30 August 2013

The Nintendo AxeBlade Tablet

You could say I have something of a love/hate relationship with Nintendo. I grew up with the original NES. We had a 2600 before, but I remember having both and generally favored the NES. Eventually, I grew tired of what Nintendo had to offer and moved over to the Genesis. After a prolonged love affair with that system, followed by a brief spell of PC gaming, Nintendo came back into my life as the 64. I didn't technically have one, my brother did, and between us we bought a few games for it. I'd say I enjoyed it, but part of me was honestly still looking at the Sega Saturn, albeit it was definitely on the way out. I'd made up a list of about five or ten games, thinking, "If I get a Saturn, and the system fails, I'll still have ten good games for it and be content with those until the next console." Not a bad plan, though I say so myself, but it fell completely out the window when I saw a commercial for Final Fantasy VII. I became obsessed and finally got a Playstation for Christmas, circa 1997, that loyalty more or less remaining to this day.
I'm generalizing here, leaving out a lot of details like my DreamcastSNES, various Gameboys, even an N-Gage, but the basic point to take away is that I became a shameless Sony fanboy in high school and never looked back. The DS held very little interest for me outside of a few games, but not enough to warrant a purchase (I was quite happy with my PSP). The thing is, virtually all my friends are big DS users, and I do feel left out sometimes, not to mention seeing more and more games that do admittedly pique my interest a tad like Crimson Shroud. Still, it was never really enough to make me start seriously planning. A lot of this has to do with the fact that I've been warming up to the PS Vita, even though I could go on for hours about everything I hate about it (despite that shameless fanboy title I mentioned). Now that the 2DS has been announced and revealed, I've been given pause for thought on which handheld to spring for. 
So, as someone who does not have a 3DS, which should already tell you this console is not for you and therefore its existence shoud hardly offend, here's why I'm genuinely interested in the 2DS. In fact, I have appropriately two main reasons: 
(.) No 3D. I cannot use the 3D effect on the 3DS at all. I've tried at least twice on a store demo, and after not even ten seconds my brain feels like it's trying to make a break for it through my nose. Most people don't have a problem with the 3D, I'm not one of them. Of course, this is where most people say, "Well, you don't have to use the effect, you can turn the 3D down." No kidding, I'm well aware of how a slider works. My issue is why in the world would I pay for a feature I'm not going to use? Yes, it's not simply a feature upgrade. The 3DS is a whole new system that's far more powerful than previous versions. That's not my problem. My problem is there's three versions of the original DS, and only about a year it seems after the 3DS came out, the 3DS XL was released. I'm not one of these guys that has to have the latest version of every console, but when you're releasing more hardware than Sega in their heyday, you're doing something wrong. It does not inspire confidence. In a way, I sort of knew there would be another version of the 3DS, possibly one that would do away with the 3D or cost less so I wouldn't feel like I was paying for a feature I didn't want. 
(..) I like the design. It has no moving parts, no big hinge in the middle. As cool as I always thought the idea of holding the DS sideways like a book is, the idea of opening and closing anything like a clamshell puts this lingering weariness in my head. When I worked in customer service for a cell carrier, long before the iPhone came out, the most popular phone we had was the Motorola Razr, which is what's called a flip phone. I wish I had a nickel for every time I got a tech support call from a customer whose screen went out because the wires connecting the screen to the main body got pinched. Couple that with the simple fact that hinges wear down anyway, and I've never gotten behind the design of any phone outside the classic "candy bar" style, which is more or less what most smartphone are now. 
Frankly, I wonder if game companies don't do enough market research and testing of their handhelds before they release them, hence minor upgrades and redesigns year after year. I always felt a little resentful at the updates to the PSP, even hating the Go version. I know early adoption is a big factor in a lot of consumer electronics gaining footholds in their various markets, but I'd rather they iron out the major bugs like size, shape, and weight before they get it out to me. Now that I've seen Vita memory cards in clearance bins, I'm  wondering if Sony has similar plans for the Vita, possibly a redesign that fixes all my complaints about the current version, like no memory stick support. I think that's unlikely, but even if a redesign is on the horizon, I'd probably be every bit a happy with a price drop in the current version. As for the 2DS, everyone is mocking it and laughing at it, pointing out all the design choices with it, while I'm thinking, "Finally." I do worry that with all this mockery that these haters will take out their whiny, first-world frustrations on the people who choose this system (or receive it as a gift). As someone who grew up during the great Nintendo/Sega rivalry that was the 16-bit era, I can tell you that system-shaming hurts everyone and it takes away the most important aspect of being a gamer: Playing games that you enjoy. 
Good night, and good luck. 
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