Nintendo 3DS – The Good, The Bad, and the 3-D

For this Wednesday’s feature we just wanted to take a look at the 3DS – since we’ve finally gotten our hands on one.

I’d like to start by saying that despite playing the 3DS for several battery life’s so far, I haven’t gotten any unusual headaches from it. So that part, at least, may well be fixed. And the 3D does work, with the slider seamlessly adjusting the depth of the 3D within the console and not incurring any loading times or unusual glitches when adjusting it mid-game.

My biggest problem with the 3D is the fact that you have to adjust it every time you move your hands even an inch, and if you don’t keep your eyes literally straight on, then it starts to go double-imaged. While neither of those are huge problems, they do make it more frustrating since let’s face it, handheld gaming isn’t what you do typically when you have a comfortable seat to sit on and play from one position. It’s what you do when you’re bored while in unpleasant circumstances such as buses, planes, or waiting rooms. And a comfortable position where you can sit still for the entire time isn’t always possible.

I think the biggest thing that has hurt the 3DS so far is the near-complete lack of really good titles for it. Prior to Mario Land, I couldn’t think of a single title that would give me any motivation to play one – which is why I didn’t spend my money on one until now. We now have Mario Land, which is definitely worth playing, and we have a few other big ones upcoming. So hopefully the system continues to grow – which is a nice segue into my next topic. The system NEEDS a larger version. It’s too small to hold comfortably for anyone who is fully grown. My hands don’t like being that close holding a completely flat rectangular object for extended periods of time. That’s why I love my PSP, it’s a good size to hold. Apparently there is a peripheral coming next year that will give us that increased size – so I’m looking forward to that – but why can’t Nintendo get ‘comfortable to hold’ right the first time ever? I had the same problem with the DS, and the Wii-Mote is a whole other story of discomfort. Seriously Nintendo, hire someone whose job it is to just tell you when you’re being stupid and releasing something that is going to kill an adult’s hands. Make him a Vice President or something so he has enough pull to override everyone, because this is important.

Aside from the discomfort of holding and the awkwardness of having to look it straight on always, the system works very well. The dashboard is easy to navigate with either buttons or stylus, the layout is clean and workable, and the streetpass functionality works well. I’ve always had myself open my system to small gifts left by others, which was quite interesting.

The only other gripe that I can foresee is that the battery life is way too low. 3-4 hours is not long enough for a handheld. Handhelds are the sort of thing you take on a roadtrip when you’re not driving, or on a plane for a long haul flight. Like the one I’m going on tomorrow. My 3DS isn’t even going to last 1/5 of my travel time all told. That’s not long enough. Hopefully the improved battery comes out soon, because this is just sad. Even for gaming at home it’s awkward.

The software that comes with the system all works fairly well, the camera works for 3D pictures – I took a really cute 3D picture of some of my wife’s stuffed toys for her and she loved it – it’s just too bad I can’t view it elsewhere, but maybe if 3D becomes more prominent that will change.


However, all told, the 3DS has outdone my expectations as a piece of hardware. It works, it’s fun to play when you have a fun game to play. And with the price cut, it’s a good value since it does everything a DSi does for only a slight amount more, and has all of those shiny upcoming games that people are interested in.


Written by: Sean

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