Channel Zero #7: So Yeah 3DS and Stuff, Yeah?

by Rathe on Tuesday, 22 March 2011

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Ugh. It’s been a while since I mentioned the 3DS. Partly because, along with the Frozen Synapse feature, real life temporarily took over longer than should be necessary, but mainly because the crushingly miserable launch line-up has persuaded me to hold off early adoption – at least until we get a relatively decent flow of good games (April/May-ish). Still, that doesn’t mean I can just kick back like the lazy, pretentious hack I don’t like to think I am. The 3DS is but a few days away for many people, and lately more and more have had the opportunity to experience the little box of magic for themselves. So let’s presumptuously drag it through the mud again – after the jump.

soldiers, dragged through mud
Thank you, Google.

First, the niggling doubt in back of many people’s minds – the battery life issue – has finally festered into a full-blown, pus-ravaged cyst; like some sort of Li-ion chestburster. This particularly damning Ars Technica feature has called the system’s five-hour-max battery life “a major impediment to enjoying the system”. Tom’s Guide chimes in, with: “the best-case scenario for the [3DS’ battery life] is roughly as good as the worst-case for the DS Lite”. This sort of reminded me of the present situation with my DS Lite – it is practically on life-support from its wall charger, as its battery barely lasts an hour or two independently; its screens are yellowing; its left speaker has been broken for about a year; has a temperamental relationship with GBA games; the top screen goes static-y and red if at a funny angle; the touch screen always picks up slightly to the left of wherever you touch (and completely ignores calibration); and, yes, the hinge is broken. Despite that, it still works, so something as trivial as battery life isn’t really going to bother me, personally. 

broken DS lite, broken DS hinge
Pictured: Resale value.

Second, the 3DS has quite an odd advertising issue ahead of it – how do you market a product whose main selling feature can’t be displayed unless the consumer is actually using it? Erm, with a large, gurning man and spinning pans of Chun-Li and submarines, as it turns out. Still, it’s well edited, and I suppose simulating another dimension through television isn’t the easiest of tasks. Still, could have been worse, couldn’t it?

It’s not all bad though. The American Optometric Association has not only called hogwash on the notion of not letting children younger than the age of 6 play the console, but actively encourage its use as a method of identifying vision problems early on. That’s pretty revolutionary – not just for a game console, but especially for one made by a company who produced one nearly twenty years prior known for potentially damaging effects on the eyes. Even better, system dev Hideki Konno encourages the production of ‘normal’ 2D games, rather than feeling every game needs to have the system’s 3D shoehorned in – which nicely addresses an issue I had earlier in the year. Having said that, there could be some really brilliant shovelware on its way. Deal or No Deal 3DS comes readily to mind.

It’s going to be a very interesting month coming up, and I hope the Nintendo does very well these next few weeks.

Now how about a sodding game?

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