GDC 11: Games on the 3DS — Zelda, Mario, and the eStore
The overweening concern about the 3DS is that there are not enough games available for it at launch. While this may be true, lurking just over the horizon are a number of surefire hits, along with other offerings — Nintendo was on the case at this morning’s keynote.
To start with, every 3DS will ship with Mii Maker, AR Games, and Face Raider already installed, giving early adopters fun and socially-oriented applications to ease them into the experience.
First on the high-profile release docket is Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, which takes one of the franchise’s most beloved installments and gives it a high-tech, high gloss 3D makeover. Those who loved the game when they played the original will be eager to dive back in; those unfortunates who missed it initially will now get a chance to see what they’ve been missing, augmented by added depth and resolution.
An enigmatic new Super Mario game is also promised, though keynote speaker and Nintendo president Satoru Iwata was cagey about the details. The only bit of information he could give involved pointing out a strange, gray tail appended to the traditional Mario logo, which appeared on the giant screens in all its childish glory. Fans of the franchise can certainly augur what that tail might signify, though we’ll all have to wait until E3 to find out for certain.
The days final content-related announcement was exciting — the 3DS will mark the rollout of Nintendo’s new eStore, which will compensate for and perhaps replace WiiWare, which even Iwata acknowledged as a disappointment. Thanks to the handheld’s robust connectivity, 3DS owners will be able to buy a large variety of new and classic titles and download them directly to their device. The offerings include the entirety of DSi Ware, GameBoy and GameBoy color titles, Game Gear and Turbo Graphics 16 games, and what Nintendo are calling 3D classics — remastered old games. Thanks to the success of XBLA and Playstation Network, and Ninentdo’s access to a huge a repertoire of blast-from-the-past IP, this system looks like a surefire hit.
Though the question of exactly which 3DS games will be available for purchase in March (when the device launches) was elegantly dodged, Nintendo’s keynote presentation made it abundantly clear that the future looks bright indeed.