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By: Gloria
Like many folk who define their self worth by the amount of expensive gadgets they have,
I rushed out to buy the 3DS on release day, becoming an early adopter on a system I knew would
eventually revolutionize how we experience games. Much like the wii, I feel as though most of us were
blinded by the shiny coolness of the fact that each time Nintendo releases a gadget – it pushes us
closer and closer to Jetsons era moving sidewalks and holographic robot maids. The wii and the 3DS
are awesome, and please don’t get me wrong on this – I’m not trying to outright blast either console,
but even as a die-hard fan I’ve come to recognize that “super revolutionary and cool” doesn’t always
constitute practicality.

As awesome as it felt the first time I played wii tennis, after a while the novelty wore off and I
found myself sitting on my duff in a chair, desperately wishing that I didn’t have to swing my arm like a
tool every time I played twilight princess. (I didn’t have a gamecube controller. I think that my lack of
enjoyment with regards to the control scheme majorly impacted my view of that game.) The wii was
great when I felt like exercising, but Nintendo was fairly accurate in its assessment that it had missed its
point with most regular gamers. Thankfully I had my PC to fall back on, and the DS was also a very
fantastic gaming system given the history of the handheld market.

Unfortunately after spending some time with my 3DS, I think it is going to become much like the
wii in terms of how practical it is. Most people I know that have the console just play with the 3D turned
off if they can get away with it. I’ve found myself considering going that route as well. After the
initial, “Wow, this is so cool!” wears off, the flaws of the system start to come to light very quickly, and
I’m left wondering: What, honestly, was Nintendo thinking? I understand the need to innovate, but
there is a very fine line between innovating for the sake of innovation and releasing an unfinished
console, and actually taking time to make sure that the ideas that worked on paper work in the real
world as well.

My first, and largest gripe, is the 3D “sweet spot” that you need to be in to see the 3D effects
properly rather than a mishmash of 2D layered images on top of each other. To put into perspective – I
usually play on my bed, propped up on pillows with my knees bent up and my console in my hands
around my chest/stomach area. When you are using a 3DS game that requires extensive use of the
stylus, like Nintendogs, you can only hold the console in one hand most of the time. For me, I was
holding it in my right hand since I am left-handed and that is my non-dominant hand. After some time
playing like this, I realized that as my hand got tired and drooped a bit, I would fall out of the arguably
tiny sweet spot for the 3D and see blurry images that, given lengthy playtime, would probably give me a

With my prior DS consoles, this was never a problem. I could lay upside-down for all I cared and
still be able to see the images perfectly. Not so anymore. Even sitting in a chair, it takes some time to
find the right spot to hold the 3DS, and if you move even slightly the thing goes out of focus. I’m not
sure why they designed a handheld console, a market based mainly on its portability and convenience,
to be so rigid in how you need to actually hold the damned thing. Seriously. I cannot imagine what it is
going to be like to play ocarina of time 3DS for hours at a time on this thing. My honest prediction is that
an hour in, 90% of players are going to flip the 3D off so they can be comfortable and play for the
updated graphics. Consider that most of the titles out for the 3DS right now are casual titles that most
people aren’t playing for more than an hour or so at a time. This console’s first real test will be when
OOT comes out and people are playing for extended periods of time. If more than 60% of people are just
choosing to flip the 3D off, Nintendo has failed because people essentially paid $250 for another DS.

A second issue I have is the way the depth of the 3D doesn’t flow well when objects are moving
quickly between the foreground and background. For example: when I play Nintendogs and take my
super adorable shiba inu out for a walk and he finds a gift on the ground, he runs rapidly from the
background to the foreground with the item in its mouth. This transition from back to foreground 3D
causes a couple of seconds of discomfort as my eyes adjust, given the boxlike 3 dimensions of the
present and the dog. Maybe it’s just my old, tired, 25 year old and therefore ancient eyes, but it’s
actually quite jarring the first few times it happens. I guess my main point on this one is that the 3D
effects, while cool, aren’t fully fleshed out and the times when they don’t work can be a bit of a strain
on your eyesight. I tried adjusting the slider, but short of turning the 3D effect off completely, I was still
having this problem.

I want to love this console, and for the first week I did. Time is going to tell if Nintendo really hit
it out of the park with the 3DS, or if it’s just going to be another warren of shovelware and Sudoku
games. In the end I’m still very excited to be able to get my hands on Link’s Awakening through the
virtual console, and I’m also incredibly excited for the new animal crossing game. Unfortunately the
lingering thought that I spent almost $300 on something I’m only getting partial use out of is starting to
really weigh down my opinion of the 3DS and Nintendo in general.