The Nintendo 3DS has had a pretty rough launch.
|Not quite this rough, but still...|
This is not to say that the 3DS's launch has been bad by all measures. On the contrary, the 3DS had sold about 4.5 million units worldwide by the end of June 2011, a number quite comparable to the first quarter sales of the original DS when it launched. In case you need a reminder, the little Nintendo DS, with some careful prodding, strategic redesigns, and some quality titles has risen to become the best-selling video game system in HISTORY.
Still, adoption rates have been lower than Nintendo expected, and the great games that we all wanted for Nintendo's little multi-dimensional system are only now just beginning to fill out the library. Thanks to one particular fact to which I have been recently acquainted, I think that the 3DS has a long, happy life ahead of it. Let me, as your friend and mentor, share it with you.
I was one of the people who bought a 3DS on release day. I had never upgraded from the DS-lite, a handheld system that brought me a great deal of happiness, and after researching carefully for months, I decided that this was just the handheld gaming system that I deserved. I love my 3DS, now as much as then, and I took it to college each day during Spring Semester in case I would get the chance play a game for a few moments or, *gasp* StreetPass a soul who was in harmony with my own! In my mind, I imagined the green light on the outside of my 3DS lighting up every few moments as I passed another person, and then, as if our brains were united by our gaming sensibilities, we would meet each-other's gaze through the crowd of students flowing around us like water, and exchange a grin and a nod. In my less-realistic fantasies, we would then fly through the air over the upturned faces of stunned passersby, and our palms would meet in a high-five so righteous that it would ignite the air around it. My fantasy does not address whether this would kill all innocent bystanders.
|Though it almost certainly would.|
Because sales were slow, StreetPass situations like the one above occurred infrequently at best. There was one guy in a class I was taking that I would StreetPass every day, but I was never even able to ascertain his true identity, let alone engage Dr. Manhattan-style high-fives with him. I would get the odd Pass here and there, and would feel a surge of excitement when it happened, but it was usually hours before I had realized it had taken place, negating the possibility of becoming fast friends, united by our mutual love of this wonderful little system.
(On a related note, Google images for "Guy Crying". There's hours of entertainment there.)
Fast-forward to Fall Semester (passing straight over a Summer Semester devoid of StreetPass encounters), and I walked into college with my 3DS tucked away in my bag as usual. It was a busy first day, so I didn't get a single opportunity to game. When I arrived home and pulled my 3DS from its bag to charge it for the next day, I saw something I hadn't seen in months: the small, green LED on the right shoulder of the system was lit up, burning brightly. I opened the system impatiently and entered the Mii Plaza to meet someone's little digital denizen set adrift to roam the sea of 1's and 0's before being rescued by the good ship "BitNick's Revenge". It's a pirate vessel.
But what to my wondering eyes should appear, but six new Mii friends, one wearing dog ears! I was introduced to a wonderful group of people, five of whom were fellow students, and one of whom was Billy Freakin' Mays!
|I always wondered what game Billy would "Kaboom!" if he could...|
Now I know.
Our community is slowly thriving, and with Netflix, Starfox 64 3D, LoZ: OoT 3D, RE: Revelations and Mercenaries 3D, Beyond the Labyrinth, Cave Story 3D, Super Mario 3D Land, Luigi's Mansion 2, MGS: Snake Eater 3D, Professor Layton and The Mask of Miracle, and more, we may just have a chance to let this fledgling game system thrive before we nail it to a wall and mourn its terrible "failure".
I know that I can't keep meeting only new people during this semester, but the very fact that there are this many people on my campus who bought and carry a Nintendo 3DS, let alone how many 3DS owners there are on campus that I DON'T pass each day, is a sign of great things to come. I'm looking forward to getting to know the gamers around me through our StreetPass interactions, and who knows... Maybe even in REAL LIFE.
One thing is for sure: When the atomic high-five finally does occur, I'm making sure it happens in the new science wing. That baby's going down.