This DS is Phat

The 3DS is coming, and while most people are very excited for the next in Nintendo’s handhelds (and not just another re-design or overhaul), I find myself much more apprehensive. The technological disparity between the current generation’s best (the DSi) and the upcoming 3DS seems pretty substantial, but I wonder if it’s still too early for its release. 3D technology has been on the rise this past year, and it’s no surprise that Nintendo stands ready to bring some fantastic new innovations to their cashcow handheld empire. But I still can’t understand what kind of innovative gameplay mechanics can truly be accomplished with the new 3D technology. The upgrade from the GBA to the DS was huge — the touchscreen really opened up a new way to design games, both well-designed and gimmicky. But again … 3D technology?

I’m also very cautious because I know what appeals to me in a handheld. I appreciate the innovations that the touchpad has brought, but one of my favorite things to actually do with a handheld is to curl up into a ball or be in practically any position that my body can contort to and still be able to play it. This includes laying prone and holding the system above me while I’m playing it — an impossibility with many DS games that require touchpad use. Because of this limitation, still enjoy playing GBA games on the DS. But the GBA slot is missing in the DSi and beyond, including the 3DS. Until the 3DS can fully establish itself with its own library, I don’t think it will be compatible with my gaming habits. I envision myself spending a lot more time with the PSP if the 3DS’ library is predominantly 3D and stylus-oriented.

In the meantime, I’ve embraced the DS phat (the original Nintendo DS), due to its superior D-pad and the non-obtrusiveness of the GBA cartridges when placed in the GBA slot. I actually have more gripes with the DS Lite than I do with the original.

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