Meet the new boss, BETTER than the old boss
  • Nintendo
  • Meet the new boss, BETTER than the old boss

No doubt, the biggest news out of E3 2010 is the Nintendo 3DS.

Even if the handheld was simply the latest descendant of the GameBoy, it would have been a huge damn deal, but considering it also outputs 3D graphics without necessitating silly glasses or disgusting, monochrome, headache-inducing graphics, everyone I know in the biz is chomping at the bit to get their hands on one.

The most important facet of what we've seen from the 3DS as of yet is the simply stunning library being crafted by nearly every developer of note. Capcom is pitching in a Resident Evil and a Street Fighter, Rare is building a Donkey Kong Country sequel, Konami is bringing a Metal Gear Solid 3 spinoff to the portable and Nintendo is dusting off a remake of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

The company could slap a $500 price tag on this thing and it would still sell like hookers in an alternate reality Victorian England ruled by horny gibbons.

With so much news swirling around the handheld though, its tough for the average person to get a hold on exactly how awesome the 3DS seems to be. Thus, with a head full of goofballs and far too much free time this morning, I've constructed a rundown beyond the jump designed to collect all the information currently available so that you can have something to stare at while saving your pennies for the 3DS likely 2011 release.

The System:

- Battery life said to rival that of the latest model of Nintendo’s DSi.
- Initially planned for release in black, red and black and blue and black models.
- No glasses or special equipment are necessary to see "depth" on the 3DS.
- "Depth" can be adjusted via a slider, though it's unclear whether this actually increases the "3D" effect or simply makes it easier to see for certain gamers.
- Includes a round, rubberized analog stick as well as a directional pad.
- Sports two outward-facing cameras that "allow for 3D image capture" (no, I have no damn idea how this is supposed to work, and none of my industry pals saw it in action).
- Like the current DS, the 3DS’ bottom screen is touch-sensitive, and the system includes a stylus.
- Compared to current DS models, the 3DS includes upgraded graphics and processing technology, so 3DS games will be technically superior to all current DS games.
- As a result, current Nintendo DS systems will be unable to play games designed specifically for the 3DS' chipset.
- Includes online capabilities, which are presumably planned to be a simple extension of what Nintendo currently offers on the Wii and DS.
- Audio hardware in the 3DS should, at least, equal what is found in the DS (proof comes from Nintendo's promise to offer full motion video playback via the 3DS), though hardware specifications have not yet been revealed.
- Release date and pricing have yet to be officially announced.

The Games:

- 20 third-party developers have signed on to create games for the 3DS so far.
- 3DS is backwards compatible with earlier DS models.
- Nintendo plans to offer sequels to many of their classic series on the 3DS, including Animal Crossing, Star Fox, The Legend of Zelda, Kid Icarus, Nintendogs, Mario Kart, Pilotwings and Paper Mario.

Horses: Not just for sexually precocious pre-teen girls anymore!
  • Nintendo
  • Horses: Not just for sexually precocious pre-teen girls anymore!

- Activision is bringing DJ Hero to the system, though has not offered any word on whether it will ship with a special peripheral or if it will simply utilize the handheld’s capabilities in new and interesting ways.
- Atlus is planning multiple Shin Megami Tensei series titles, including a Persona game.
- Despite being a Microsoft subsidiary, Rare is working on Donkey Kong Country Returns, a sequel to the company's famed Super Nintendo platforming series.
- Capcom has multiple titles in development, though so far have only revealed a special port of Super Street Fighter IV and a new Resident Evil sequel dubbed Resident Evil: Revelations.
- EA plans to bring its sports titles to the system, as well as a port of The Sims 3.
- Konami is porting a special edition of Metal Gear Solid 3 (dubbed Metal Gear Solid Snake Eater 3D The Naked Sample) as well as a new Contra game.
- Sega’s plans include a Sonic The Hedgehog game as well as a Super Monkey Ball sequel.
- Square Enix has Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest and Kingdom Hearts games in the pipe.
- Tecmo’s offerings include nearly all of its biggest franchises. Ninja Gaiden, Dynasty Warriors and Dead or Alive are all planned.
- What would a handheld be without licensed, shoddy bullshit titles aimed at dumb kids and their even dumber relatives? THQ, Tomy and Majesco all have raftloads of such content planned for the 3DS.
- Warner Bros. has Batman and Lego games planned, though no word if the announcement refers to a “Lego Batman” game, or a spinoff to the excellent Rocksteady Games-developer Batman: Arkham Asylum.

The Questionable Bits:

- Nintendo has tried 3D before, and regardless of how impressive their spiel is so far, it’s damn hard to escape the specter of failure that emanated from the corpse of the Virtual Boy.
- Likewise, it’s hard to forget that no one has ever released a 3D home system (handheld or not) that was worth a damn (or, for that matter, sold for a damn).
- Gamers accustomed to the expansive online options offered by Sony and Microsoft are quickly growing tired of Nintendo’s bullshit hand-holding method. No one likes Friend Codes, and the “we have to have them to protect the kids!” excuse is growing old fast. Hopefully the company can, at the very least, lift some ideas from their competitors for the 3DS’ online functionality.
- With stereoscopic cameras built in, it seems likely Nintendo has some sort of plan to infuse the 3DS with functionality above and beyond simple gaming. That’s not a terrible idea given the tech, but any development time devoted to capturing 3D pictures or adding video playback is time taken away from making the 3DS a great portable gaming console.
- Early reports seem promising, but only extended public play time will reveal whether or not the 3DS' graphics technology causes headaches or offers bizarre hurdles for the average person.

With that all in mind, what do you think of Nintendo's next cash cow?

With my jaded cynicism, it takes a lot to get me excited anymore — especially when I know that this handheld is going to lead to years of literary masturbation from certain Nintendo fanboy games journalists — but there is just too much potential coolness here for me to be anything but psyched. A handheld recreation of Metal Gear Solid 3 alone (that looks this damn good to boot) would be enough to leave me sweating and clutching my man bits, but the idea that Nintendo might have actually done three dimensions right (and in a handheld, no less) is damn rad.

As an aside, I'm also wondering what this means for Sony. The PSP is the only real competition Nintendo has in the handheld space, and with no PSP 2 at E3, it seems likely that Sony is holding back a sizable technological leap specifically so it can avoid screwing any nearby pooches once they're ready to announce whatever they may have planned.

(Info courtesy Nintendo, Kotaku, Aaron Linde, and Leigh Alexander.)