3DS unplayable, phone shopping…

The 3DS experience

It’s been 2 weeks since I first had chance to try out the 3DS. I would be more than happy with the opportunity to work on the devices, but I’m now certain I won’t be rushing to make the personal investment in the near future. There’s nothing wrong with the launch line-up, except maybe the pricing – it could be more exciting, but it’s ok. The visuals took a little getting used to, with the ‘sweet spot’ being difficult to find again if you dared move your head, or looked at the lower screen or Nintendo rep; but I could handle this. My issue is with the overall design.

I’m a lefty, and I already feel recently alienated by Nintendo changing Zelda Twilight Princess to accommodate only for right-handed people. I played and enjoyed the game, but it still felt awkward – Skyward Sword may be my first Zelda rental unless they put the effort in to add a left-handed mode… A real shame and a (miniscule) loss for Nintendo, as new Zelda games used to be system-sellers for me.
On this occasion it’s not Zelda that’s put me off the 3DS – the Ocarina of Time demo worked perfectly fine, felt playable, and looked great – Kid Icarus however requires the player to hold the system with their left hand, using their left thumb for movement, and their right hand to look around using the stylus. I simply cannot comfortably use a stylus in my right hand.
A quick search to see if anyone else had encountered this issue resulted in finding numerous forums where most people had the less-than-constructive feedback “learn to play it right-handed”, and pointing out how this is the minority. Often in life, people are usually unable to see a problem unless they encounter it themselves, and don’t understand it or agree it should be avoided even if it’s explained to them, and a solution would be easy.

Minority or not, supposedly 10% of people is still a lot of people – and out of my friends, I’d say it’s more like 25% in my area… Sort it out Nintendo. Cater for everyone by adding an option. It’s perhaps a bit late for the 3DS hardware, but so far there’s only one game that doesn’t work for me, and adding a few controls options in the software will fix everything, even if it means people like me will not be able to move their characters with the precision of an analogue pad.

Other 3DS observations

I suspect that switching between the 3D screen and the 2D screen below for extended periods of time is going to cause problems with straining your eyes. Time will tell, I suppose.
There is of course the slider to lose the 3D mode, but this makes the only gimmick of the device somewhat defunct before it’s had chance to shine. Finally, I don’t think the Augmented Reality feature of the 3DS will ever work in the fashion they’ve been demonstrating, if your head has to perfectly follow the 3DS around. It can only really work if you keep the device still.

Phones

Moving on, I’m fed up with my BlackBerry randomly turning itself off, and my N95 lagging with its poorly written updated firmware. For my next phone, as soon as I have some positive news regarding employment and a steady income, I’ll be making my choice between Windows Phone 7 and Android…

Dell, it’s time to invest in your online shop – “your system is ready to be built” doesn’t fill me with confidence!

The Windows 7 Series OS still has a way to go, with the promised updates still nowhere to be seen. But from what I’ve seen it’s a solid OS, everything looks lightning fast (as it should with a 1GHz processor) and easy to use. Being backed by Xbox Live there are already some high quality games, and a lot of potential for console studios to port things over. I still want a keyboard to maximise productivity, and the AMOLED screens look stunning so I want one of those; leaving me with the choice of the Dell Venue Pro, or… oh, just the Dell Venue Pro, which is finally going to be available in the UK sometime next week. The device’s minimal RAM and inherent and apparently unfixed issues make me a little suspicious of buying a Dell, and I’m tempted to see what Nokia have lined up before I spend over £400 outright or enter a 2 year phone contract, if the device isn’t destined to live that long…

An Android is also tempting, with similar spec devices available. Its nature as an open platform means it has tons more potential for exciting homebrew projects and additional functionality, and it generally has a lot more developer support, but from what I’ve seen the OS is a little ‘clunky’ and there’s room for improvement. The deciding point may be the support from Sony in the form of PlayStation Suite, but we’ve yet to see how that might pan out, and I’m concerned that once a few publishers are past the licensing headache stage, whoever’s in charge of pricing might ask too much from consumers for unaltered old PS1 games they’ve already long beaten.

Gaming

For the past week, I’ve put down the 360 and PS3 controllers, sent back my rentals, removed the Wii batteries and unplugged my Xbox controller for Windows – and I’ve been playing Theme Hospital on the PlayStation 1. Don’t ask me why, but I decided to go back and see what it was that got me hooked. I probably clocked more hours on the PC version back in the day, but I wanted to properly see how the PS1 version played out, to get a feel for how this genre might work if I attempted my own project of this nature on the consoles, and I seem to be hooked. I’ve got one more level to go, and then I’ll try to see if I can identify what it is that made it so damn addictive… If this is my last blog entry, I sadly caught bloaty head disease and had to give it up.

~ by Richard on 4 March, 2011.

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