What’s With All the Fuss with Nintendo’s “New” 3DS and Majora’s Mask?

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

414ckkVU26LHonestly, all the hubbub about the “New” Nintendo’s 3DS and 3DS XL is rather droll. In order to distinguish between this model and the older one, why isn’t a better name, like the 3DS2 (or XL2) be used? Sometimes I wonder if there’s a fear of making this device sound like a name of a particular droid from Buzz Lightyear of Star Command.

Aside from a few new technical upgrades that I think ergonomic experts may find not as comfortable, the big issue is the fact this company still has not upgraded the picture resolution of its external cameras! Some users, especially me when I go travelling, want an ideal all-in-one unit to browse the Internet, take a photo to share online (what it can do now is too small and often grainy) and play music or games with.

The machine sounds more like a stone mason’s brick than a pot of gold. The only real praise-worthy feature is the face-tracking technology to improve perceiving a 3D world buried in this hand-held. Instead of finding that sweet spot, the image sensors will detect where my face is and optimize the game in real-time to allow for better spacial imagery to happen. I really like to see this demonstrated with a shelf display unit before committing any dollars to with pre-orders. At the time of writing, all the limited editions are sold out and that can be frustrating to some who did not learn of this news in time to pre-order.

Zelda_3DS_XL_EspecialSadly, as exciting as the new XL Majora’s Mask face-plate sounds, I really do not find this cover art to be exceptional. Out of all the three Zelda themed hand-held systems, the “Zelda Gold” (packaged with a digital download of Link Between Worlds) edition is the best of the best. The painted on Tri-Force symbol makes owning this hand-held feel like players have the power. The Majora’s Mask edition, on the other-hand, does not have the oomph unless it was sculpted in. A silk-screened image may well have some folks believing they have stolen a baby owl. Lest the great wise elder gets enraged, gamers might want to hide their looted treasure. Ever since the announcement of this new device, scalpers have bought-out allocations from their local stores and are selling it at inflated prices on eBay. It’s a shame that shops can’t control the number of portable consoles sold by these enterprising pirates. Some are probably pretending to be enthusiastic gamers but they are not.

Now wouldn’t it be funny if Nintendo sold a similar looking face-plate later so customers can upgrade the updated regular 3DS to resemble the Majora’s Mask? That’s one great selling feature of this new standard edition handheld. A secondary market may evolve where fans can make unique face-plates and sell through websites like Etsy. Sadly, the XL model does not offer this interchangeability, so the question of whether or not buying this upgraded model is worth it depends on how often Nintendo fans on a budget are willing to bow down to technical obsolescence.


The prolonged lifespan of these hand-held consoles of any sort sometimes depends on how popular a specific device is for the easy backwards compatibility it offers. For the Nintendo 3DS XL, waiting three years for this redesign is almost worth it. I bought my 3DS XL only a year and a half ago and to hear about this announcement is a touch upsetting. Plus, the added analogue controller does not offer any immediate benefit for current games where it does not work. Only new releases, like Xenoblade Chronicles 3D (due late 2015), will take advantage of it.

When compared to Sony’s Vita née PSP, this rival device had a new model coming out nearly every year before its leap to becoming a PSPGo and immediately afterwards, a Vita. The 3DS and the 3DS XL(2) may well be experiencing the same growing pains, because Nintendo is not willing to commit to a complete redesign or revamp. Sadly, 3D gaming is on its way out. There’s no real innovation happening by video game programmers in how this display technology is currently used. True holography in games has yet to appear. To see true spatial representations, especially in platform games, will have players wondering if leaping that distance is possible from a table-top projected perspective. On a screen, all 3D offers is just eye-candy. Hopefully, that will mean an updated Nintendo 2DS will be in stores in the future too.

Author: Ed Sum

I'm a freelance videographer and entertainment journalist (Absolute Underground Magazine, Two Hungry Blokes, and Otaku no Culture) with a wide range of interests. From archaeology to popular culture to paranormal studies, there's no stone unturned. Digging for the past and embracing "The Future" is my mantra.

4 thoughts on “What’s With All the Fuss with Nintendo’s “New” 3DS and Majora’s Mask?”

  1. Seems a lot of people really want that damn C stick and extra processing power…. and well Majoras Mask is a great title that, while has a decent slough of fans now, didn’t really get shouted from the rooftops as much as it really should have. A remake allowing so many to play it on the train with enhancements up to the neck? Seems fantastic.

    1. I agree that Majora’s Mask is a great game and I have a regular release order waiting for me to pick up. Tho’ I will be playing it on my regular 3DS XL than this new model. Two other news sites reveal a few annoying details, as I did not mention other issues with this new device.

      The MicroSD card that’s included is 4gb (nothing new) can be tough to pull out. A #0 screwdriver is required (http://kotaku.com/you-need-a-friggin-screwdriver-to-change-memory-cards-i-1679808994)

      Professional reviews did affirm what I feared about the c-stick (http://www.cnet.com/products/nintendo-new-3ds/) and even cited poor battery life.

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