We're very much in a temporary lull after the release of Nintendo 3DS. You've probably finished Pilotwings, breezed through Super Monkey Ball and realised that Super Street Fighter IV 3D's online mode is actually as addictive as illegal things and taken a bit of a break for your family's sake. So what now? Where are the games? Fear not! A new firmware update is due any day now - and it's going to give us loads more to do.
For starters, the biggest point of the update will be the Nintendo eShop, which will give us a load of new (old) games to play as well as some neat bespoke software. Here's what's been confirmed so far:
Nintendo is giving a selection of old games (most likely NES and arcade classics, at least to begin with) a 3D make-over - and giving away Excitebike at launch. This could be Japan-only, but we're fairly sure we'll be getting that too, especially given the game's good reputation in the West. But it won't end there. Imagine how good classics like Donkey Kong could look in 3D.
Above: As Borat (or Cundy) would say... "Very excite!"
Game Boy and Game Boy Color games
Brett's already had some hands-on time with Super Mario Land and Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening. They're so old now that an entire generation of gamers will have missed out on them - and 3DS is going to be a wonderful way to experience them for the first time, just so long as you can forgive the technical limitations.
Above: There it is, folks - your 3DS will be showing images like this very soon
There hasn't been a confirmed list of titles for the eShop's launch, although the existing line-up on Wii's own Virtual Console gives us a clue. Bomberman '93 gave us plenty of hours of retro fun when that got a re-release. The small screen would be the perfect home for its simple charms.
Game Gear games
Five of 'em at launch, rumoured to be Columns, Sonic Drift 2, GG Shinobi, Sonic Triple Trouble and Dragon Crystal. That's not bad at all - Columns and Shinobi are both pretty damn essential and Sonic Triple Trouble was the last 'proper' Sonic game released on the system, so it was pretty advanced for the hardware. Sonic Drift 2 sure ain't a patch on Mario Kart... but who knows? Maybe on a screen where you can actually see what's going on, it will provide more entertainment.
Here's hoping Disney's happy for Donald Duck's Lucky Dime Caper and Mickey Mouse's Land of Illusion to get re-released soon.
Above: Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse each had a couple of great handheld platformers. Do want!
Demos and more
Nintendo's aim for the new eShop service is for it to be a mix of Wii's Shopping and Nintendo channels. It also wants browsing the store to be fast-flowing. So we'd imagine SpotPass will be used to download the contents of the store's 'stacks' (indexes of grouped games) to the internal memory, leaving you to fly through menu screens instead of waiting for each one to load s-l-o-w-l-y. Being able to browse for demos, trailers and special offers quickly is going to mean an enjoyable shopping experience for you and more revenue for Nintendo. Everyone's a winner.
Interesting one, this. The DSi's browser and its shop-bought DS phat counterpart was pretty rubbish - will the new internet browser be any good? It's actually already got an icon on the 3DS' menu screen, which doesn't do anything except tell you that it'll be unlocked in a future firmware upgrade. This will be the second major feature unlocked by the update.
Above: Remember this? DS Lite's browser came in a box with an extra RAM card. And it still sucked
There's also the possibility a Facebook channel, although this is unconfirmed. DSi was given social networking access in a firmware upgrade, so it makes sense that the new machine would have at least the same functionality as its predecessor.
Backwards compatibility with DSiWare
If, like us, you had games stored on an SD card from DSi, you were probably disappointed to see that they didn't even show up when you put it into your 3DS (even though all your photos did). These previously-downloaded games will apparently be activated on your 3DS with the new firmware via the currently closed off 'System Transfer' option in the settings menu. We do hope that this doesn't require the original DSi system to be present. Yup, that one's looong gone.
Above: This picture from the website shows DSiWare compatibility as well as trailers of upcoming games
Nintnedo's being tight-lipped on the exact date of the new firmware's arrival, but it is due this month. Once we get these features and the summer releases start flowing, the system's really going to take off. We're excited - are you?
10 May, 2011