Hands on with the Nintendo 2DS

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2ds

When Nintendo announced its decidedly ugly 2DS, the world – for the most part – replied with collective sense of disdain. Why on earth would a company so renowned for design release half-baked iteration of its 3DS that dispensed with its biggest selling point; that glasses-free 3D. It might not have been such a stupid move.

I had the fortune of going hands on with the newest product in the 3DS family today, and it left me surprised. The first, most immediately noticeable thing about the new 2DS is the omission of the famous Clamshell design; the thing is a wedge; larger at the top and tapering down towards the bottom.  The second striking thing is that it’s much smaller than initial pictures would suggest; it’s actually smaller than the original 3DS when open.

And it’s surprisingly comfortable.  your hands naturally gravitate towards the middle of the unit, with all the buttons and keys comfortably within reach. The home button is now a proper button, more prominently placed in the centre at the bottom, with the start and select buttons placed below the face buttons.

. It’s more like a double-storied gameboy advance, really. The twin displays are the size of the ones found on the original 3DS an not of the larger XL, and they’re covered with a thick, solid plastic to prevent then from getting damaged – though I can see this becoming scratched quite easily, and as with all 3DS; a screen protector is recommended. The device still has the twin camera set-up, so it’s capable of taking 3D pictures, just not of displaying them.

Game cartridges are loaded in an off-centre  slot at the top of the device, with the SD card and stylus housed on the right. The headphone jack is on the front left of the handheld, accompanied on the right by a new Sleep Mode slider that makes up for the fact that you can’t close the lid on the thing (and putting paid to rumours that certain games utilising that motion might not work on the system)

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Mostly, the only real difference is the lack of 3DS options; it’s effectively an open 3DS with the slider all the way down. It’s also missing a second speaker, s only does monaural audio (stereo through headphones). While dispensing with that extra dimension, the 2DS also dispenses with any sort of feeling of luxury; it feels like it looks; like a cheaper device manufactured by Fisher Price.

That, however, is really quite the point, giving the 2DS a reason to exist in the 3DS ecosystem. It’s not being released to replace the current 3DS or the 3DS XL, but rather a cheap handheld for the kids, that’ll probably be used for Pokémon; which makes its October release date, just days before Pokemon X & Y quite fortuitous.

Last Updated: September 16, 2013

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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