It started with a thud, and stumbled out of the gate with a whimper.
The Nintendo 3DS looked like it could be a high profile failure for Nintendo. But once they cut the price to the system, and more importantly once better games began to arrive, the system rebounded nicely.
But is it better than the other consoles?
Yes. And here is why:
While the 3DS doesn’t boast HD graphics like the Microsoft Xbox 360 and Sony PS3, it is the only console that has 3D graphics on the vast majority of its titles. The PS3 has limited 3D support, but on very few titles. Plus, you can only view games in 3D on the PS3 if you own an expensive 3D television and have glasses. The 3DS, as the name implies, lets you view 3D graphics without glasses or additional equipment.
Sony’s competing handheld, the PS Vita, has better graphics capabilities than the 3DS but it does not have 3D. Also, some of the VIta’s horsepower is wasted on a small screen. The smaller the screen, the less high definition graphics matters.
Other than its stereo sound (and the merits of the sound of various games), people probably aren’t aware of the really nifty sound application on the 3DS. It allows all kinds of zany backgrounds to your tunes (which you can load on an SD card). It also allows you to play drums along with your music with the shoulder buttons! It is this kind of attention to detail that separates not only the 3DS but Nintendo products generally from its competitors.
Playstation Vita is really struggling to find good games right now. The 3DS, however, has developed an outstanding catalogue so early in its lifetime. These include:
1. New Super Mario Bros. 2
2. Super Mario 3D Land
3. Resident Evil: Revelations
4. Kid Icarus: Uprising
5. Ace Combat: Assault Horizon
Meanwhile, the HD consoles are entering their last stages of life, and are getting diminished support as a result. The 3DS is the only system right now that is getting the full support of the game development community.
4. 3DS XL
Coming in August (available most likely by the time this article is published) is the 3DS XL. This new iteration of the hardware boasts a larger screen and longer battery life. This is a real boon to people using Netflix on the system. No additional iterations are coming for any other system (and if so, it will most likely be to cut features to make cheaper versions).
5. The eShop
Not just relying on retail titles, Nintendo’s eShop has become home to steady library of high quality, inexpensive titles. Pushmo, for example, uses the system’s 3D graphics in a novel way. The HD consoles online stores face the same situation as the retail library: the systems are just too old, and not getting as much support.
The 360 and PS3 have had great runs but are aging, while the Vita hasn’t found its legs. The Nintendo Wii is more or less coasting on fumes, so that leaves the Nintendo 3DS as the most vital, interesting and fun system going… until the Nintendo WiiU is released, anyway!