The 2DS – It’s Not For You

After Tuesday’s brief look at Sony’s new Playstation Vita TV, I thought it only appropriate to look at Nintendo’s latest piece of handheld hardware, one which has been garnering no shortage of complaints. It was a bit of a surprise announcement that Nintendo offered the world. For their third SKU of the 3DS brand, they will be offering a cheaper handheld system that lacks the 3D slider, thus the 2DS. Since its reveal, the internet has been awash with hate. The design has been attacked for looking cheap and uncomfortable. The lack of 3D has been attacked as being confusing and debilitating. But all of these concerns ignore what Nintendo said when they revealed the system: it isn’t for gamers. That’s a simple, yet often overlooked explanation for the entire plan. The 2DS was meant for children under seven, and nobody else. Today, I’ll tell you why the outrage is completely unfounded, but, if you want to skip the entire thing, here is the cliff notes: it isn’t for you.

Repeat after me: this product is not for me, and that’s okay.

The 3DS is Nintendo’s little handheld that could. Despite the hype it generated at E3, it launched to nothing but complaints from gamers who thought the system lacked decent titles, and, bafflingly, a second analogue stick. For its first year, the 3DS suffered to get a foothold, and professional gaming sites were quick to release any damning article on the machine. However, upon the release of Super Mario 3D Land, and Mario Kart 7, everything turned around. Sales picked up, and the 3DS very quickly became a juggernaut, garnering some truly classic games, and being well on its way to beating the Nintendo DS for lifetime sales. Even the 3DSXL, the first redesign, which still, bafflingly, didn’t include a second analogue stick as standard was a massive success. At this point, Nintendo has pretty much a license to print money with their handheld, and the 2DS isn’t going to be an exception.

Come on, Nintendo. There’s a spot for a second stick right there!

The 2DS is meant for children – entry level gamers. The reason given for the lack of 3D is because Nintendo has to give warnings for every 3DS that the 3D effect may be harmful to the eyes of children under seven. This basically means that Nintendo, whose games are traditionally kid friendly, is cut out completely from the child market. This is really an unacceptable situation to be in, and an obvious solution immediately presents itself. Nintendo got rid of the 2D effect, and designed the system as if they were making it for children. That’s why the machine is ugly and boxy. Have you ever seen anything from Fischer Price? It all looks like that. Basically, the machine is built for the clumsy inaccurate hands of a child. The rounded edges take hits easier, and the lack of hinges means that there is one less part to break. It isn’t perfect. I haven’t heard anything of better screen protection for instance, but the design clearly has a target audience.

This is your multi-ethnic audience right here.

But won’t it be confusing, you ask? Gamers were quick to point out that clueless parents will be looking through stores for 2DS games, and have problems consoling the fact that the 2DS can play DS games and 3DS games, but there are no 2DS games. It’s a hilarious situation to be sure, but one that is quite unrealistic. I’m not saying it won’t or can’t happen, but it isn’t hard to grasp the concept that a machine “can play all the games in the following sections.” Dumb parents not understanding technology is something that the internet loves to make fun of, but most people have enough sense to understand such a basic concept. Is the marketing clear? No, not at all. Will people be able to deal with it? Yes.

“I thought this was supposed to play Nintendo games, but where do I put the cartridge?”

The other major complaint is the lack of 3D. While many gamers play almost exclusively without moving the 3D slider up even a little bit, there is a dedicated group that is adamant that no 3D means that some games, particularly Super Mario 3D Land will be completely unplayable for 2DS users. This is a completely ridiculous claim. Super Mario 3D Land is the only game I’ve seen that uses the 3D in such a way that you need the 3D slider turned up to win. However, these are only for a handful of bonus stages inside levels, which are by no means necessary in order to beat the game. Every other game on the system doesn’t require 3D in order to pass anything. In fact, many gamers care so little for the 3D that I doubt total removal of the feature would bother too many.

Not only can children play this game on the 2DS, but I also thoroughly recommend it.

Finally, Nintendo may be idiots when it comes to marketing and strategizing around their console, but they know handhelds really well. They were the ones who secured Monster Hunter on the day the Vita launched after all. In a similar display of cunning, they are launching the 2DS with Pokemon X and Y. If you’ve been living under a rock, Pokemon is a massive worldwide phenomenon which simply won’t stop, and every game is enough to sell millions of systems. It is also incredibly kid friendly, and Nintendo will be packing a cheaper, kid friendly machine with these games. It’s a brilliant idea, which should result in a ton of sales right of the bat.

He’s not throwing a pokeball. No, he’s pointing at victory.

The fact of the matter is I don’t want a 2DS, nor should I. It isn’t for me. It isn’t for gamers, and it isn’t supposed to be some new redesign that will replace all of the others. What it is is a system that can be sold to a much younger clientele, and at that job, it succeeds. It doesn’t even need to sell exceptionally, as it’s just one more part of the 3DS’ global dominance of the handheld market. As such, I see no reason for flaming wars, or massive protests across the internet. That would be like complaining over the large, toddler-sized Lego blocks because they weren’t as awesome as the spaceships or castles. Gamers aren’t the target audience here, and, as much as that hurts, that’s not a bad thing.

– Mistranslations for the Modern Gamer

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