It’s been a long time coming, but we finally know exactly what games the 3DS will launch with here in America, or at least most of them. Early Tuesday, Nintendo of America revealed that 3DS would launch with 18 games, and 3 of them are first party. However, only 13 third party games were named, and that only adds up to 16. What are the other 2 games? As it turns out, nothing special. To be more accurate, the press release should have said that 3DS would launch with 16 games, but Nintendo is considering Nintendogs+Cats as three different games, making it sound as if the 3DS lineup has more games than it actually does.
That being said, 3DS is launching with more third party support than any Nintendo console in a long, long time. Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition looks to be the best game available at launch, while games like Samurai Warriors: 3D and Rayman 3D are certain to make some people happy. Unfortunately, despite the number and quality of 3DS launch games, I feel 3DS lacks that “must have” game. When Wii launched, Twilight Princess was the title that made me feel that I needed to have it on day 1, and so I did. Along with Zelda, I also picked up some other games, including Trauma Center: Second Opinion, and the rest I traded in not long after launch. I was in high school at the time, was working, and had saved up hundreds of dollars to throw away.
Fast forward to the launch of 3DS, and here I am in college, and not working. Sure, I have more money saved in the bank than I did when I was in high school, but any money I spend I can’t make back until summer, when I’m off school and back to work. That means that I have to be careful about how much money I spend and when. I don’t have the liberty to be as careless as I was when Wii was released. Back then, I was able to buy a game if it seemed interesting, even if it were $50. That’s not the case now. Rarely do I make a game purchase that hasn’t been well thought out ahead of time. I can’t drop $50 on a game that I might like, and then turn out to hate it.
This is why, when 3DS comes out, it will be the first time that I buy a system and not get any games at launch. 3DS is launching with many games, but none of them really interest me. Of course, the games that do will probably arrive sometime in the launch window, namely Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D and Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked. These two titles, and those sure to follow, are my reason for buying a 3DS on launch. Plus with shortages being very likely, it’s best to get one while you can, as opposed to not being able to get one at all.
I do think that what Nintendo is doing with 3DS’s launch is good, as far as giving the third parties the spotlight, but I think they may have an ulterior motive when it comes to the lack of any big-name Nintendo title at launch. Two major Nintendo titles usually don’t launch in the same month. Nintendo tries to space out the release of its games so that they don’t end up competing with each other. With what could be the largest DS game ever launching in early March, Nintendo wants to make sure that that title has the spotlight, even after 3DS launches. Of course, I’m talking about the two new entries in the Pokémon series. Let’s be honest, 3DS launches the same month as Pokémon Black and White. What game do you think the majority of gamers will be playing on their 3DS?
If you ask me, it’s one of the Pokémon games. Nintendo positioned the release of the new Pokémon games perfectly. They are already the fastest selling DS games in Japan, and will probably go on to become the fastest selling DS games ever. With their launch being so close to that of 3DS, and with 3DS’ convenient ability to play DS games, Nintendo can slack on launch titles for its new system. No matter what, the top selling portable games for March will be the Pokémon games, and nothing would change that if the 3DS’s launch were any different. Nintendo knows that the Pokémon wave will last at least awhile, so they don’t need to worry about pushing out a AAA 3DS game until Black and White lose steam.
I can understand why this may anger some people, but it really is for the best. The Pokémon franchise is too powerful to try and compete with, and Nintendo is doing the smart thing in not trying to. If you want an exciting game experience in 3D, which is why you bought a 3DS, you’ll more than likely go for the third party software, which will go nicely with the Pokémon purchase that you’ll make earlier in the month of March. Along with Pokémon, Okamiden is another game that will see a lot of playtime on my 3DS.
Team Ninja also made a smart move in delaying Dead or Alive: Dimensions to a later date. Why compete against Street Fighter unless you absolutely have to? Now gamers that may have been debating over which title to buy at launch have a much easier decision, and with any luck they may save up enough money to buy Dimensions too, if they really want it.
So what I said about 3DS lacking a major title is true– it does indeed lack a AAA title of its own– but luckily for Nintendo, it will have a monster of a game that will be enjoyed by soon to be millions of 3DS owners, and millions of DS owners too. Do I wish I could be playing Kid Icarus: Uprising at launch? Sure I do, but that would only mean less time for Pokémon.
It’s tough to describe the 3DS launch. Sure it has more games than any Nintendo launch of recent memory, yet it still doesn’t feel very enticing. Does that mean Wii had a better launch simply because of Zelda? Many people may say so, but from looking at third party games only, that definitely isn’t the case. However, when you factor in Pokémon and Okamiden with the rest of the 3DS launch, suddenly you have possibly the most powerful launch of any system, ever.
So what do you think of the 3DS launch games? Are there any that interest you? Let me know in the comments. One thing’s for sure though, 3DS can’t get here any sooner!