It’s amazing how a system update can either make or break a system. For this particular entry, I can actually site an example of both. In this case, I wanted to discuss the differences between the new Xbox dashboard versus the 3DS update.

I’ve been on the fence about Microsoft’s “evolution” with the Xbox. Between the introduction of Kinect, and the attempt to recreate the nuances of the Wii (one system that NEVER updates, and at this point, never will), they’ve broken down the easy to navigate style, and somewhat utilitarian functionality of the Dashboard. Certainly, it was simple, but it was to the point. Something that I appreciated.

The last updates change introduced a lot of “whooshing” sound effects to every motion you made (which was thankfully able to be disabled), and while different, was manageable enough to compensate for and become familiar with. I wasn’t a huge fan of 2010-2011’s look in comparison to previous years, but “eh”. What can you do?

I do not like the new interface. At all.

At this point, I sound like a broken record. Or perhaps I’m more set in my ways than I care to admit. But ads seem more prominent, menus seem more difficult to navigate (perhaps being designed more a more full Kinect interface), button interfaces have been switched around, and then there’s the true bane of my existence. The one app that just kills me.


Full of sound effects, bizarre menus, and the new hair-wrenching instant start that, if there’s a way to disable it, please someone message me in comments. I’ve been trying to finish off the remaining episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation that I’ve never seen, and trying to cycle through the unpleasantly changed menu, having to stop to pause the force-played episode that I didn’t call up, and God forbid that I ever press “B” by accident as that sentences me to restart the whole process again. Netflix created enough problems last year with their bizarre price hike. This isn’t helping matters.

Honestly, I dislike the new Dashboard experience so much that I second guess myself at times if I really want to endure all the hassle in powering on my Xbox. Astoundingly complex in attempted simplicity. What were they thinking? Sad part is, I have a lot of games on the system that I need to finish.

By contrast, the 3DS update fixed a HUGE number of issues, and added all new features.

For StreetPass alone, a sequel to Find Mii was added, new puzzles, an achievement and tagged region system was added, as well as a jukebox.

3D video play was also added, in addition to SwapNote, which finally allows Users to communicate with each other over a Nintendo system. Also impressive is the ability to see which friends are playing what. It’s nothing new as it’s been on other systems for years, but on a Nintendo system? This actually rates as “impressive”.

All of this was preceded by the Ambassador Program finally coughing out those 10 Game Boy Advance games. So in terms of an update, this actually moved the system forward, as opposed to bogging it down. Nothing revolutionary, but for Nintendo, this signifies the biggest step they’ve ever taken in actually treating online as a serious feature.

Nintendo finally gets it, and Microsoft needs to stop pretending to be a system that they are not, and don’t need to be. Certainly any system is only worth the games it possesses, and both systems offer strong, enjoyable titles, but how you access them is part of the process that needs to be more user friendly.

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