Nintendo 3DS: Good idea or total crap?

"That’s it people. It’s over. Move on. There’s nothing to see here. Nintendo has finally gone so far into gimmick country that there’s no way back.

“But no!” you might cry, “Nintendo is the great innovator! It has the outside-the-box hardware ideas that shape the whole industry” But does it? Does it always? As a long-time Nintendo fanboy since the days of the Gameboy and the NES I can sayyes, Nintendo’s best thought-out marriages of hardware refinement and game design have undoubtedly changed gaming for the better, but along the waythe companyhas spent an equal amount of time so drunk on being different for different’s sake that it frequently hasn’t noticed when it’s been close to pissing itself and falling off the table. For every N64 pad, there’s a ROB. For every rumble pack, there’s a Satellaview. For every DS, there’s a Power Glove. And for every Game Boy, there’s a Virtual Boy.

Above: They're baaaaaaaaaaaaaaack...

"Think of the Nintendo consoles you love the most. I guarantee you’re thinking of the NES, the Game Boy, the SNES, the N64 and maybe even the Gamecube. All of Nintendo’s truly great machines are the ones that streamlined and improved certain things over previous iterations of gaming, but otherwise just got on with it. They were Nintendo doing what it did best.

"Whenever it’s gone tits-up, it’s been as a result of Nintendo drunkenly charging outside of the box, naively leaping on a bandwagon, and steering that wagon straight off the cliff of overly-whacky, misfiring bullshit, by way of premature, oversold hardware and under-developed ideas. Some might find the idea of a dedicated 3D console exciting, but being realistic, it just whiffs of Nintendo getting back on the sauce. Unfortunately, pandering to a gimmick-loving, disloyal casual market which demands a constant string of next-big-things in order to stay interested has forced out Nintendo’s historical worst side. Vitality Sensor anyone? And the 3DS is the latest entry into that lineage of desperate, headline-baiting misfires.

Above: Ninty is the innocent surburban kid. These are the drug pushers

"Ninty’s getting involved in the latest, unproven gaming fad? And it’s dedicating an entire hardware platform to what is in reality only a software solution? And it’s claiming to do it in a way never seen before, in this case without glasses? Here we go again, people. It’s Virtual Boy time…

"Take it from me. I’ve spent time with the devs on the forefront of the proper, next generation of 3D gaming technology. Conceptually, peripheral-less, in-screen 3D is possible, but it’sa while offand will not be cheap when it does land. And cheap hardware is Nintendo's current M.O. Nintendo’s no-glasses 3D will only deliver in the way that the N64 had SGI workstation-standard graphics, or that the Virtual Boy delivered home virtual reality, or that the Wii gave us real-time, motion-controlled interaction with our game environments.

Above: Expect similar 3DS/Avatar Photoshop mash-ups in a decade

"In other words, it’s going to be a fudged-together, halfway house solution that only roughly emulates what it claimed to deliver. It’ll do it well enough to grab the headlines and excite the technologically naïve, but it won’t do it well enough to be convincing long-term.

"And aside from its technical failings, the simple fact is that 3D has no practical gameplay applications. It’s ironic that the company of “No new platform ‘til innovation requires it” is creating a machine that specialises in what is essentially nothing more than an aesthetic garnish. Some doubted the DS at first, but that machine actually brought a very real, hands-on interaction change. The 3DS as we know it so far will add nothing but zeitgeist cool in an attempt to stay one small bunny hop ahead of a market that is constantly catching up.

"The 3DS. It’s so bad…"