So… Nintendo kind of kicked the door down on Wednesday, huh? Between surprise announcements of a Wii U price drop, tons of release date information, and the Wind Waker HD bundle, my hype meters for the end of this year went off the charts. And then a strange, particularly unpredictable announcement. Nintendo is releasing an “entry-level gaming system”. They’ve taken the 3DS, fused the hinges, removed the 3D, and bam. The 2DS.
Over my perusal of the various social networking sites I follow, I’ve noticed a lot of negativity surrounding this announcement, however, I feel that people don’t necessarily understand why Nintendo is taking such a strange direction with this system. They see the 3DS without the 3D, without the folding screens, with moved around buttons. and write it off as the worst thing ever produced. It looks like a small slice taken out of a circular cake. It’s ugly, for sure. But should you care about it? Well… that depends.
Question time: What age were you when you began gaming? Personally, I started playing video games when I was around 4, with my first system being the N64 (I know, I know, but I was born in 1994). As I’ve grown older, it seems that technology gets fragiler and fragiler. Cell phones used to be able to take hits, but they’re definitely a little more sensitive to the ground now. The same goes for gaming systems. When I pick up or put down my 3DS/3DS XL, I’m very cautious. I place it down relatively gently so as not to scratch the outside, or put pressure on the screens. When I open or close the shell, I do so carefully to avoid screen scratching, and I’m sure you take precautions yourself.
One of my biggest concerns, coming from a large family, is that my small cousins, or little sister’s friends, or my niece will get a hold of my $200 device and smash it into the ground, or use a sharp object as a stylus, or get it sticky. I paid with the system with my own money, and I’m not about to let it get destroyed by a tiny child. Once again, if you’re in this situation, I’m sure you feel the same way. And that’s where this system comes in.
The system is ugly. It is ugly. I look at it and my eyes can’t handle it. It looks bulky, the screens lay flat, the buttons are moved up, the back is slanted… It’s not sexy. But stop one moment and look at it as a children’s toy. I’ll wait.
It looks like a children’s toy is supposed to. I don’t know how to describe it any better than that. It looks like it was made by Fisher Price. It’s good for little kids. Now, I don’t know how conscious children are about ergonomics, but I feel like they don’t care about how the thing feels or what it looks like. They’re just going to be happy that they can play games on their own system. It’s noticeably shorter than the 3DS is when it’s flipped open. It’s going to fit in children’s hands. Your (what I’m assuming are) adult hands weren’t considered in this particular design. It’s an “entry-level” system, meaning it’s been made specifically to bring a younger audience into their product ring, to let the children “enter” into Nintendo. Xbox has reigned in the 12-year olds, why not aim younger and snatch em’ up before that?
Your motor skills are developed (once again, I’m assuming you’re at least older than 6) to a point that you can handle delicate objects with ease. Your fingers are masters at moving. Do you recall how your fingers moved when you were 5? Fingers are short, stubby, and slow when you’re small, making things seemingly jump from your hands. As far as I can tell, they designed the 2DS to hit the ground. While the original 3DS and 3DS XL can land pretty hard on the ground, the fear of something going wrong inside of the console as it comes into contact with the earth is horrifying. I can’t handle watching the system plummet through the air, hurtling towards its new home. It scares me, but I’m confident that I can not drop it. Would you let a child run around with your 3DS, waving it in the air? Of course not, it’s yours how dare they? But the 2DS looks droppable, with little to no need to go running to check for problems after it collides with the planet.