Warning! A huge battleship "3DS" is approaching fast.
So now that the US price has been announced ($250) and launch date has been confirmed (27th March 2011), what do I think? I guess the price is fair, considering the amount of tech the 3DS has within its guts. 3D screen, 3D-capable cameras, touch screen, gyroscope, accelerometer, pedometer and an always on tag mode (now called StreetPass).
That last point I find quite intriguing because the most interesting feature in Dragon Quest IX was its tag mode ability, which allowed you to trade maps and add other players' characters as guests in your game. Unfortunately this was hampered by the fact that you had to actually stop playing and specifically set your game to tag mode. I found this slightly annoying because the most likely place for me to tag people would be on the train commute to work but of course, I'd rather be playing the game rather than spending the whole train ride waiting for someone to tag me.
I also like how the pedometer tracks how many steps you've taken and rewards you with coins, with which you can use to spend and buy in-game rewards. A genius take on the Achievement and Trophy systems on the Xbox 360 and PS3 respectively. I do a lot of walking everyday in my commute to work and back so I hope to use this to it's utmost potential.
Like with the Wii and DSi, the 3DS will also have an online store, this time called the eShop. Apparently you can transfer over your DSi games, which is good but seeing that I do not own a DSi, I will not be using this feature. Nice of Nintendo to be thinking of us users, though. Would have been nicer if you gave us the ability to create accounts so we can carry over games to any console tied to that account, like what Sony does with PSN. But hey, that's Nintendo. What interests me about the eShop is that it also has its own Virtual Console and will offer Game Boy and Game Boy Color games. Screens of Zelda: Link's Awakening and Super Mario Land have already been shown so I guess that pretty much confirms them for appearing on the VC at some point in time. I loved Link's Awakening and wouldn't mind buying that from the eShop day one. I really hope they give it more support than they did the Wii's Virtual Console though.
And speaking of games, the 3DS launch games for US don't really impress me that much. I'd probably go with PilotWings Resort and maybe Ridge Racer 3D but the rest is just, I dunno... bleh to me. I don't like fighting games so Dead or Alive Dimensions and Street Fighter IV is out for me. Still, nice to know Kid Icarus, Ocarina of Time, StarFox 3D, Animal Crossing (for the missus) and Paper Mario will be coming out by June.
On a final note, the colour selection at launch is pretty weak but I guess that's on par with all Nintendo handheld releases. The best colours are always saved for later in the console's life. All regions will be getting the blue and black variants at launch but I had really hoped they would release the red one (like in the pic above) as well. Neither blue nor black really gels with me but I'm guessing I will go with blue.
Now to make the decision whether to preorder in the US or preorder here. Decisions, decisions...