Let’s get this out of the way.
OH MY GOD THERE WILL BE A SEQUEL TO LUIGI’S MANSION FOR THE NINTENDO 3DS AND I WILL TOTALLY BE THERE DAY ONE!
Sorry about that. It was amazing how divided the original Luigi’s Mansion, launched with the Nintendo Gamecube in 2001, is among people. I didn’t even play it until well into a year of the Gamecube’s US launch. It was a fun concept, if a little restrictive, but I’d have to dig out my copy.
I didn’t download it until yesterday morning, but on Monday evening, June 6, Nintendo released their 2.0.0 system update for their 3DS handheld, which now makes your 3DS a little more useful. It features the long-awaited Nintendo eShop, featuring the Virtual Console and a section called DSi Ware Favorites, featuring presumably some of the games originally on sale for the DSi, like Cave Story and Plants vs. Zombies, now available for the 3DS. In fact, DSi owners can now transfer most their purchases over to the 3DS. In the Virtual Console shop, Super Mario Land, Radar Mission, and Alleyway are available for purchase. As of yesterday evening, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX, the Game Boy Color update of the original Game Boy title, is also available for download. I’m excited to play that since I have actually never gotten to play it. Strangely but not surprisingly, Nintendo has decided to sell separate 3DS cash cards to redeem, which is a separate currency from the Wii/DSi Points system, parallel to the Microsoft Points vs. PlayStation Network Wallet Funds.
Nintendo has offered a free bonus in its first of what I can assume a number of games in their “3D Classics” brand: Excitebike. The 1984 NES game is retouched to utilize the 3D screen, although with the adjustable slider it can still be played in 2D. There is not much to be said about the 3D in the game. It’s the same Excitebike I remember, and I’m still terrible at it. The highlight remains the ability to design courses and that catchy 8-bit theme. Downloading popular NES games to my 3DS is already a convenient notion, hopefully Nintendo puts the 3D to good use.
The system update adds a web browser to the 3DS Home screen, which works about as well as you would expect any mobile browser to. I believe entering URLs, along with the typical history saving and bookmarking, will save certain phrases to the 3DS’s dictionary to suppress the need to type out the same words every single time. One tap of the stylus, and it’s there.
At their E3 presentation, Nintendo informed the press they did not forget about the 3DS. The launch of the device has been less than stellar. It featured no true breakout titles (although the acclaimed port of Super Street Fighter IV and Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars are apparent exceptions) and this system update is available nearly three months after its launch in the United States. The more anticipated titles, such as The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, aren’t due until later in the year. Ocarina of Time is seeing a release next week. Even I had considered giving up my 3DS until seeing the trailers for Super Mario and Luigi’s Mansion 2. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater 3D is due towards the end of year, but is now rather overshadowed by its high-definition update for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, which will utilize the PSP and possibly PS Vita hardware with Konami’s own “transfarring” (that, I assure you, is no typo) system.
As others have argued, the Nintendo DS had a slow start. The games were eventually there, and the handheld crushed the competition. The competition is more fierce now, in the wake of mobile markets, smartphones, and the evolution of smartphone games.