3ds xl

GKick vs Nintendo 3DS XL

Oh I do spoil you lovely, lovely readers.

Welcome to my meeting with the brand-new Nintendo 3DS XL. Since I am a UK resident, the console was released here a few weeks earlier than the US so I am coming to you from the future! 😉

On first opening of the box, you’ll notice the lack of a charger. This has already been well-documented by various news outlets but it seems that several retailers (including GameStop in the US) are packaging the new console together with the charger. Also, if you’re upgrading but not trading in, you can use the old 3DS charger for the new XL. The same charger from the DSi XL also works with the new console.

It comes in quite a small box, very little packaging in the box too which is always nice to see. Save the planet, and all that. Of course, the usual bits of paperwork are in there with the console. Depending on what colour you got, my review may be slightly biased. I bought the red version (it’s my favourite colour) and one of the very first things I noticed after removing it from the box was the instant greasy fingerprints you leave all over the console. It harked back to the days of my GameBoy Advance SP which also was a PITA for leaving fingerprints. And so again, I am forever cleaning it to remove them. With the old-style 3DS, you never really had that with it being so shiny. I mean in the sense that they weren’t so obvious to spot.

Opening the console for the first time, the hinge is definetely as strong on this one if not a little stronger. First impressions about the 3DS XL other than the fingerprint remark? Even with my tiny little girl hands, I found the console very easy to grip and I felt like my long fingers were no longer fighting for gaming space to try and press the buttons. I personally, always found both the screen and the layout of the 3DS a little small for me. I still believe that there’s too many buttons on it for a console that size. This is where the 3DS XL triumphs. The bigger console means that the buttons are more spread out, and if you struggle with eyesight issues and before you were always squinting at the screen- you no longer will have to with the 90% bigger screen.

And it’s really not a sales gimmick. The screen really is so much bigger than the original 3DS. And also the clarity and sharpness are improved too. Staring at the screen for a long period of time means that the 3D effect (should you have it turned on) is also not as harsh on your eyes either. Not that I’m recommending that you glue yourself to a console for a little longer each day, haha. As I mentioned before too, the 3D slider now has an audible click so you know when the effect is turned off or on. As always, Nintendo recommends that the 3D effect is not turned on for children below the age of 7- no matter how much they want to play Mario Kart in 3D.

The sound seems to be improved somewhat also. I always believed that it sounded a little tinny and cheap on the 3DS. With the inclusion of a newly-designed speaker system- the sound on the console now seems to be just as good with headphones or without. Of course, if you’re playing Nintendogs- do you really want everyone around knowing that you’re a grown adult playing on a cute puppy game?

The battery has also been beefed up on the new console. With the old 3DS, a couple of hours gaming with the 3D and the wireless turned on and you would find that your battery would drain faster than water going down the drain. With the new XL, Nintendo have been kind enough to put a smarter battery into their new console. I’m still on the first full charge of the battery, playing about an hour each day. And it’s literally only just had the red light flicker on to tell me to plug in the charger. I’m very impressed, as I’ve had the console for just under a week and only now is it asking for some more juice. This is what we always wanted to see on handheld consoles- it was very much a bugbear with the last edition. And as always, Nintendo listened and delivered.

Supposedly, the new console is meant to be heavier than the 3DS but with it being larger and more ergonomic- it felt like the weight was better spaced out over the whole console where I always felt all the weight was at one end on the old version. I personally like the extra heft as I feel like I’m holding something worth the money I paid out for it. If technology has proven anything to us, it’s that the general public don’t really like light things. The heavier the weight, the more you feel like you bought something that was worth the hundreds you paid for it. I don’t think the extra weight is distracting, but better balanced that the 3DS.

Even with the new additions to the console like the bigger screen- is it worth the upgrade? I traded in my 3DS for my 3DS XL and I believe that it was very much worth it for me. Having suffered from many years of staring at tiny little screens on the Nintendo handheld- right from the early days of the GameBoy with the black and green dot matrix screen. It’s a real treat to be able to play games like Super Mario Land 3D on the bigger screen and Final Fantasy Theatrhythm is a joy. I really love it. But, saying this other people have held the machine and have said that even though the console is bigger- it’s also lighter and thinner so it makes it harder for people with larger hands than me to grip it properly. And of course, you don’t wish to be dropping anything that expensive. Even if Nintendo are insisting that they’ve made this console a little more durable. So- I shall leave it with you fair readers. If it’s not available in your country yet- go to your nearest gaming store and see if they have a demo model available to play and make up your own minds. I fell in love with it from the first time I played it- but it might take you a little longer to warm up to it.

Good luck and happy gaming! :)

XL Sales Better Than 3DS

In the first opening week of the new Nintendo 3DS XL, it has sold 10,000 units just in the UK alone. There’s still about another week until the console is released in the US and hopefully Nintendo can continue the celebrations. It’s nothing compared to the Japanese figures, which sold in the hundreds of thousands. Also, it’s worth mentioning that the ten thousand strong sold in the UK was over the course of a week. The hundreds of thousands sold in Japan occurred over two days- which makes my head spin a little.  This is because the console was released in Japan on the same week as New Super Mario Bros. 2- which is not released for another two weeks here in the UK. The combination of Mario with a new Nintendo console is always a winner on the sales charts.

In the UK though, the launch of the Nintendo 3DS XL has helped to boost the sales of such Mario games as Super Mario Land 3D and Mario Kart 7. The latter also has a promotion on at the moment to find ‘Britain’s Fastest Family’ in their Mario Kart 7 competition to win the infamous shiny gold Leaf Trophy. Companies like HMV are promoting the 3DS and the 3DS XL with Mario Kart 7 for this sole purpose.

As someone who has contributed to the amazing first week figures, I personally am really impressed with the Nintendo 3DS XL and I will be writing a full review on it very soon.

Iwata Asks…

The new Iwata Asks has been posted up on Nintendo’s website and it’s all about the questions posed about the new 3DS XL console. How is it improved over the old 3DS? What is better? Five guys from the Research and Development department at Nintendo HQ have been pulled in from the depths to tell us more. Why are they all men? For once I would like to see a woman on the board…but I digress.

It’s been stated that in the early stages of development, they basically just put a bigger LCD screen to the current 3DS circuitry and prayed that it would work. Thankfully, it did and so it stayed in place. It wasn’t expected to work and the team wanted something that was impactful. Something that would make the average Nintendo handheld an stand back and say ‘Wow. I want one of those.’

Next up came the problem with the glare on the screen. For those of you with a regular-sized 3DS, you’ll notice that on a sunny day if you attempt to play your 3DS outside- you’ll struggle to see the screen on your device. The screen is made up of three layers, and now with new technology at their hands- Nintendo have been able to put an anti-glare coating on each of these layers to improve visibility. When I test drove the 3DS XL, I did notice the glare in the store. Or should I say less of it. It didn’t seem to reflect the lights as bad as the old 3DS and I’m assuming that the same principle would apply to strong sunlight. The colours also seem to be vastly improved, this is due to a new manufactor relationship Nintendo has in place with a LCD TV company. So there’s new screen technology too, which means that they didn’t just enlarge the old-style screen but actually create something from scratch.

Nintendo being the ever-changing innovator in the gaming industry, have also created a new technology for increasing battery life on the new 3DS XL. This new tech improves the effeciancy of the power used by the backlight in the console.

Iwata: When you view 3D images on the Nintendo 3DS, the liquid-crystal barrier blocks the images for the left and right eyes from each other, so the efficiency of the light is halved. You thought that improving that would also save power.

It was basically a technology that didn’t exist when the original 3DS was created, so having this now in their hands- Nintendo is eager to use it on their new 3DS XL console. With them having the rights to the technology, I wouldn’t be surprised if we also see the same in the new Wii U handheld gamepads. But using this technology means that Nintendo killed two birds with one stone- the lack of screen brightness and bad battery life in the original 3DS console.

The team go on to talk about the casing and how basically they wanted to take the original DSi XL casing and tweak it. But with the newer technology in the 3DS XL- that just wasn’t possible. With items like the the Circle Pad and the location of the speakers- there was a lot of jiggling about the team had to do to make all the technology fit into the casing of the console. But eventually, they had to scrap this idea and they began to work on a similar design for their new XL console. Including a brand new plastic used for the casing that included fibre glass. Yes, you read that correctly. Does this mean that Nintendo are going back to the days of making their handheld consoles hard to break? I almost believe that this is a path that they have to go down with more and more kids playing on their handhelds these days. Kids drop things. Heck, I’m an adult and I drop things. I’d be pretty upset if I broke a brand-new console just by dropping it. I used to be able to bounce my ancient Gameboy brick off the wall and off hotel balconies. It lived to tell the tale, I assure you.

The new casing is 55% fibre glass, but this meant that they had issues with the colours being as bright and eye catching as the original 3DS consoles. This accounts for the matte look of the new console, rather than the glossy shininess of the old. I think I’d prefer a more hard-wearing machine than a shiny, sparkly one. When you compare the size of the new console next to the old XL, you can see that the bottom screen is exactly the same as the old one. But then the top just blows the original completely away, it’s amazing how big Nintendo have managed to make the 3D screen.

Looking at the two side by side, I almost think that the 3DS XL is a little smaller, but it could be a trick of the eye. It’s certainly not as square as the original XL console- it’s got a more friendly, curved appearance and I think it’s just a lot prettier than the DSi XL.

We designed it with the concept “A softer 3DS with a bigger screen”. It was only made possible because it was a larger piece of hardware, but the battery is in the center of the main body this time, so we could achieve more rounding on the exterior surfaces than ever before. With the battery in the center, the balance of weight is good.

Another new difference between the 3DS and the 3DS XL is the places where the SD card is inserted and the stylus are stored. They are now on the lower right-hand side of the console, next to each other. The relocation of these is because of the battery being enlarged and some of the other important things being moved around inside the console. The 3D slider on the console also makes an audible ‘click’ sound now when you change between 2D and 3D- so you can actually tell when you’ve changed the setting.

All in all, I think these new additions to the 3DS XL make a great console. But I can’t help but think they should have really been in the console the first time around. One thing that Nintendo seems to do is put out the first version of the console almost as a beta-test. An unfinished console, if you will. And I dislike a lot that they use the customers as guinea pigs for what works and what doesn’t. But, this is nothing new here. I’d really like to get one of the new 3DS XL consoles, but at this point in time I’m just going to be sticking with my original 3DS console. I’m just going to wait with baited breath to see if this breathes some much-needed life into the beleagued 3D console. Sure, it’s popular- but is it as popular as Nintendo hoped it would be? Let’s hope more people pick up the 3DS XL than the original 3DS…




Nintendo 3DS XL: Whatever Happened to the Second Circle Pad?

In an interview with the British newspaper- The Independant; Saturo Iwata has explained how trying to fit a second Circle Pad onto the upcoming Nintendo 3DS XL would have been almost an impossibility.

How the new console is designed is that it is obviously bigger and brighter, but all the controls pretty much are in exactly the same place as it’s little brother- the Nintendo 3DS. The XL was designed for those people who have issues with the smaller screen and the overall smaller console size. It was not designed to put in a second Circle Pad, this is why the extention plate of the Circle Pad Pro is available out there to buy. As a handheld Nintendo fan, do I believe that the second analogue stick is needed? I don’t believe so unless you’re really hardcore into games like Resident Evil. I personally, am not. I play handheld consoles for my fix of cutesy games like Mario, Spyro, Kirby, Pokemon, Final Fantasy. Etc, etc. If I want the bigger games like my Dead Island, Walking Dead, Max Payne 3- that’s what I have my Xbox for.

It’s been stated by Iwata that the N3DS is sold these days at a manufactoring loss to the company. With the price slashes in the recent month after the slump in initial 3DS sales- it was something that Nintendo felt like they had to do with the ever-burdening of the other Japanese company Sony hot on their heels. The PS Vita has proven popular with people that like more intense games and want the whole dual-analogue stick gaming experience. But Nintendo is very keen to stay away from that market, for whatever reason.

The company has been dissed every which way of Sunday for not having more multiplayer stuff, lack of online content, lack of hardcore games, etc, etc. It doesn’t really look like Saturo Iwata cares much. With games like Pikmin 4 and Super Mario Bros Wii U coming out- they’re still aiming for the cutesy, casual angle as well as trying to squash some of the ‘casual-friendly console’ whispers with games like one-life ZombiU. And with having no second Circle Pad  on the 3DS XL, they are once again coming under a massive amount of pressure from the hardcore gaming market who want the 3DS XL to be more like a full sized console than a handheld one.

And with iOS now joining the handheld party, Nintendo are under even more strain to perform as a gaming company with their roots purely in the handheld market. Apple are big supporters of the digital distribution movement, with the appeal that you can buy a game on the App Store and download it straight to your iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad. The games are cheaper than buying for the DS/3DS and there’s no extra expense, no boxes gathering dust or leaflets kicking about under your bed. Nintendo is attempting to embrace this by announcing both the New Super Mario Bros 2 and Luigi’s Mansion 2: Dark Moon going straight onto the eShop, as well as being available to purchase in store. Is this something that we will see more often with Nintendo? Who knows, I would imagine that they are testing the waters with some of their bigger, more popular titles to see how the whole system works out.

Nintendo obviously knows that they need to stay more consistent, but also be individual in the handheld gaming market to stand apart from the companies like Apple and Sony. But as to what they have planned, we have no idea at this point.

Nintendo 3DS XL: Hands On

I was lucky enough to be at a local games store where they had the new Nintendo 3DS XL out and available for a trial play. The handheld system is not on sale in the UK until the end of this month and until next month in the US. And I had to wander around the store like a lost puppy for about 10 minutes while a snot-nosed brat played on it. Wait, no I love children really. Just that I’m very impatient when it comes to gaming. I was planning on buying a game while I was there anyway, and the seeing the system was a total bonus.

Sadly, I was there by myself and so I couldn’t exactly take photos of me with the system. But I can say the system was surprisingly comfortable in my hands. I expected the console to feel large and bulky in my hands, but it really wasn’t. It was a fair bit heavier though, and that was a little surprising. The bigger screen was a real joy though. As someone who suffers from slightly bad eyesight, the larger screen was a welcome relief. Combined with the 3D effect on the console, it was really fun. The game preloaded onto the demo system was Mario Kart 7 and as I careened my way around the track and avoided obstacles, I could see how the larger screen really was worth the extra money. The more advanced Nintendo climbs the handheld console ladder, the more you wish you were playing it on the Wii. Obviously we are a little way off from console games in 3D on the Nintendo Wii U- but I’m sure that Iwata and chums are already planning it in their crafty minds.

I played the 3DS XL in the black colour, and one thing I noticed was that the company was ditching the glossy look of the old consoles and going for a matte finish instead. I really wasn’t a fan. The size? Again, I was surprised that my tiny little girl hands didn’t struggle with the console. At first glance of the pictures released by Nintendo, I really thought it was going to be a manly console. But it was nice to see that even I could use it too. I still think it would be too big for a kids hands- but in all fairness, a serious console like the 3DS XL isn’t really targeted at kids.

Do I think I might buy one? I’m still torn. I loved handling it and the bigger screen was so much better than my little tiny one on my original 3DS- but I’m not sure if I can afford to spare that kind of money for a console that is pretty much the same, but bigger. For those people who have bigger hands, it’s probably going to be a welcome relief from trying to push buttons and accidently mashing several at the same time.


Nintendo 3DS At Comic-Con 2012

As we know, the brand-new Nintendo 3DS XL will be on sale before we know it- are you planning on buying one? I’m not as I find the console too big for my teeny little hands and spindly fingers. The XL version of the Nintendo handheld (both DS and 3DS) I’ve never purchased but for those of you that have- you are in for a treat with the new games coming out.

It’s Comic-Con from the 12th to the 15th July 2012 and Nintendo have shown up with  the goods once again. There’s more games being showcased for the the 3DS than anything else but there’s still quite a hefty list for the three Nintendo consoles. From New Super Mario Bros 2 and Luigi’s Mansion 2: Dark Moon for the 3DS to Kirby’s Dream Collection for the Wii. There’s sadly no Wii U presence, so no Super Mario Bros Wii U to play for those of you attending the con. But without further ado, here’s both the press release fresh from Comic-Con and the list of games Nintendo shall be showing off.

Nintendo News: Nintendo Reveals Comic-Con 2012 Lineup, Including Nintendo 3DS XL

Comic-Con 2012
REDMOND, Wash.-(BUSINESS WIRE)— At this year’s Comic-Con International 2012 event taking place July 12-15 at the San Diego Convention Center, members of the general public will enjoy an early chance to get their hands on Nintendo 3DS XL, a new version of the Nintendo 3DS system with 90 percent larger screens that launches Aug. 19.

In addition to Nintendo’s booth at the show (#5135), multiple activities will take place at a special Nintendo Gaming Lounge in the San Diego Ballroom at the Marriott Marquis & Marina at 333 W. Harbor Drive, adjacent to the San Diego Convention Center. A Comic-Con badge is not required to gain entry to the Nintendo Gaming Lounge.

Games that are scheduled to be playable at the Nintendo Gaming Lounge include:

Nintendo 3DS / Nintendo 3DS XL

New Super Mario Bros. 2
Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon
Kid Icarus: Uprising
Mario Kart 7
Super Mario 3D Land
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate (Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc.)
HEROES OF RUIN (Square Enix)
KINGDOM HEARTS 3D [Dream Drop Distance] (Square Enix)
LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes (Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment)

Nintendo DS family

Pokémon Conquest


Kirby’s Dream Collection: Special Edition
Just Dance 4 (Ubisoft)

Nintendo 3DS XL

Release Date: 28th July (Europe), August 13th (US) Colours: Red and Blue (US) (Silver exclusive to Europe)

Earlier this morning at the Nintendo Direct Conference, the Nintendo 3DS XL was released to a clouded fanfare of thoughts. Why do we need this monstrosity of a machine? It’s utterly huge. Long ago and far away when Nintendo was just a small Japanese company hedging their bets on a handheld machine- the idea wasn’t about how to make a machine bigger and better. It was about making gaming a portable commodity for the general fan out there.

The new Nintendo 3DS XL is also slightly heavier than the original 3DS, weighing in at around 336 grams to the 3DS 235 grams. A somewhat oversight on Nintendo’s part, is that the new console isn’t packaged with an AC adaptor. But the adaptor for the 3DS, DSi and DS XL is compatible, which I imagine is fine if you actually own any of those consoles. It is sold separately, along with the charging cradle.

So why now, after only 12 months of releasing the popular Nintendo 3DS are they releasing an XL version? The DS XL was released to pick up flagging sales at the end of the console cycle of the Nintendo DS before the 3DS was to be released a few months later. Squeezing some more golden coins out the parents of the world. I really, really don’t understand the idea behind making it bigger. I have the 3DS. And I love it. For me, it’s the perfect weight and the perfect size. I’m still not sold on the 3D camera or AR capabilities, but the 3D games are pretty cool. Especially Super Mario Land 3D.

A slew of new titles are poised for release with the new console. These are New Art Academy, Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance and Final Fantasy Theatrhythm. The last two I could happily play on a regular 3DS but I can see how the XL version would be advantageous to a release like New Art Academy.