By Robert Ward . September 2, 2013 . 8:30am
I met up with Nintendo’s own Krysta Yang at PAX this year, to talk about what Nintendo was bringing to the table in 2013. We spent some time talking about the nostalgic but fresh feel of The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, but when she asked me if I had a chance to try out Nintendo’s new 2DS handheld, we quickly switched gears and left to hunt down what might be this year’s biggest surprise.
I was one of many people who didn’t believe that the 2DS announcement was real. I was convinced it was an elaborate prank—after all, how are you going to explain to an average consumer that the 2DS plays 3DS games? Well, the fog started to clear after some consideration. Only about half of the people at PAX Prime were using the 3DS’s 3D effect. Portability, I thought, was another issue—but with so many people carrying tablets around nowadays, would the 2DS really be a burden?
Let me tell you, it’s easy to look at a 2DS and think these things, but it becomes difficult to justify them when you hold one in your hand. Despite its cake-slice-like appearance, the 2DS just feels right. The shoulder buttons are the perfect distance away (and soft, at that!), the Circle Pd and directional pad feel natural, and the screens feel properly placed. Oh, and even with a heavy metal device securing it to a Nintendo employee—the new handheld was light.
Some of the functions associated with 3DS hardware were integrated into the 2DS’s software. For example, sleep mode is now activated by pushing a switch on the lower-right corner of the 2DS forward. While it is in sleep mode, the handheld can’t be turned off by pressing the power button. Neat! Also, the wireless switch is gone on this model, but it can instead by accessed by going to the home menu and tapping the wrench icon in the top-left corner of the screen. Convenient!
I may not be a part of the market that wants a Nintendo 2DS, but handling it and talking to people who played it revealed to me that a market nevertheless exists for it.
At $129.99, and only a few games right now whose experience is legitimately augmented by the stereoscopic 3D effect (Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon and Super Mario 3D Land, among others) the 2DS seems like an awesome deal for someone who just downright doesn’t want or need 3D. It’s a sturdy console—one that I think will likely stay at home, but it’s nothing to scoff at.