Nintendo 3DS: Buy or Not Buy

Nintendo's new handheld, the Nintendo 3DS is set for release this Sunday. And I've had one on preorder ever since they've announced the price and release date. I wrote something a few weeks ago about how excited I was about it: http://www.theschlock.com/blog/?p=829. I wasn't excited for the 3D so much, as I was to finally have a second DS for trading of Pokemon.

This week, the gaming press have gotten their review units, and have written some reviews and comments about the handheld. There have been 2 concerns that are starting to make me doubt whether I should purchase the Nintendo 3DS.

Battery Life

Apparently, if you're using the Nintendo 3DS under the lowest settings without any 3D, you can only get about 4 1/2 hours worth of game time out of it! And then it takes about 3 1/2 hours to fully charge the thing. This is ridiculous compared to my DS Lite, which I can play for hours and hours, and never think to charge it.

How is the Nintendo 3DS supposed to be a handheld if I'm always tethered to an electrical outlet? How is this supposed to work if when I go to on a long vacation and want to play through Okamiden, or Zelda Spirit Tracks? I'll be constantly charging the stupid thing.

Source from Ars Technica: http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2011/03/cradled-by-inadequacy-the-3ds-battery-put-to-the-test.ars

DS Rendering

The 3DS screens have higher resolution as the DS. As such, if you're playing a DS in full screen mode, the image is stretched and the pixels are not 1 to 1. You can fix this by running DS games in their native resolution, but it is small. Almost, Gameboy Micro small. Also, according to the Destructoid article, the colors are slightly washed out. DS games look much more brilliant on a DSi or a DSi XL.

This would really hamper my experience with the 3DS for the first several months as I will be using it to play DS games. With the added processing power of the 3DS, you'd think they make the games look better, much like the Playstation 2 did with PS1 games.

Source from Destructoid: http://www.destructoid.com/upgrading-to-3ds-don-t-get-rid-of-your-ds-just-yet--196897.phtml
Also, Kotaku or Joystiq wrote the exact same thing a few weeks ago.

Buy or not Buy

So now, I'm a little torn. It seems like if I get a 3DS, I will still be using my DS quite often. I might only use the 3DS for 3DS games (of which none I care about), or the built in games (which are not full games, but little time wasters), or the eStore (which won't even be ready by launch).

Let's take a look at a timeline.

November 21st, 2004 - Nintendo DS
June 11th, 2006 - Nintendo DS Lite
April 5th, 2009 - Nintendo DSi
March 29th, 2010 - Nintendo DSi XL

March 27th, 2010 - Nintendo 3DS

With the release of each recent handheld, they've had another one fixing problems not too long after. With the original horrid ugly looking DS, they replaced that thing with the pretty DS Lite a year and a half later. The DS Lite fixed all the design problems they had with the DS. It improved battery life, full LCD screens, in a smaller, more compact design. I did not own a DS until the DS Lite was released, and by then, there was an actual reason to own one.

Given the uproar about the current battery life of the Nintendo 3DS, I doubt it'll take long before they come up with the solution. I should really wait for that solution rather than spending $250 on something that might end up sitting on my shelf for the months to come.

If anything, the release of the Nintendo 3DS should bring down the price of used DSs. Maybe I'll pick up a DSi XL.




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