So, I got a Nintendo 3DS roughly three weeks ago, ahead of the officially released one that's now in stores everywhere. Nintendo's handheld is in the wild, and while I've used mine a fair amount, I'm curious how those not in tech journalism feel about the product.
I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the 3D effect on the 3DS, but I wondered whether 3D would be a gimmick whose appeal faded quickly. Much like any shiny new gadget, there's a quick fascination period that tapers off pretty fast, especially if you're the type (as I happen to be) who plays with a lot of gadgets over the course of any given month.
Several weeks in, here are my observations.
I (almost) never use the stylus. The DS' chief appeal, along with dual screens, was its touch element. The 3DS still has a stylus and a lower touch screen, but the stylus is tucked away in the back behind the display, instead of easily accessible on the side. Maybe this was a wink of acknowledgement on Nintendo's part, because so far I've barely used touch. Why? Because I'm too busy staring at that big 3D screen, that's why.
The addition of a great analog pad also means I'm far more likely to use physical buttons. The 3DS is an immersive portable experience, and I'm far less interested in pulling back and tapping away with a stylus. I think most 3DS games will make little to no use of that touch capability, except in cases like Super Street Fighter IV, where virtual lower-screen buttons are simply pressed with a finger.
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