I'm sorry to those that didn't and wanted one, but I was one of the lucky few to receive a Nintendo Ambassador promotional offer for an exclusive edition of the new Nintendo 3DS console. On the morning I received the email I shrugged it off, tweeting about no one having £180 spare just after christmas. By lunch time I'd ordered it, and by the following day it'd been dispatched. (I have no Nintendo self control). After some problems with the courier, I finally got to play with my new 3DS today and thought I'd share some of my first thoughts in a blog post, so as to stop gushing over the device in my twitter feed.
The pack was £179 and comes with a limited edition boxed console, with a white charging cradle (but no AC adaptor) and 2 limited edition face plates, one an ambassador design and another a Smash Bros design. It also comes with a 4GB micro SD (easily upgradable by removing the lower face plate). Upon opening it it just felt very special - it was extremely well packaged and even the box felt of high quality.
Transferring content over was a breeze and it now gives the option to send all content on the SD card via local transfer too (though depending on how much you play downloadable titles this will likely take a while. Best to keep swapping the charger over).
In addition, whilst some folk are wanting to hold off for an XL version, I personally love the smaller size! The screens are bigger than the original 3DS screens and don't feel an awful lot smaller to me than my old XL. The machine is also much lighter, and I just think it makes sense to have a portable console that is actually portable.
The unit itself feels much sturdier than my Zelda XL by comparison. The screen locks firmly in place when open and the buttons feel chunky, despite the smaller size and lightness. It looks good too, the SNES style buttons an ace inclusion for Nintendo nostalgia fans like myself. The face plates are easier to change than I suspected too, despite needing a small screwdriver to do so. And thank the video game god that they've seen fit to move some of the ports/buttons. The start and select buttons are now 2 small circles on the front of the machine, with a stylish circular home button replacing the old rectangular affair. The headphone jack has been moved (finally) to the middle of the console so the jack no longer gets in the way when you're playing with headphones. The volume control has also been moved to the top screen, the opposite side to the 3D slider, so it no longer gets knocked during play. The pointless wifi switch has been removed completely and the power button is now a small circle on the underside of the machine, sitting near to the newly located game card slot. All of these tweaks make for a much more pleasurable on-the-go gaming experience
Moreover, the quality of the screen is ace. It may possibly look like that to me because of the smaller size, but the 3D has also been reworked, making it less picky about where your head is. The effect is more eye popping more of the time. I found this to look especially effective in the Denpa Men 2 - battles look brilliant and so vibrant. I also approve of the auto-brightness addition.
I've been playing Pokemon Y on it mainly today, which looks excellent on the device, but I still noticed some lag with the 3D switched on during battles with extra visual effects like floating leaves etc. I thought the increased performance of the new device would sort this but maybe it's just a quirk of the software. I look forward to playing some of the titles that will only work on this revised version of the 3DS hardware (role on Xenoblade!) to see what it can really do.
The menu is much quicker, as is accessing network features - I haven't downloaded any eShop titles on the new device yet (there's nothing I fancy currently) but I'll edit when I have - I imagine they'll be an improvement on download time too.
In all then, I'm impressed and feel it's money well spent for a collectible limited run console (well, the face plate is...) slightly ahead of schedule. I'll no doubt be persuaded to buy a new XL as well when the inevitable run of ltd consoles start coming through, but that's for another day and another credit card.