Well, its finally here, and I’ve got mine. I picked up my Aqua Blue Nintendo 3DS this morning from Gamestop and then drove on over to Toys R Us to buy Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition and Ridge Racer 3D. I was able to knock $50 off the price of the system by trading in my DS Lite at Gamestop, and Toys R Us was running a “buy one get one 50% off” deal so I picked up Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition and Ridge Racer 3D. Thus, the blow to my wallet was softened a bit. I also stopped at Best Buy to check out memory card prices, and they had units available as of 1030 AM, so perhaps we won’t see any of the shortages that plagued the Wii…yet.
The first thing I noticed about the Nintendo 3DS was that the box seemed to have a little bit of weight to it. I was a little worried; one of the big things that I appreciated about the DS Lite and DSi were their extreme portability. When you are done, you fold it up, stick it in your pocket and be on your merry way. I hoped the 3DS wouldn’t be pulling off my shorts as it cruised along in my pocket.
Upon opening the box, I soon realized why it was so heavy. For some time now, Nintendo has included English, Spanish, and French instructions in their games. This probably saves them on manufacturing costs, because they can sell the same box in the USA, Mexico or Canada. That’s great for them, but it means that their games arrive with manuals that are three times as thick. The trend has continued with the 3DS, there are three copies of a “StreetPass Mii Plaza” pamphlet, three copies of the “Quick Start Guide” and to top it off, a ‘Operations Manual” that’s 328-pages thick. I guess the Big N won’t be getting any awards from Greenpeace anytime soon. Not that they have before or anything. The box also contained a registration card, a Nintendo Power subscription offer and a pack of “AR Cards.”
Now it was time for the good stuff. Inside the box was the 3DS itself, an AC charger, and a charge cradle. The system has a glossy finish, similar to the DS Lite, but with a more metallic look to it. All of the exterior casing has the aqua blue color. Upon opening it up, I saw the bottom section was also aqua blue, but the top screen had a black background. To the left of the touchscreen on the bottom were the Circle Pad and a standard cross-pad, and to the right were the standard A-B-X-Y buttons and a power button.
I found the charge cradle curious at first, because it had a plug for the AC charger, but there was nothing to plug into the 3DS or any connectors that I could discern, just a switch that would be depressed when the system was placed onto it. I pressed the switch and nearby two connectors peeked out. I looked at the back of the 3DS and saw two contact points next to the charger connection where the connectors would meet. Clever. I noticed that the 3DS charger looked very similar to my DSi charger and it turns out that they are exactly the same. Same color, model number, voltages and everything.
The 3DS is about the same size as a DSi, is just a bit thicker, and feels just a tad lighter, too:
Having heard about he 3DS’ less than stellar battery life, I figured I’d let it soak up a full charge before getting my 3D game on. I left the 3DS on its charger before leaving to attend to some geeky business.
Upon returning from the geek gathering, I was pleased to find the 3DS’ charge light was off, it was time to fire it up and
play some games set up my wireless connection. As much as I wanted to get my 3D racing and fighing on, I figured I’d go through the motions and set it up to connect to my wireless router. The first thing I noticed upon turning on the 3DS was that it took a few seconds to start up. I don’t know if this was a one-time thing or not but it took long enough to be noticeably different from the nearly ‘instant-on’ behavior I was accustomed to on the DSi. UPDATE: It takes a few seconds every time.
I then went through the setup, it was fairly straightforward though I found it interesting that I had to select a ‘region’ (in this case, Texas) in addition to the country. Another addition was a little helper character that appeared in the bottom center of the screen, consisting of two rectangles stacked atop each other, with the one of top being bigger and having a smiley face on it. Tapping the character made some help text appear on the screen which seemed like a nice touch. Nintendo seems be focusing more on the online aspect this time around, hopefully it proves to be less of a pain in the neck than the Wii’s online.
I spent a bit of time fiddling around with the 3DS’ built in apps, which include Nintendo 3DS Camera, Nintendo 3DS Sound, Mii Maker, Mii Plaza, AR Games, and Face Raiders. I’ll have more on the system as a whole in a few days, but so far its looking pretty cool!