Get your teal convertible ready, because it's time to pull a Thelma and Louise and drive that car over the canyon cliff.
It Does 3D Without Glasses
The Nintendo 3DS is the first real mainstream consumer product to try its hand at delivering a 3D gaming experience without the need to wear any cumbersome 3D glasses. (After all, Nintendo's first real crack at 3D, the Virtual Boy, was nothin' but the glasses!) It's never been done before. Like how the Wii ushered motion controls into this generation, the 3DS is bringing this exciting new technology to the budget-conscious buyer, not just the one who can afford an expensive 3D TV and requisite 3D glasses.
Nintendo isn't in the business of simply beefing up the graphics, doubling the processing power and then calling it a day. No, it's all about bringing new experiences to everyone who has the guts to try it out. It's worked beautifully with the DS's touchscreen and Wii's motion controls, so why not now with 3D?
Steady Flow of Big Name Games During Launch Window
When does a video game system start to stagger? When there isn't a constant flow of blockbuster games released. Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata made it very clear in a recent interview that the Nintendo 3DS will attempt to "supply software without pause."
With over 30 games launching around the release of the 3DS from the end of March to June, and big name franchises and games such as Super Street Fighter, Resident Evil, Mario Kart and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, it's hard to not be impressed. You definitely won't have a shortage of games to play, you'll just have a shortage of time.
One Friend Code to Rule Them All
This one is a no-brainer. One of the biggest drawbacks of Nintendo's online gaming strategy across the Wii and DS platforms is the Friend Code — a 12-digit string of numbers. If you want to play a game online with someone else, you have to type the entire number in. With each game having its own Friend Code, you can see why gamers have been griping about it. In typical fashion, Nintendo did this in order to protect younglings from meeting strangers online.
Currently, there is no universal buddy list like there is on Microsoft's Xbox Live and Sony's PlayStation Network. With the 3DS, Nintendo is promising ONE universal Friend Code, per system. Register your name once and that's it. The company is finally starting to get with the program, even if it's something the original Xbox started about eight years ago.
Game Boy and Game Boy Color Games on Virtual Console
If there was a Nintendo handheld time capsule buried in the ground, the Game Boy and Game Boy Color would be in there pretty deep. Long before the DS and its fancy touchscreen, bright displays and stereo speakers were the GB and GBC. With over 118 million systems sold (combined), the GB/C was Nintendo's greatest performer during its comparatively lackluster N64 and GameCube days.
If you've ever longed for the old days of popping a cartridge into that old gray Game Boy to play games such as Metroid II and the original Pokémon Red/Blue, you'll know that the games hold against time very well. Even with their MIDI sound blips and 8-bit graphics, you can tell the games were made with a lot of love. That's why it's great news that Nintendo is going to bring back classic GB/C games through the Virtual Console. The 3DS doubles as a GB/C that doesn't suck up AA batteries by the boxload — shorter battery life notwithstanding.
Packed with Sensors Galore
Not to be left in the dust by Apple's iOS devices, the 3DS has an accelerometer, gyroscope and a pedometer built in. The only thing it's missing is a barometer. Combined, these sensors will give developers the freedom to program motion-controls into their games, just like on the iPhone. We've already all been conditioned into liking motion controls, why not have one more system that can do it, right?
I have a hunch that Nintendo is planning a health game along the lines of "Wii Fit 3D" or why else would it include a pedometer to keep track of your steps? Do we really need another Pokémon game that uses a Pokéwalker? A pedometer is just icing on the cake for exercise buffs.