Like the Ben Affleck of console gaming, Nintendo has announced that its 3DS family will expand to include a… 2DS of all things. There have been some raised eyebrows out there already for the new entry-level handheld, but it may just be a relevant pillar to Nintendo’s handheld lineup.
From all reports, the 2DS loses the flip-open clam shell design of the original DS and more recent 3DS, preferring an open, rigid construct. The 2DS will not have 3D functionality (technically, 3D photos can still be taken and viewed in 3D when transferred to a 3DS) and features a mono-speaker with stereo sound available via use of the headphone jack.
The build of the 2DS looks to have much cleaner lines than the 3DS – I was frankly disappointed with the design of the 3DS case, it seemed very sloppy in its finish – and it will be interesting to see how it sits in the hands. Nintendo have had great ergonomics more often than not *coughoriginalDScough* so I’m not too worried on that point. It will be interesting to see if a Circle Pad Pro adapter comes along, but it’s not a priority for me. It’s a shame they couldn’t keep the clam shell design albeit with the clean lines, but that’s just a nostalgia thing for me around the old Game and Watch units
Another critical aspect that will come into discussion is battery life. I’m not holding my breath, but it would be nice if Nintendo had lifted the battery life – though the easiest way to do so is simply to install a larger battery (somehow) and that might lift the price threshold to a level Nintendo wouldn’t be comfortable with.
So why am I so interested in the 2DS? A couple of reasons; firstly my wonderful DS Lite has finally decided it doesn’t want to read DS cartridges anymore, so it’s officially a glorified GBA for maybe three games. I was a bit surprised by this breakdown, NIntendo hardware is often quite reliable if looked after. The second reason, which leads on from the first, is that my kids are playing my 3DS a lot (they love Animal Crossing and some of the Super Mario Bros. 3DS titles) but I’m always careful to ensure that the 3D slider is turned off. Ever since the 3DS first came out, Nintendo had to warn against younger children playing the handheld; considering this is a target market for Nintendo, it was perhaps inevitable that the 2DS would come into existence. Ironically, most of the time I turn the 3D off because I get fed up re-aligning with the screen as I play. Thirdly, now that my DS Lite is out of action, there’s not a lot of patience for taking turns on the 3DS and tantrums sometimes ensue.
Currently in Australia, the 3DS XL is about $248, the 3DS is $198 and pre-orders for the 2DS are at $148. Side note: the image on EB Games’ website shows a white/red unit, rather than the black/red unit on the U.S. Nintendo site. With the not-so-coincidental release of Pokemon X and Y on the same damn day, parents can buy a system that is safe for their kids’ eyes and bloody Pokemon of all things for about the same cost as a 3DS. And I’m sure there’s a small mountain of Nintendo accessories to make it all Special
So while I wouldn’t buy one for myself, I’d certainly consider it for my kids. Unless Nintendo play a bastard move and bundle it with Majora’s Mask….. *crosses fingers*