With Nintendo’s previous marketing flop—like the confusion with the Wii U—it is understandable that one might look at this “New 3DS” as just another version of the Nintendo 3DS. I mean, it looks the same with its clamshell design and dual screens—at first glance, it would be hard to tell the two handhelds apart. However, most of the changes that set the New Nintendo 3DS apart from the Nintendo 3DS are ones that cannot be seen—like speed and power—but I’ll save that for last.
Design changes made to the New 3DS include two extra bumpers (ZL and ZR) for camera panning in games. The stylus is now located at the bottom of the device, the start and home buttons have moved a bit, the volume slider has a new home and last, but certainly not least, there is the new additional analog stick for in game control of the camera (much awaited by Nintendo 3DS fanatics). There are two ways to look at these changes, from the perspective of someone who has previously owned an older 3DS, and someone who is buying into the 3DS family for the first time.
If the New Nintendo 3DS is your first 3DS handheld, then you will have no problem adjusting to all the new design changes that it boasts. If you are buying the New 3DS to replace your existing 3DS then you will probably come across some minor annoyances. Like, why was it necessary to move the location of the stylus? If my fingers are already over by the A, B, X and Y buttons, then it’s easier to grab the stylus from there instead of having to awkwardly feel around for it at the bottom of the device. Also, it’s hard to adjust to the volume slider, which is on the top screen, directly across from the 3D slider—again, it is much easier to adjust the volume when your hand is already right next to it on the analog stick. My main concern with the design changes is that they put the power button on the outside of the device like they had in previous models. Even though the power button is a physical button and not a slider like in previous models, I worry that the button will accidently be pressed while putting the handheld in my case or while it is being jostled around in my bag. I remember being stupidly excited over Nintendo’s decision to put the power button on the inside of the clamshell, making it impossible to accidently be turned off while traveling. I know that this is probably a silly and minor change to most 3DS gamers, but to me this has been an issue in the past and I feel like Nintendo is backsliding with that design flaw. Perhaps I am being nit-picky, but who doesn’t hate having all of their save data disappear?
If you are interested in the aesthetics of the console, you have no need to worry—Nintendo is releasing interchangeable faceplates for the New 3DS. But there is a catch, you can only swap out the faceplates on the smaller model of the New 3DS, not the New 3DS XL. Yes, the screens on the smaller New 3DS are a bit bigger than the old one, but I can’t say that it is a significant difference. So now you get to choose if you would rather have a bigger screen or a cool looking clamshell design. That may not be a big deal to you, but it still doesn’t make sense as to why Nintendo wouldn’t make interchangeable faceplates for their XL version. Why can’t I have both!?
Nintendo also decided not to include a charger with the console itself. I suppose they assumed that the majority of their buyers were people who are upgrading from the previous Nintendo 3DS model. I feel like this was a cheap move for Nintendo to save a few extra pennies on the production of this console. Was it really worth it though? Even if it uses the same charger as its predecessor, it is just annoying and is once again causing more confusion for consumers. However, this is not Nintendo’s biggest flaw with this console… you now need a screwdriver to remove the back plate in order to put in the MicroSD card. Depending on how many games you play and how much you save this could really pose a huge issue. You can no longer swap out memory cards when you switch games, you now need to perform minor surgery on your Nintendo 3DS in order to do what should take a few seconds.
But, with all of that being said, I have to say that the New 3DS is worth the $200. Even though there aren’t many games currently on the market that push this new console to its limits, there will be soon. Sure, you can play Monster Hunter 4 on your old Nintendo 3DS but, just like Super Smash Bros., you will notice a significant loading and starting time. The New 3DS runs these games flawlessly, and without the loading time. Also, the 3D on the New 3DS is absolutely remarkable. On my old 3DS I always kept the 3D completely turned off to keep from getting a massive headache, you also can’t see the 3D if you tilt the console either. With the New 3DS, the 3D is not painful to look at, and you can view it from any angle. As someone who couldn’t stand the 3D in 3DS I have to say that this was a drastic and stunning change. It makes games more enjoyable to play.
Overall, I think that the New Nintendo 3DS is going to drastically change the market for Nintendo. I think it is going to draw a larger group of gamers. Nintendo was always the family friendly, classic, and RPG company; they were never concerned about making consoles with enough speed to play first-person-shooters, which encompasses a huge percentage of gamers. With this new console, I think that they will finally be able to reach that huge percentage of gamers that they never catered to—it just depends on whether or not those gamers will give Nintendo a chance. If Nintendo is successful in reaching that group of gamers, they will truly be the most versatile videogame company of them all. I wish you luck, Nintendo.