The weird thing about the 2DS

Sections: 3DS, Exclusives, Features, Opinions, Originals

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2dsRecently, Nintendo announced a new handheld. Well, it’s not a new handheld but a revision of the current one. The 3DS will have the 2DS to run alongside it. OK, it’s an interesting proposition. But there are a couple of weird things about it, some of which another writer had covered earlier while claiming that the 2DS is ridiculous. While many of her complaints about the awkward design are pretty accurate, there is another really big issue about Nintendo doing this.

The problem is the point of transition. The 3DS on its own is actually pretty good on its own, while the 2DS just feels like a transition point. Even with the design issues, the 2DS actually has a lot of potential. However, again, it feels like a transition point. But what exactly could it be transitioning to? The oddity I’m citing here is one of order. Namely, if they were going to be doing a revision like this, wouldn’t it have been wiser to start off with the 2DS and transition into the 3DS? Again, the 2DS is not a bad idea and it has potential, as a starting point instead of two years after the starting point.

Let’s face it. Technically, Sony did a similar thing with the PS3 where there were options for standard dimensions and while giving the option for 3D if you have the proper  screen and then they patched the firmware of the console to be able to support stereoscopic 3D on supported hardware. This is kind of a similar circumstance where something about the current generation system was revised. Sure, the biggest difference is the fact that with the PS3, the revision was one of firmware rather than the hardware itself. But still, it makes more sense to give further function than to take away function and it’s not exactly as though Nintendo didn’t have a history with adapting predecessors with new functionality. For example, the only differences between the Gameboy (Pocket) and the Gameboy Color was the use of color, which made the Gameboy Color a good companion handheld as well as a step forward.

The message that the revision actually sends by scaling back function is one that makes it seem like the 3D part was possible a failed experiment. Unfortunately, it really isn’t a failed experiment as the handheld has sold fairly well. However it only started to sell well once the price drops came in and more compelling, system-selling software. Revising by cutting back within a generation can be interpreted as abandonment of the original idea rather than evolution of an idea by someone who actually ends up reading into things closely.

Even if it’s not abandonment and the 2DS is just meant to support the 3DS while giving the consumer more wallet-friendly options, it’s still pretty damaging to both the 2DS and the 3DS. For one thing, the games directly designed with 3D and stereo sound in mind will end up featuring reduced hardware and gameplay performance making the 2DS a moot point. In terms of the reduced gameplay, think about it like this. If you see in 2D a movie that was originally filmed in 3D, sometimes it just looks awkward and generally kind of wrong by lacking the depth that the 3D gave. It’s the same kind of principle, which applied to games, I can see that becoming immensely irritating.

Now, the way that it could end up hurting the 3DS is easy. It could lead to some third party developers developing non-stereoscopic 3D-compatible, non-stereo sound games for the Nintendo current generation. That would really do nothing to  help give the 3DS more compelling content that actually uses the 3DS’s functions fully that could help Nintendo bolster their handheld audience numbers. I mean sure, Nintendo does have the first party library of properties to return to that could keep putting out good content that could drive sales. But there’s only so far that the Nintendo IPs can drive Nintendo’s own sales, but an oversaturation of the same type of product can only stand to hurt sales as well. It’s just feels like Nintendo’s taking a step backward, which is pretty sad.

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  • Bobsicle

    It’s not difficult to understand the order of operations here; if Nintendo had started with the 2DS they would have been laughed off and humiliated for releasing an inferior next gen handheld. The idea that they *could have* started with the 2DS shows just how little you understand about the gaming world. Also, the 3D makes _no difference_ with regards to the game quality. It is an additional effect meant to produce a sense of reality to further the immersion. I facepalmed at your statement about watching 3D movies in 2D. There’s no fucking difference, the idea that you could tell when a 2D move was filmed 3D is idiotic beyond belief.

  • Kal

    No movie filmed in 3d ever looked worse in 2d
    The exact opposite- they look brighter
    This hardware is exactly the same as the 3ds minus the 3d
    I stopped buying Nintendo about five years ago due to their ridiculous Eshop policies and games being tied to a system
    I may take the plunge for this as its at a fantastic price point and I feel the need to return to animal crossing

  • Kal

    Oh and 3d does not give a movie depth a good director and cinematographer do
    You never seen Lawrence of Arabia

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  • sarah-louise hunt

    I think the reason they came out with the 2ds a good while after the 3ds is because of the complaints about the 3d feature which can have a negative effect on young children. So they developed a console which does away with the 3d feature while allowing them to play the 3ds games and ensuring that parents don’t have to constantly monitor their children

  • Jonathan Gronli

    Actually, for the people who have said you can’t tell the difference between something shot in 3D and was downgraded to 2D or something that was shot in 2D and went through post-production 3D conversion, yeah you can. I didn’t say that the 3D that was downgraded to 2D looks bad, just that there’s something awkward about it and it looks wrong, especially for games that tend to shoot more for the gimmicky “pop out at you” 3D. For example, if you watch Saw VII or the Resident Evil movies shot in 3D, there’s a lot more of the gimmicky 3D than there is in, say, Avatar. The gimmicky “pop out at you” 3D looks oddly compressed when watching a 2D version of it. The stuff that was noticeably meant for 3D ends up not working in 2D. Post-production 3D conversions though, they have this slightly distorted look to them as well as a darker picture quality due to the way that post-production 3D conversions are done.

    And the 3D that tends to be darker than the 2D is when something is shot in 2D and goes through post-production 3D conversion (Clash of the Titans, Wrath of the Titans, and My Soul to Take, just to give some examples). And if it’s post-production 3D conversions that tried to fix their darkness issue, the picture starts to look washed out. If it’s actually shot in 3D the expsoure’s accounted for allowing for pictures as bright and vibrant as just the strictly 2D formats would be based on the film and genre needs (Avatar, Resident Evil Afterlife and Retribution, Shrek 4ever After, Silent Hill Revelation 3D, etc).