It’s not April and this is not a joke. Nintendo have addressed the issues surrounding the effects of stereoscopic 3D screens on young eyes by making a new 3DS iteration and just ripping out the 3D capability. Oh, and the hinge.
This thing does not snap shut, the first non-hinged Nintendo handheld since the Game Boy Micro. It’s shaped like a door wedge, designed specifically for young hands and priced in the same way – just $129.99, some $50 cheaper than the existing 3DS deals. The screen have shrunk in size from the 3DS XL, back to the same size screen of the original design. In fact, the hardware inside is identical to current models – it’s just been flattened and restricted.
Aside from the hideous design – rarely a sentence used when talking about Nintendo, although the Wii Mini is similarly useless in both form and function – there are some issues regarding the 2DS. Firstly, this slab isn’t anywhere near as portable as the clamshell models, and the screens are going to be exposed to whatever nasty things are lurking in kids’ bags. Secondly, there are some DS games (the 2DS can play both DS and 3DS carts) that use the clam design to solve puzzles, meaning they would not be solvable on this new hardware version.
However, there is a counter argument that Nintendo knows exactly what they are doing. It’s releasing the new console at the same time as the two new Pokemon titles, commonly the titles that attract child customers more than any other. Also, the 2DS has the simple Fisher Price look that will seem familiar to kids eager to play the new games and removing the 3D functionality will appeal to parents who have been keeping their children away from the 3D screen of the 3DS.
The 2DS may look like it was designed by the intern in CTD class but only a fool would write Nintendo off, even if their moves this generation have often been less than compelling. I just hope the 3D effect isn’t ignored completely; I really love my 3DS and often find the 3D adds a special depth to the graphics. Ultimately, it will be the Christmas sales numbers that will reveal whether Nintendo’s latest gamble has paid off.