Periodically, I like to post comment on the state of the beleaguered 3DS, and how it’s coming along these days. To be quite honest, I really like the system. Granted, its shaky start is only seeming to work out a few more bugs in the last few weeks, but it’s got a few good things going for it, and better late than never?

I can only imagine what this next upgrade will bring. Outside of a few tweaks, I hope it brings some solid additions to the platform. I think Nintendo has learned to not be so complacent, and to not so readily underestimate the mobile phone competition. For that matter, I’m ready for those ten Game Boy Advance “Ambassador Program” games.

I still like the 3D. I still think it’s a well done feature, and from experience, I don’t get what some of the complaints are. The fact that the “gimmick” at hand actually works, and puts some nice visual perspective on gameplay really works for me. It’s a shame that Nintendo remains skittish about the feature, hyping up the fact that gamers can play in 2D as well. If they hadn’t been so “warning happy” at the beginning, sending shocks of terror into the uninformed public that the system will destroy the eyes of our nation’s children, most people wouldn’t have likely thought twice about it.

The same goes for the dual circle pad, a feature that Miyomoto was adamant that it wasn’t necessary, is now coming six months after launch as a clunky add-on. I have a feeling that the next iteration of the 3DS is going to look vastly different than the launch version in a year or so. Expected? Eventually. But I think sooner than expected to save face. Look how fast a price drop came about, and Nintendo in general refuses to drop their prices on even their oldest of softwares.

Online still needs work. Supposedly, players will be able to join other people’s games soon, but not for older titles. I don’t think this is a deal-breaker, as so few titles have been released from then to now. Their online store still needs a major overhaul and it is a total mess to navigate. Their sporadic “on the fly” themes make trying to find certain titles frustrating, and even 3DS specific areas, such as Virtual Console and 3D games, are cluttered.

I still think pricing is a major factor for the eShop. Putting the store on mobile phones is a good idea, but what about price drops or sales? Again, Nintendo is the only company out there, whether Xbox, Playstation or PC, that has an online store, and new offers older titles at cheaper prices, or bundles, or holiday deals or anything. It’s nice that we’ve seen a number of free titles on 3DS, but I think that’s been more out of desperation than the expectation. If 3DS had sold since Day 1, I’m fairly certain there would be no free games at all, or definitely not as many as we’ve gotten.

I’m glad that the “3D Classics” series looks to continue past the initial 6 titles, and games like Kirby and Kid Icarus are coming. Sadly, if the Virtual Console isn’t abandoned by Nintendo a year from now, I’ll be shocked. Nintendo blew that potential on the Wii, and I have a feeling they’ll do it again for the 3DS. We still haven’t seen those Turbo Duo and Game Gear titles. Weren’t those supposed to be out in September?

Speaking of Kid Icarus…. Where is it? Long-time readers know that I bought the 3DS for Kid Icarus: Uprising as it was promised as a launch title. Now news on it is so absolutely quiet that I’m worried about its future. Regardless of if everything is “fine” or not, burying one of your most anticipated system launch titles into such a level of uncertainty isn’t the best move Nintendo could have done. Same goes for third party. An exclusive Metal Gear and Resident Evil adventure, and… relative silence. Where did they go, and why aren’t we hearing anything? Sonic Generations and Shinobi are big deal names for long-time gamers. Where are the 3D trailers and big promotional pushes for two big name titles this month?

I think it’s been a shock for Nintendo that the 3DS wasn’t met with the rabid success and universal praise of the Wii. But that was 5 years ago, and it was a very different time then for everyone. The sad part is that it’s a really nice little system that actually does what it says, but the pre-emptive bad reputation, high launch price, and lack of games crippled its initial success. And 3D is merely a visual enhancement, not a means to be the trendy social experience that the Wii was. Does it make for great games? What few there are, yes. Does 3D push the Moms and grandparents and people who never cared about video games before out to buy one? Not at all. It’s a traditional gaming platform with some flashy effects, and the “Wii crowd” finds their portable fixes on their phones already in hand.

A Super Mario and Mario Kart game will do wonders for the system. The price drop before Christmas will help. Third parties getting over their apprehension will help more, but Nintendo needs to promote some of those “big” titles like one of their own. Better organization in the eShop, and price drops and sales for digital software will help a lot, and there needs to be some emphasis on how fun and harmless the 3D aspect of the system is.

I still see the potential for the 3DS. A year from now, it will be better, and even if the 3DS went the way of the Virtual Boy and just released the announced games and called it a day after that, I’d still be happy with the selection. But I think it could do more. And I think the system is in a good place to release some great things. I don’t expect Nintendo’s changes to come overnight, but they need to come soon, and more aggressively. There are few more loyal than the Nintendo fan, and with the right choice in old and new titles, they could really create something special with the 3DS.

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