’d see another Marvel Vs. Capcom collaboration, even if it wasn’t as strong as its predecessor? Capcom has always struck me as a very “fan service” sort of company, which makes this recent announcement more than a little surprising to me.

But there’s also been a number of delays of late. Kid Icarus was supposed to be a launch title, but is now “Holiday 2011”. Cave Story and Pinball Hall of Fame are delayed. Sega just announced the intentional delays of Shinobi and Crush 3D. Saint’s Row and Assassin’s Creed are canceled….

Seriously, what’s going on?

I’ve often wondered if the 3DS really was rushed to market as speculated. It didn’t feel ready when we got it, coupled by the fact that the eShop was delayed, then forcefully delayed again to coincide with this year’s E3. Outside of the Pokedex and Excitebike 3D, where is the 3D content? The 3D game and movie trailers? There’s the suggestion to explore the content that the DSi shop had to offer, but truly, of all the titles offered, how many are standouts? How many are enough to weather this most recent drought that is affecting retail as well?

And to make matters worse, the “3D Classics” series, a novel and interesting interpretation of classic NES games, has been whittled down to a mere and only six titles? Excitebike 3D works. Moving the 3D slider shows a significant shift in perspective, and they’re going to kill off the concept because it’s difficult? Wasn’t this one of the hyped software lines that we could look forward to for the system? A whole new shift on the Virtual Console concept which is already halfheartedly attempted to begin with?

There are a seeming number of problems with 3DS. The delays alone give speculative thought that perhaps the system is harder to program 3D visuals for than anticipated. Developers are causing their own problems. In intentionally not releasing games because there are not a lot of other games out there, they are adding to the very problem that they are worried about: A slow market and a worsening situation.

There’s also the “boogeyman” scare tactics that Nintendo has used for the system, saying that small children under 6 shouldn’t use the system, coupled with a long list of “don’ts” that would make any ill-informed parent fear that the 3Ds is “the most dangerous video game system alive”. Not to mention Nintendo has even been backpedaling on the whole 3D thing, saying that the feature may not be essential after all. Honestly, if I buy a 3D system, I want to focus on 3D features and games. Otherwise, I could have just stuck to my DS Lite.

And finally, while the impending software release is compelling, Nintendo once again fails to balance things out. They got too “casual” heavy on the Wii, and now they are perhaps too “traditional gaming” heavy on the 3DS and the impending Wii U. There’s no reason now or in the future for the casual market to buy a 3DS. The system provides nothing for them that the regular DS already does. It makes me wonder if this is an indication of where the Wii U will be heading with the extreme polar shift. Nintendo seems fairly incapable of balancing out its content. It’s either all one way or the other. Now in the rush to please the old fans, they’ve brushed off the new group they’ve spent the last six years building. Is 3D enough of an incentive to draw people in like motion control did?

If it seems like I’ve changed my tone on the 3DS from my previous posts, that would be incorrect. I still greatly enjoy the system. Nintendogs and Street Fighter IV are ecxellent examples of SpotPass. I still enjoying encountering random people with my StreetPass. Ocarina of Time is a wonderful update to one of my most beloved games. And the list of titles (when any of them ever release) should hold me for quite some time. For me, if they released all the games mentioned so far and then (Heaven forbid) dropped the system a la Virtual Boy, I’d still be able to say I’ve had a fun time with the system. It’s a shame that no one, Nintendo and third-parties, are allowing the system to live up to the potential that I see in it. It’s frustrating not to see people jump all over a feature that actually works.

Once the games start coming, I feel confident that this situation and drought will get better, but now the question is: When is anyone going to get brave enough to actually step up and let it happen?

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Filed under: 3ds gaming