Nintendo Unveils 2DS, Gamers Scratch Their Heads

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2ds

I get a lot of press releases from Nintendo. They hit my inbox nigh-weekly, generally touting some upcoming release or a bump in sales numbers. Still, yesterday’s announcement was different.

Lumped in with the long-rumored Wii U price drop — the Deluxe Set will be available for $299.99 beginning September 20 — and a handsome Wind Waker HD bundle was a most unexpected reveal: a new 3DS model… without the 3D.

The Nintendo 2DS is a budget-priced system that will launch on October 12, alongside Pokemon X and Y. The chief difference is that the system boasts full compatibility with all current 3DS titles (not to mention DS backward compatibility) while eschewing the titular 3D feature.

Still, this most surprising announcement has led to an interesting string of question from the gaming (and GeekParenting) public:

No 3D? Doesn’t that mean it’s just a DS?
Nope; with a beefier processor, widescreen top LCD, 3DS eShop support, cameras, integrated motion controls and a unique system interface, the 2DS is definitely a current-gen handheld.

So it’s just an original model 3DS with no depth slider?
Not exactly. What Nintendo called “a distinctive fixed, slate-type form factor” basically means “no clam-shell.” Imagine a 3DS that doesn’t close.

Wait; how does sleep mode work if you can’t close the system?
Apparently there’s a switch for that.

So will 3D games look grainy or muddy in 2D mode?
Actually, 3DS titles generally look a bit sharper in 2D mode, even on the current 3DS/3DS XL.

But who is this thing even for?
A fair question, but one with more than a single simple answer. Obviously the $130 price point makes it a more tempting option for thrifty gamers, but parents wary of allowing younger children — specifically those under 7 — to game in 3D mode will similarly find this option a bit more suitable. Then there are those gamers who simply can’t use the 3D feature in the first place: those prone to eye strain or headaches as well as those with medical conditions or eye damage. Our own GeekDad Chuck, the father of a child without stereoscopic vision, was quick to express his interest in this new, more inclusive handheld.

So should I pick one up?
If you already have 3DS or the larger XL model, probably not. And personally, I’m a rather iffy on the overall design. The placement of the d-pad, circle pad and face buttons all seem… a little odd in the promotional photographs. Still, I’d honestly love to get a little hands-on time with the 2DS before I criticize its design too harshly. If you’ll remember, I was a little turned off by the Wii U GamePad until I actually picked it up for the first time.

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