Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The REAL reason the 3DS is failing.

So, in just a few days from now Nintendo are going to drop the price of the 3DS by quite some distance. This has been reported everywhere, ad infinitum, and ad nauseum. I have lost count of the number of times I have seen pieces claiming to detail the free games that will be available to the early adopters, who will now be known as the 'Ambassadors', only to see the same few games that everyone else knows about mentioned. Games journalism, it seems, is about recycling existing news in as many ways as possible.

Along with  this massive news come the prophets of doom. Apparently, this move from Nintendo means that the gravy train is no longer running, and it will soon be Game Over for them. To be fair to these "jounalists", it has been such a long time since they have been able to actually post any kind of negative story about the Big N that they can't help themselves but to gorge on this particular titbit. "The 3D is the problem", say some. Others prefer to go with "The games are the problem."

They are all wrong. The real problem lies in the design of the console itself.

I own a 3DS, and absolutely adore it. I adored the DSi before this, and the DS Phat before that. (I didn't bother with the Lite, but would probably have adored it if I had.) I have played well over 200 hours on each of three different Pokemon games, and played Animal Crossing Wide World every day for a YEAR. When it comes to logging in the hours on the handheld, I must surely be up in the higher echelons of users, in terms of actual time with the console in my hands. I can safely say with hand on heart that holding a DS feels pretty much completely natural, to the point where all other hardware that isn't a DS feels less so.

Now, to give you an idea what I am talking about, I shall show you the console.


It's beautiful, isn't it? However, it is also WRONG!

My gripe is not so much in the placement of the analogue nub, which can lead to a bit of a pain in the palm when playing Ocarina of Time for any extended amount of time. Nope, whilst that isn't ideal my hands have pretty much adjusted to it now. Nor is it in the way that the two screens are in different aspect ratios. Again, I can accept that, and it is something that you quickly learn to ignore.

There is, however, one thing that is seriously out of place. And it is the Power button.

Nintendo, what the actual fuck were you thinking when you chose to put it there? Right there, where it is in the most obvious, natural, and INSTINCTIVE place in the world to just slip my thumb over to when I want to pause a game?

And WHY, FOR THE LOVE OF GON WHY, did you decide that once the power button has been pressed, that is it. The game is going off, you are not getting back to it, not a chance, deal with it. We can go into Street Pass mode, so it isn't like we have cut the power permanently. Adding insult to injury, we can even get back to the Home screen from Street Pass mode. Ordinarily, the Home screen leaves whatever was running in the background, in order to allow us to get back to it quickly. Unless it is an actual game. With a game, "Off" does not mean "Off", it means "Leave your game, HAHAHAHA."

It is a small, but infuriating oversight. I have lost count of the amount of times I have accidentally hit that STUPIDLY PLACED button when I just meant to pause, losing whatever game progress I had up until that point. I have now played the start of Gerudo Fortress 3 times! I can't help it, my thumb uses its muscle memory to just press the button before my conscious mind screams at it "YOU FUCKING MORON WHY THE HELL DID YOU DO THAT?"

I'll adapt. I'll learn. I'll live with my own stupidity for not saving constantly like some kind of paranoid. And, I'll hope that Nintendo fix this in a future firmware update. But until then, I'll wonder why nobody else sees this as a problem. (And then remember that they are all too busy telling you the stuff everyone else already told you!)

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