Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Nintendo 3DS' Very Thin Lineup

The launch lineup for Nintendo's 3DS is surprisingly thin.  After all the hype, and after it became obvious that Wii software development was being curtailed, I assumed there would really be some bang-up games to show off their new handheld.  Instead, not much.  A new Pilotwings, a new Nintendogs, and some game involving a submarine.

20 years ago, I learned to be patient and generous when a new videogame console launched.  The first wave of titles were little more than tech demos or cheap knockoffs, and that's fine.  The real hits would arrive around six months later.  It's very rare that you see a "killer app" at launch, like Tetris or Super Mario Bros.  That said, I have far less patience in the year 2011.  The Sega Dreamcast tipped the scale for what was considered acceptable for a system launch, and I'm not willing to go back.

Add in the fact that the 3DS' display seriously messes with my vision, and...well, maybe I'm just getting too old for this stuff.  My heart lies in arcade video games, and those are a dying breed.  I'm pretty happy with the Genesis and Saturn that's sitting on my desk, and the temtation to grab another Dreamcast is always strong.  I'd much rather play around with a Gameboy Advance SP than a 3DS.  Maybe that says something about the 3DS, and maybe that says something about me.  I'll leave that mystery for you to solve.

Right now, I can't recommend the Nintendo 3DS, however reluctantly.  Maybe my eyes will adjust and that cross-eyed strain won't become an issue.  Maybe there will be some killer video games that really show off 3D as the Next Big Thing.  But I'm not so sure about that.  I certainly don't think yet another Zelda and Mario is going to do the trick.  I want something new.  Whatever happened to Nintendo's quirky, left-field mindset?  Remember the early DS games like Wario Ware: Twisted, Yoshi: Touch & Go, Meteos, Animal Crossing, and Brain Training?  Where did that indie spirit go?

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