So the 3DS is released in Australia this week, but we just received one on Friday. So partly to inform, but mostly so I can mix business with pleeaaasure, I’m going to be running a daily diary of my experiences with Nintendo’s latest exercise in wizardry. Ladies and gentlemen – welcome to day four of the 3DS Diaries.
Today set a worrying precedent, a precedent that may end up being indicative of my 3DS usage over the next year. This precedent may also be relevant to your 3DS usage, should you end up buying one this Thursday.
Said precedent is this: I was on the train this morning, a train journey that usually last roughly 35-40 minutes all up, and despite the fact that my 3DS was snugly packed in my bag the whole time, not once did I feel like playing it.
Here’s the thing – my iPhone is in my pocket. It fits there, smaller than a wallet. Getting it out of my pocket, as you’d expect, is simple. It also has the ability to multi-task – I can go on twitter, I can check facebook, I can listen to music, I can play a handful of very cheap, accessible games tailor made for a quick five minute experience.
Compare that to the 3DS. It’s a bit chunky. It fits in my jean pocket. Just. But I’m worried about it in there – it cramps my style and hurts when I sit down. It doesn’t have 3G so I can’t check Twitter or Facebook. I can’t listen to music while I play.
If I want to play games there are multiple barriers to entry. First, I have to open my bag. Then, I have to open my 3DS carry case. Then I have to flip open the screen and remove the stylus from its unwieldy position at the back of the console.
But that’s just the beginning. If I want to change games, I have to go into my carry case again, and pull out the game from its case, replace it, put the other game back in the case and only then am I good to start playing.
Now this may seem picky, it may seem like the ramblings of a 20-something, mouth breather with the attention span of a stoned gnat, but we are living in the age of convergence – wherein there exists a device that allows me to rapidly switch between multiple kinds of gaming, music, and social media in literally seconds. In that regard, the 3DS can feel a little old fashioned.
Part of it has to do with my (current) lacklustre selection of games. A couple of weeks back I did switch out my iPhone for the DS Lite – when engrossed in Capcom’s Ghost Trick. That was a type of gaming experience not available on the iPhone, and provided a large enough point of difference to convince me to put away said device and focus exclusively on a game for once.
I have no doubt that, at some point, a game will be released on the 3DS that is compelling enough to convince me that the process of getting my 3DS ready for play is worth it. I suspect that Pilotwings Resort, when it’s finally released, may be that game. But for now my iPhone is too slick, too simple, too accessible.
In some regards the 3DS – by comparison – feels like a last generation handheld device.
Click here for previous entries in the 3DS Diaries series.