writing about tech

Tag: 3ds

Nintendo still has no fucking idea what they’re doing

Every now and then, I start to think Nintendo might be starting to “get it”, and then they go and pull something like this:

Nintendo revealed today its New Nintendo 3DS system, an upcoming version of the 3DS hardware that features a second stick built in, in addition to new shoulder buttons.

Additionally, the system will features a better CPU than previous models, according to Nintendo, which allows for faster eShop browsing and downloading. It is also set to come with a built-in NFC on the bottom touchscreen for the upcoming launch of the amiibo NFC models, while sliding custom covers will also come with the device, allowing owners to customize the hardware. Nintendo also claims that stereoscopic 3D will also be better than it was in previous devices.

So, here’s what we have: a new version of their handheld system, which they’ve named poorly – “New Nintendo 3DS” is right up there with “Wii U” when it comes to “shitty names that will confuse consumers” – and which will have exclusive games:

Here’s the catch: This version of the game will only be able to be played on the new 3DS hardware, meaning owners of the older hardware will be locked out. 

Don’t mistake this for anything but what it is: it’s a new handheld console, with exclusive games, that happens to be backwards compatible with everything the 3DS already has.  That number of “exclusive games” might be tiny and it might be huge, but it will obviously exist.  Handhelds aren’t smartphones; customers aren’t willing to upgrade them once every two years.  To make matters worse, Nintendo has been releasing special-edition model after special-edition model of 3DS XL, and is now turning around and releasing a model that makes all of those models obsolete overnight.

Nintendo…what are you doing?  My inner fanboy wants you to succeed, but you continue to make it harder and harder to root for you.  Not only is this a dumb business decision that will inevitably lead to confused customers who now have to make sure the 3DS game they buy will actually run on their 3DS, but it also makes me question whether or not I want to buy handhelds from you in the future.  When is it a safe time to buy a Nintendo handheld now?  Usually the safe answer is to say “wait until the second hardware revision”…but I honestly can’t even answer that anymore.  It’s impossible to predict what Nintendo is going to do next, which makes me hesitate to support them in the future.

Which is a damn shame, because my 3DS XL is fantastic and the Zelda game that came with it is one of the best I’ve ever played, but now I can’t even really recommend it anymore, because there’s a better model coming.  For fuck’s sake Nintendo, I want to love you – why do you make it so hard?

Frustrations with Bravely Default and the value of the player’s time

I originally wrote this post in March on Polygon’s forums, but news regarding the sales of Bravely Default made me think the thoughts were worth revisiting.

Bravely Default. Literally everything I love and hate about JRPGs wrapped into a frustrating little package. 

On one hand: Great character system? Check. Entertaining combat? Check. Interesting (if cliche) story? Check.

On the other hand: Right as the story starts to get intruiging (the end of Chapter 4, beginning of Chapter 5), the gameplay becomes incredibly grindy. I’m sure back when I was 11 or 12 I wouldnt’ve cared, but now that I’m a Grown Damn Adult ™, it’s become inexcusable when a game shows absolutely no respect for the player’s time. “Of course you have 5 hours a day to play our game!”, the developers say to me with their terrible design choices.

It doesn’t help that the game is juxtaposed against Titanfall, a game with nothing in common gameplay-wise, but that says “Oh, do you only have 30 minutes to spare? Want to run and jump around like an idiot and pilot a giant robot?” Why yes. Yes I do.

It’s not just an “I hate JRPGs” thing – I played through Persona 4 Golden and it never felt like a grind, perhaps because I was more drawn in by the story and the characters. It was long – very long – but I felt like it at least respected my time and would reward me for spending a few minutes with it here and there.

I know I’ll return to it and finish it eventually, if only to justify the time I’ve already spent playing it, but right now, it’s hard to find a reason to do so.

My 10 Second Review of The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

Perhaps this is a statement somewhat colored by nostalgia, but regardless: The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is about as close as you can get to a perfect game.  The music, art direction, and gameplay are all superb.

My 10 Second Review of Shovel Knight

If you’re a fan of old-school games like Castlevania, Mega Man, and DuckTales, you should probably be playing Shovel Knight right now.

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