Is Nintendo's new-ish console the best for gamers?

Not too long ago, I talked my girlfriend into getting her own Nintendo 3DS. She opted for the smaller, aqua blue console because she loved the color. It wasn't long after that that she went on a shopping spree, buying Nintendogs+Cats, Paper Mario: Sticker Star, Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask, and The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass. She was absolutely in love with her purchases, and nothing could kill her Nintendo high. Except for the House of Mario's announcement of the New 3DS days later.

By: Tim "Blunder" Redd
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Nintendo announced their new handheld on August 29th of this year, and I know that information has already tormented some friends of mine. People who have been on the fence about buying Nintendo's handheld are rethinking whether it's worth it with a new console on the horizon. Others who have just recently bought a 3DS— like my girlfriend— are regretting their buy, despite the amount of fun that can still be had on the current iteration of the handheld. It's a sticky situation that leaves many wondering if waiting is best, even with enormous hits like Super Smash Bros., Pokemon Omega Red/Alpha Saphhire, and Fantasy Life coming to the 3DS. Why bother getting a new 3DS when a new New 3DS is on the horizon?

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Y SO NEW?

The New 3DS comes as the 3DS I wish we had started with. Not to get too technical, almost everything on the original has been improved for this model. The processor is faster, the screen is bigger. The official comparison of specs was released by Nintendo shortly after the reveal:

Three things stand out from this information. First, the 3D feature greatly expands the "sweet spot" needed to enjoy the 3D. On the now older versions, the 3DS had to be positioned at a certain angle at a certain distance to see the 3D effect, but that doesn't seem to be the case with this one. Second, the analog nub added to the right side of the console allows for camera controls and various other features that were notoriously missing from games like Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate. Third, the addition of faceplates for the smaller model mean people don't have to stick with the one color they get at purchase, allowing for customization that doesn't rely on continuously buying newer consoles.

All these features are exciting and nice to have, but the primary point of contention comes from one such new addition. Remember that faster processor and new analog nub? Older games weren't made to take advantage of such cool new features. This means exclusive New 3DS-only games are coming. At the same time as the reveal for this new console, Xenoblade Chronicles, a port of the 2012 Wii game, and Monster Hunter 4 Ultimatee were both announced to be only for the New 3DS. (Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate will be compatible with the New 3DS' nub, but it will NOT be exclusive to the console)

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CONFUSION, FRUSTRATION, ACCEPTANCE

Shortly after the announcement, people weren't quite sure how to react. On the one hand, fans rejoiced at having a new system with new games. Others attempted to rationalize this with history: the DSi succeeded the DS with exclusives and similar upgrades, and the same happened with the switch from Game Boy to Game Boy Color. A large amount tore this new news apart, shunning Nintendo for their neglect of the powerhouse 3DS console.

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I personally accept our new New 3DS overlord, with a few grievances to be mentioned. The bottom line is we are getting a new console. Despite the close name or design, new games will be coming to a new console, and that just spells out good things for consumers. 3DS and 3DS games will drop in price, DS games will drop even more, and, oh yeah, WE ARE GETTING A NEW CONSOLE. That list of games my girlfriend bought with her 3DS is an amazing sign for the longevity of this current system. She is playing her DS games more than 3DS game because they are cheap and come well-equipped with an amazing catalog of games. If you really need the newer stuff, you can go ahead and buy the New 3DS and enjoy it with newer games.

Yes, it is one more thing to buy, but the exclusives here are the primary selling point. Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate alone is 80+ hours of gameplay, even more with friends who play it. Imagine the possibilities with the sequel to that game. Now imagine that game plus an enormous JRPG known as being one of the best modern JRPG's. All of this in your backpack pocket. PLUS the backwards compatibility from previous 3DS and DS games. Needless to say, it seems like a good buy.

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That said, it does have some pitfalls. Two games can never justify buying a console. Until we see some more developers getting on the New 3DS train, it isn't the best deal just yet. Speaking of games, the 3DS has an already outstanding catalog, not to mention DS games. If you already have a 3DS or if you just bought one, this might not look like an amazing deal for you. My biggest gripe, however, comes from the name. As an English teacher, I feel like names and titles are crazy important, and Nintendo's naming situation for the past few years has me worried. New 3DS is currently the name in Japan, but, being that it is already in English, most people are assuming this oddity is going to be THE name. That just won't do. "Wanna buy a new 3DS? Or a new New 3DS? Or maybe an old New 3DS?" Granted, Apple proved this can work with their New iPad, but that doesn't mean it wasn't confusing, it just proves Apple can push whatever new item they come up with.

Minor gripes aside, I am genuinely excited for this. I'll be getting a New 3DS with a red mushroom faceplate because it looks awesome and will be playing two games that I love. It doesn't look like a must buy yet, but it does look like a pretty good improvement on an already stellar machine.

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English teacher by day, blogger by night! Tim "Blunder" Redd can normally be seen stalking reddit, playing on his 3DS, or writing on his personal blog thedirtycasual. He is also the gaming editor on the start-up, collegiate online magazine, Shuffle!