Yay, finally I have an excuse to write about the Nintendo 3DS again! The newly announced Dead or Alive-game for 3DS got a subtitle now. Dead or Alive: Dimension is its name, and judging from some Famitsu-screens, it looks absolutely gorgeous. Easily XBox-level visuals, and that for a launch window-title. I guess getting my 3DS will leave me speechless two times at the same time: First, when I see the 3D-effect. Secondly, when I see visuals at least between Xbox- and Wii-level. September 29th can´t come soon enough. Oh, and have a look for yourself.
Now that sounds crazy, but after watching a slideshow featuring the first screenshots of Ocarina of Time 3DS again, I thought about how special Ocarina of Time still is. Both to us, the gamers, and to Nintendo, who obviously acknowledge the importance of this one Zelda-game. And to be honest, OoT will never cease to amaze gamers. It´s that once-in-a-lifetime occurrence that no other game will ever beat per se. So no matter what Nintendo does, gamers will remember OoT. At the same time, there´s a growing group of Zelda-fans that are growing tired of the traditional formula, which even Skyward Sword, the upcoming Wii-entry, doesn´t seem to shake up that much. So why not simply split the Zelda-series in two?
By splitting in two, I imagine two Zelda-series that are developed at the same time, as in, not consuming each other´s development resources, but two completely separate installments. One of these Zelda-series would be “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time”. Yes, read that right, OoT would be its own “series”. There appear to be quite a lot people that criticize the Zelda-games for being too similar to each other. While I´m personally not in that camp, it still exists. So instead of doing “similar” Zeldas one after another, time after time again, let´s take OoT and turn it into the “classic Zelda”-series. Each entry of this branch of the Zelda-franchise would intentionally be similar to the previous one – with appropriate differences, of course, such as new dungeons, new story, a few new items and so on, you get it. It´d be the Zelda for all those fans that still like and love each and every newly released Zelda-game.
And then there´d be the other Zelda-series, we could call it “The Legend of Zelda: Beyond Time”. This would be the branch of the Zelda-franchise for all those fans that love the Zelda-series, but want it to do more fresh, creative, different stuff. Think of all the stuff your heard someone say and thought “eww, then it wouldn´t be a Zelda-game anymore”. Perfect, that´s what this series would be for! Some examples of what kind of features this branch could have: Direct jumping control, no gamey puzzles, more/less linearity, selectable difficulty, multiplayer-modes, and so on. It´d be the playground for Nintendo´s creative minds, and it´d be the fresh adventure many of us want to have, set within the Zelda-universe.
And, I mean, this would give us a second big action-adventure franchise, so to speak. Will probably never happen, but I´d really like it to. After all, even though I want BIG changes to the Zelda-series, I also still like the traditional formula, and experiments could go wrong, too. However, maybe this will kind of happen with the split between home console and handheld Zelda-titles. If we take a look at the two Nintendo DS-entries, they surely are very different from Twilight Princess or Skyward Sword. With the added power of the 3DS-hardware and Nintendo showing that they´re going for a real 3D-Zelda on a handheld this time, we really could get more of this great action-adventure franchise in a shorter time frame. Of course, that still doesn´t mean that on of the two systems´ Zelda-titles will be more creative than the other one.
September 29th, that´s all you need to know. Well, that´s all we have for the time being, and we likely won´t get any news before that date, which Bloomberg announced as Nintendo´s big info-blowout regarding the 3DS-handheld. We´ll get to know the system´s launch date, its price, and how many units Nintendo plans to ship for launch. So for now, have a short wait!
It´s not news-worthy when I tell you how obsessed I am by the mere thought of the Nintendo 3DS these days. I literally can´t wait, which is why I´m writing this little article. We know that the 3DS will feature GameCube/Wii-like visuals, have analog-stick-like controls and, of course, a 3D-screen. There´s also some kind of tag-mode-thingy, though I´m not quite sure, yet, what exactly that´s going to be useful for. Anyway, with just the above, Nintendo has got a super-selling product lined up for whenever it is brought to the market, that´s guaranteed, is what I´d like to say – I´ve never seen that much universal hype for a single gaming-system before. But even with all its strong selling-points it already has, why not … make it the perfect entertainment device of the forever?
One feature that would really make a big impact would be a TV-out feature. I don´t know if that´s still a possibility, as people have seen what kind of attachment outlets the 3DS has, but if there is, oh well. If you´ve been reading this blog for a while, you know about my wish for a hybrid console/handheld, and, well, that´d be it. Hook up the 3DS to a TV and play games on the big screen. Considering that this would mean no 3D, the extra power could maybe even be enough for HD-gaming, couldn´t it. For a perfect hybrid-device, controller-support would be the last piece in the puzzle. Maybe that´s something for the next generation after 3DS – wirelessly connect a Wiimote to the 3DS and really, it´d be like a full home console, just usable on-the-go as well. No limitations as to where you play and how you play games.
Another neat feature which I hope for even more than the above one is proper video- and music-playback. Not only do even really old mobile phones feature that, Nintendo themselves already started it with the Nintendo DSi´s music-playback feature. Not to mention that even the GameBoy Advance was capable of playing videos under certain circumstances. I don´t expect Nintendo to give us all the codecs; just .mp3 for music and one of the popular video-formats would be enough. Of course, ideally they´d simply let us buy new codecs by ourselves. That way, it wouldn´t make the device more expensive for Nintendo, but consumers still would get the chance to use their 3DS to its fullest. Just have there be an appstore-like environment that I can enter. One category will be “codecs” where I can buy divx, xvid, avi, mkv, flac, aac and whatever else. As for music, some playlist-features would be great. For videos, simply letting me play them from SD-card would be good enough. With Nintendo themselves having shown 3D-movies being played on the 3DS, like “How to train a Dragon”, video-playback really seems like a no-brainer. But you never can be sure with Nintendo, can you.
Which leads us to the next big feature: An appstore for 3DS. Both Wii and DSi kinda have something like that already, remember how you could get the Opera-browser; but, of course, I´m imagining something a lot more elaborate here. Sure, Nintendo is all about the games, but why not let the consumer decide what his handheld should be capable of? That´s why such an online-shop for expanded functionality would be great. Simple stuff like a calculator, a calendar or a memo-function could be offered there, but also more complex stuff like an IRC-(internet relay chat)-application, or Skype or ICQ. Also, simple text-programs would be nice. After all, there´s already a software for Nintendo DS that teaches you how to paint, so why not a text-program, too? All of these are the more obvious idea, but there really would be no limit as to what kind of applications could be offered.
Something that´s probably the most unlikely feature to happen, but still would do wonders for some of the previous mentioned ideas, would be the inclusion of 3G – internet without the need of being close to a hotspot. Actually, I never got how these hotspots worked, anyway, as you still need a user name and password to use hotspots, and that´s hardly the case when not at home. 3G really would free the 3DS from all remaining boundaries. There are a lot of ways to have Nintendo get the money back for this feature´s costs – like offering different SKUs or include the 3G-costs into downloads, just to name two possibilities. There are so many ideas that could be done with 3G, so many that I´m not going to name them. Let´s just say: 3G in the 3DS would be really, really, neat. It probably won´t happen, but it´d be … neat.
On that note, something a friend of mine is wishing for is GPS. Personally, I don´t need it, but if it´s there, I wouldn´t complain about it. And to be honest, it´d allow for some interesting real life-virtual life-games in the vein of geo caching.
3G yes or no, improved online-features are a must. And by improved, I mean: Improved a lot. Basically, give me something on par with Xbox Live for the 3DS. A single friends list for all games. Demo-download without being in need of a Wii-system. Some social features like easy-accessable text-messaging and getting information about your friends, like what games they played, if they´re online right now, stuff like that. And make online-gaming be fast and easy. Make it easy to join friends´ games. Oh, and don´t separate game from system-menu. Give me something like the Xbox-button that keeps the game running in the background, but grants me control over all the system´s feature. Don´t make me quit a game, before I can send a friend a text-message, that´s what I mean. And that´s that.
Finally, I´d like to mention some games I´d love to see on the 3DS. Seemingly, it´s already announce, but we haven´t seen anything yet, so I´ll mention it anyway: Naruto Shippuuden: Gekitou Ninja Taisen! from Tomy/8ing. No matter if you like the Naruto-series or not, the GameCube-fighters were great fun and I was really addicted to them. 8ing´s last Wii-title sucked, though, but if they could return to their old fighting-strength, that´d beat any Dead or Alive or Streetfighter for me. Another game is Skies of Arcadia. And I don´t care if it´s a sequel or a port/remake. I want Skies of Arcadia on a handheld, and 3D alone would work wonders for flying ships and flying whales. As for a game that many gamers probably wouldn´t expect on a handheld, give me Metroid Prime 4 3DS. When I first thought about it I was like “uh, but how will it control?”, but then I remembered how Metroid Prime for GameCube controlled … you don´t need a second analog-stick at all for the Prime-series. Two other games that I´d like to see sequels for on the 3DS are Lugi´s Mansion and Endless Ocean. Both ghosts and fish are such obvious choices for making great use of a 3D-effect. Other than these games, it´s really hard to come up with something else – I mean, we already get a freakin´ Ocarina of Time-remake!
Again, never before have I been this hyped for a gaming-system, and never before have I seen such universal praise for one. Where people thought the Nintendo DS reached the mainstream, the 3DS will re-define what “mainstream” really is. First-party-support, third-party-support, and the first mainstream-device that features 3D – not only will this be every entertainment-lover´s device, it´ll also surpass anyone´s sales predictions. Now all there is to ask, is: Will the 3DS be fun, or will it be too much fun? Because these are really the only two remaining possibilities.
Ever since the new Nintendo-handheld was announce lots of people are looking forward to it. And why not? There are so many good reason to long for this piece of hardware. It´s the next Nintendo-handheld. That alone is reason to get hyped. It has glassless 3D, which is absolutely revolutionary in terms of gaming systems, portable ones no less. And then there´s the games. Kid Icarus, Ocarina of Time Remake, Dead or Alive, Metal Gear Solid 3, and so on. It all comes together in one, seemingly, perfect piece of hardware. And then there´s one more reason.
That reason is: Independence. I´m not trying to be overly dramatic, but for quite some time now I have felt that it is really annoying to be dependent on your television. To have a room where you can put inside all that stuff. Bound to a power socket. The first time I felt like that was way back then when I imported Animal Crossing for GameCube. As interesting as the game was back then, it wasn´t a game that could motivate me for hours, when it was the only thing that I could use for the time being. Just wasn´t a comparison when Animal Crossing Wild World for Nintendo DS came out. Perfect game to play while watching TV. But that was a sentiment exclusively tied to that one game. Still, that marked the first time I ever thought about above mentioned dependence.
Now, however, with real-life intervening more and more often, it´s become a real hassle. Be it because of being away from home, or having trouble with the people you´re living with, or out of fear not being able to stay at your current place any longer. That would be the more serious reasons. And then there´s also stuff like not being able to concentrate on one thing for a long time in one sitting anymore. See my experience with Animal Crossing above. I´ve become a multi-tasking person. Well, multi-entertainment person, to be more precise. I like having the TV running even when I´m not actively watching. I like reading what people write in the IRC-channel I´m regularly visiting. And I like browsing a multitude of websites within mere seconds, just to see if something new happened. This might not be a problem to other people, but I hate being limited. That´s where a handheld comes in handy.
The final problem, however, was that no Nintendo-handheld could deliver good enough 3D-graphics. A PSP was never an option for me, as it´s all about games, and the games I like are not on PSP. Anyway, the 3DS finally changes that. Or completes it, to be more precise. GameCube-level graphics in the palm of the your hand – what´s more to want?! Of course, there´s other stuff, like 3D, and who knows what other features we´ll see, like hopefully proper music- and video-playback. The 3DS is the complete package. It´s the convergence of gaming entertainment. That´s why I can´t wait. Being in total control of my gaming urges, that is what 3DS is to me. Three DS? More like Free DS!
The Nintendo DS is super popular and Nintendo´d be crazy not to evolve this concept when it comes to their next handheld. Still, when I wrote the Pokémon-article, I couldn´t help but think: Damn, the GameBoy Pocket looks so hot!
My first GameBoy was a big one, yellow colored. German Nintendo PR called it “Banana Joe“. I loved it so much, my first very own gaming system…until one of my brothers stepped on it, on the screen, aaand it was over. But it was around the time when the GameBoy Pocket got released. I believe i got it as a Christmas-present, and it was awesome. So small, so sleek, and the screen was so much better. And only two little batteries instead of four of the bigger ones. It also had this great plastic case. Even when the GameBoy Color came out and one or two friends showed them off, I didn´t feel envious, as the GameBoy Pocket still looked better.
Of course, Nintendo dropped the GameBoy-franchise. The Nintendo DS proved to be a gigantic success, and Nintendo surely was glad to get away from this rather childish brand name. After all, “GameBoy” sounded both kiddy AND, by pure definition of its name, targeted boys rather than girls, or simply, everyone. The NDS is a much better allround-solution.
But these days, whenever I think of this great handheld, I think of it more off “classic” rather than “kiddy”. “GameBoy” is a classic video game-franchise, a brand name, everyone knew (most likely still knows). And the design of the GameBoy Pocket is something that many of today´s PMPs seem to mimic, of course not on purpose, but they´re still looking similar. To make it short: A revival of the GameBoy-brand would be one of the greatest things ever to be happening in the near future. Nintendo could even use it as a specific model-branding rather than a whole new machine. I.e. released a Nintendo DS 2, and release a more pompous version called “GameBoy DS”. While the NDS 2 would be a close follow-up of the current NDS, the GameBoy DS could offer a lot of multimedia-features as well as more hardware power and other stuff that the masses of the mainstream do not necessarily need to have.
At the end of the day, all I want is a handheld as great looking as the GameBoy Pocket, featuring all the modern features.