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The Handheld's Last Stand

2017 in Preview: The final days of 3DS and Vita herald the end of an entire way of gaming.

Article by Jeremy Parish, .

Well, handheld systems, we've had a great run, you and I. God, will I miss you.

It's been nearly 20 years since I first ponied up for a portable console. It was a Game Boy Color, imported from an online retailer at the Japanese launch; for some ridiculous reason, I couldn't wait a few weeks for the American release. And since that fateful day, my handhelds and I have been inseparable: The rugged Game Boy Color; the magnificent Neo Geo Pocket Color; the esoteric WonderSwan. Game Boy and DS, in all their permutations, each distinctly capable, each burdened with a unique flaw. Sony's PSP. And now the Vita and 3DS, both struggling to live up to their respective predecessor's achievements.

You've come a long way, baby.

The writing's on the wall, though. It has been for a few years: The 3DS struggled terribly for its first year of life, until Nintendo slashed the system's price and begged early adopters for forgiveness. And the Vita... ah, the poor Vita. Truly the most magnificent handheld ever created, abandoned practically at the moment of conception by a callous and uncaring creator. Mobile gaming on smart phone ate handheld gaming's lunch, and it looks like our current portable consoles — initiatives that had been put into motion before the rise of iPhone games — are finally coming to an end. And in their place is... nothing?

Well, I suppose that's not entirely true. Nintendo has its Switch on the way, and that offers a kind of portable experience. Precisely what kind remains to be seen; we'll know in a week or so. Still, I feel comfortable stating that it won't be in any danger of being mistaken for a 3DS-like experience — or even similar to that of the Vita. The things we do know about Switch simply preclude a faithful continuation of handheld gaming as we've known it.

For starters, it has only a single screen, which means it wouldn't be able to offer a proper backward-compatibility mode for DS and 3DS; the best Switch could muster up would be some sort of single-screen simulation as on Wii U Virtual Console. Even then, it wouldn't be able to duplicate the Wii U's Virtual Console double-screen mode, since the Switch's portable unit has to be docked (obscuring the screen, by design) in order to support play on a television. On top of that, the Switch core reportedly has to plug into its dock in order to charge its battery, which means you can't play while charging — despite plugged-in play having been a basic handheld gaming survival technique since the Lynx's debut in 1989. We also know nothing about the Switch core's wireless and multiplayer capabilities, whether or not it will carry over Street Pass, and all those other trivial little incidentals that make 3DS so enjoyable.

So much for our game-fueled meet cutes!

Make no mistake: The Switch will support gaming on the go. But its games, from what we've seen so far, don't appear to have been designed as portable experiences. It will play Skyrim on the go... but will this version of Skyrim have been comprehensively overhauled as a handheld game? Unlikely. It will support The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild... which began life on the Wii U, will still appear on Wii U, and seems unlikely to have been completely redesigned from the ground up as a Switch game. Amazing handheld conversions on a technical front, but hardly bespoke portable experiences.

The reality is, handheld gaming isn't the same as console gaming. Even as the boundaries between the two have blurred in terms of hardware power and connectivity, they remain distinct evolutionary lines within the medium. Portable games fall somewhere between the quick, rapid bites of mobile games and the tuck-in-and-poopsock-it sustained experiences you expect on consoles and PCs. A portable game can be quick and breezy, or it can be deep and substantial. The best portable creations, however, balance these two approaches and provide play sessions that won't be undermined or spoiled by the need to suddenly set aside your system and deal with matters in meatspace. Think Pokémon: While every Pokémon game will take you dozens of hours to complete and hundreds to truly master, they always keep things simple and straightforward enough that you can snap your system's lid closed in an instant, then jump in again hours or even days later and not have to worry about feeling lost. It's a tricky balance to maintain, and the move away from dedicated, self-contained devices means these games experiences stand to become endangered.

Dragon Quest XI will have a unique 3DS conversion — but even if Square Enix localizes the game for the U.S., we'll probably only see the PlayStation 4 and Switch versions.

And what about Sony? The company has barely even acknowledged the existence of the Vita for several years, and they've certainly never emitted even the slightest peep of having a replacement in the works. It really seems as though Sony has abandoned the entire concept of handheld gaming; they're happy to continue collecting residuals on Vita software, but clearly would prefer to focus strictly on consoles and VR, which is in every way the diametric opposite of portable gaming.

The question then becomes: What do handheld gaming fans have to look forward to for the remainder of these system's lives? (Which, frankly, isn't long.) Will handheld gaming have a place in 2017?

Retronauts Puts Game Boy Under the "Micro"-scope, Sort Of

A look back at the launch of the legendary handheld in this unusual Micro episode.

The answer may not be an unqualified "Yes, absolutely!" — but on the other hand, neither is the year utterly bereft of hope. Nintendo has indicated that the Switch is being treated as a replacement for the Wii U, not the 3DS. The new console's dual nature as both TV-based system and ersatz handheld means it will likely replace both in due time; plus, Nintendo's growing push into mobile games would make a new handheld system doubly redundant. For now, though, we can expect some support for the 3DS throughout 2017.

In the short term, the massive Dragon Quest VIII will arrive later this month, with an expanded port of Yoshi's Woolly World arriving in February, followed by the don't-call-it-Harvest-Moon farming sim Story of Seasons hitting at the end of the month. Further out, we can expect to see a new Box Boy puzzle platformer, more Picross, and hopefully Atlus's dungeon crawler Etrian Odyssey V. There's also Mario Sports Superstars for the jock in your life, and the intriguing action RPG Ever Oasis courtesy of Grezzo.

Danganronpa V3 promises to wrap things for the Vita in its usual weird-as-hell fashion.

Meanwhile, although you never really hear about it, the Vita has an even stronger lineup in store for 2017 than 3DS. Its biggest release will most likely be Danganronpa V3, the next entry in the adventure/puzzler/murder mystery series by Spike Chunsoft. V3 will appear simultaneously on Vita and PlayStation 4, a cross-platform approach that will be seen in most of the rest of the system's big titles, including Akiba's Beat, Shakedown: Hawaii, and Ys Origin. For the jealous Vita fan, however, NIS America has several platform exclusives in the works, including doujin roguelike Touhou Genso Wanderer, God Wars, and the high-concept The Longest Five Minutes. Additionally, SEGA will be bringing over Valkyria Revolution, the long-awaited latest entry in the Valkyria Chronicles franchise, and there should be no end to the indie titles that show up throughout the year on Vita as well.

You may have noticed a single common thread linking all of these games, across both platforms: They're all decidedly niche in nature. Outside of the Yoshi port and Mario sports sequel, handhelds have become a haven for under-the-radar games. These games can easily sell 100,000 copies or more, but that's small potatoes in today's eight-digit-sales-hit-driven industry. Even if, say, Etrian Odyssey V makes it to the U.S. and sells as well as its predecessors have, nothing will change the fact that it's a first-person dungeon-crawler role-playing game with a heavy emphasis on party creation, uses manual map-drawing as its primary hook, and features an unrepentantly anime vibe. Big publishers have long since ceased to treat handheld platforms as being worth serious consideration for their major franchises, which has only accelerated the format's demise.

Which isn't to say that there's nothing to look forward to playing on the go in the coming year. Vita in particular continues to play host to a deceptively large number of appealing games from publishers who recognize the unique nature of the system's user base; where 3DS fans tend to have a casual connection to the platform and often disregard anything besides a first-party release, Vita fans are Vita fans, passionate and loyal. Unfortunately, owning the hearts of a modest little fanbase doesn't represent a viable business model for a company the size of Sony, which portends doom for its handheld aspirations once Vita fades into retirement. Nintendo might fare better with Switch — they'd certainly better hope they do — but it's hard to imagine much of a future for the DS family regardless of how well Switch performs. If it does well, it moots dedicated handhelds; if it flops, will Nintendo even want to remain in the hardware business?

Not even Rabbit Grandma can help catapult Etrian Odyssey V into the mainstream.

So hold your handhelds close to your heart. Cherish those last few Street Passes, and savor your Remote Play. By all appearances, 2017 looks to be the final hurrah for an entire way of gaming. Sure, we'll have Switch's core unit and mobile games, but they simply aren't the same. Still, the spirit of Game Boy had a good, solid run of more than a quarter of a century. Would that most video game trends could make that claim.

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Comments 40

  • Avatar for boatie #1 boatie A year ago
    My only hope against the switch is that it doesn't completely dominate enough to make them drop the 3DS immediate, or even have a 3DS successor for a second stream. Since the DS came out, and even partly through the GBA, I've been a majority handheld game player and yeah, it seems like the sunsetting on the way I like to play games.
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  • Avatar for boatie #2 boatie A year ago
    And on a more personal note, I guess the Etrian Odyssey series is doomed, I don't know how they'll transfer the map making to a single screen, but maybe they'll figure out a way to keep it vibrant.
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  • Avatar for Compeau #3 Compeau A year ago
    The prospect of the death of handheld gaming is depressing. As I get older, I have less and less time to play on dedicated consoles, but it's so easy to whip out my 3DS and play while watching TV with my SO. I'm excited about the Switch for this very reason, but I don't want to lose those unique handheld-feeling experiences. Would stuff like Pocket Card Jockey, Pushmo, and BoxBoy ever have been created on the Switch? I doubt it.
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  • Avatar for chiptoon #4 chiptoon A year ago
    Obviously a major contributing factor to the decline of handhelds I'd the rise of mobile. I wonder if there could be an improvement to the quality of the mobile gaming market if handhelds truly do come to an end?
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  • Avatar for Roto13 #5 Roto13 A year ago
    I think the Switch will be as much of a handheld as it is a home console, and I don't think being half home console will preclude it from having games with the handheld-style design sensibilities discussed in the article.

    Aside from the DS/PSP generation, the handheld market has always been almost entirely carried by Nintendo and I don't think that's going to stop now. Handhelds are what supported Nintendo through their tough times and I don't see them abandoning them any time soon.
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  • Avatar for jimgamer #6 jimgamer A year ago
    A depresssingly accurate assessment of where portable gaming as we know it is headed. The 3DS and Vita will keep their owners happy for years to come, but likely with little in the way of new content. But the Vita will always be the best way to play PSOne games, and indies, and an imported 64Gb card means a lot of gaming in a small package. The 3DS has the best version of the best Zelda game, some great SNES titles, and the peerless M2 3D classics. Switch could fill the portable gameplay niche with a decent slate of indies to some extent. Also, assuming Nintendo doesn't charge us (again) for our legacy virtual console content, it could be the ultimate portable retro platform (pls include a decent 240p/720p scaling solution, and my Wii VC PC Engine games). i remain hopeful
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  • Avatar for not_themilkybarkid #7 not_themilkybarkid A year ago
    I hope that after a year or two, Nintendo will release a smaller, cheaper, cut down "handheld only" version of the Switch. No dock, no detachable handles, smaller screen, processor only capable of running at the slower handheld speed. Same games, but on a smaller device.
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  • Avatar for Mr.Spo #8 Mr.Spo A year ago
    On top of that, the Switch core reportedly has to plug into its dock in order to charge its battery, which means you can't play while charging — despite plugged-in play having been a basic handheld gaming survival technique since the Lynx's debut in 1989

    This would be a big shame, hopefully there'll be an option to plug-in and play.

    Your point about bespoke portable experiences is interesting, because the only company that have consistently been able to nail that (for me at least) has been Nintendo. Western companies in particular never seem to have grasped the differences between portable and home play, often simply offering cut down games as portable fare. You play Fire Emblem or Pokemon or Zelda or Animal Crossing on a handheld, and you've no doubt you're getting a full, quality game.

    Pokemon is particularly interesting, because Pokemon Stars is rumoured for Switch, which suggests Nintendo see the system as a dual replacement. If Switch is flexible enough, what's to stop Nintendo--and other developers--from creating games that, like Breath of the Wild, are best played at home, as well as games geared more towards portable play, like Pokemon? Hopefully, nothing! For me, given Nintendo's struggles with home consoles and the shrink of the portable space, Switch really has to offer that mixture of portable and home experiences in order to find a sizable market. Switch sounds very versatile, and that hardware versatility just needs imaginative developers to embrace it.

    And I think if Switch does succeed, we'll see a Switch Lite down the way. Same basic machine, same software library (mostly), same OS, but cut down the screen size and versatility, remove the dock from the package and include HDMI output, and you've got an even more portable (low price) offering. Nintendo did say the future of Nintendo hardware is going to be more like the iOS offerings...
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  • Avatar for sfalletta #9 sfalletta A year ago
    @chiptoon when this formnofnhandgeldbgaming dies I hope handheld gamers support a market on mobile that allows developers to make the smaller games we play of 3ds and vita. By support I mean being willing to pay the true value of a game
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  • Avatar for sfalletta #10 sfalletta A year ago
    Deleted January 2017 by sfalletta
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  • Avatar for chaoticBeat #11 chaoticBeat A year ago
    I will keep and cherish my vita and new 3ds xl for forever. I need a back up memory card for the vita to make sure I have everything downloaded. I love handheld gaming and it's the perfect middle path for when I need a break from gaming in general.
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  • Avatar for SIGGYZtar #12 SIGGYZtar A year ago
    The death of handheld gaming will be sad as smartphones and tablets are the device to use. When Nintendo does invest in a controller attachment for a Galaxy or Note or iPhone that will be comfortable and durable unlike most of the crap out there, we'll know. Meanwhile, I definitely do not trust my smartphone despite spending so much money on it, especially when everything is always on, the microphone, the camera, the antenna, constantly draining and constantly charging, and constantly making me think it's broken or too hot. What I won't miss is how Nintendo constantly gimped its displays, as games constantly got bigger and dived back in the VC. At least I'll be able to play something in at least 640 X 480.
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  • Avatar for link6616 #13 link6616 A year ago
    I'll certainly be sad to see this generation of handheld gaming end. While not quite as insane as the psp / ds years (which if you look through those libraries it's just silly.) there is so much there! Thankfully (?) I got my 3ds fairly late, and have a lot still to play on it. So I'm not going to be lacking for traditional handheld gaming soon...

    If anything I'm optimistic to see the switch get mainstream coverage and not be ignored like handhelds tend to...
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  • Avatar for EvilRed #14 EvilRed A year ago
    I just bought a 3DS last year. I did it for two reasons:

    1. As a 39-year-old man, with a family and lots of responsibilities, I finally accepted that console gaming was not for me anymore. I just didn't have enough time to sit down at home and play for hours and hours like when I was in college/single. I decided to be honest with myself and recognized that my iPhone was the one getting the time and attention that my Wii U deserved.

    2. Yes, I was playing a lot on my phone, but I felt that mobile games - and mobile gaming in general - just wasn't enough for me. I wanted to play all those nice JRPGs and old games on the go, the way they were meant to be played: with real BUTTONS. I HATE virtual buttons.

    With those two reasons in mind, I have to accept that I'm part of a niche. But I want to believe that Nintendo will not abandon us completely. I want to believe that - barring the Switch being a massive failure - Nintendo will eventually release a cheaper, maybe smaller, portable-only version of the Switch. Of course, they would wait a couple years, so that the sales of the portable don't cannibalize the sales of the console version, and that would also give them enough time to build a decent library.

    Edit: I just read some recent comments. It's nice to discover I'm not the only one that hopes that Nintendo will release a portable Switch down the line. Fingers crossed!Edited January 2017 by EvilRed
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  • Avatar for jeremy.parish #15 jeremy.parish A year ago
    @chiptoon " I wonder if there could be an improvement to the quality of the mobile gaming market if handhelds truly do come to an end?" That would be great, but time and usage patterns have demonstrated that mobile gaming is not a pursuit but rather a bonus. Very few people want a classic handheld-style experience on phones; they want games that will allow them to kill a few minutes with zero friction. There have been some very good traditional games on mobile, and some strong efforts to supplement mobile devices with traditional control interfaces, and they've all faded away behind Pokémon Go and Clash of Clans — games designed with the superfluous nature of mobile entertainment in mind, and built around a monetization model crafted to stimulate instant gratification. I'm not saying mobile gaming is BAD. I am, however, saying it's very different from the 3DS/Vita/et al. experience.
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  • Avatar for SIGGYZtar #16 SIGGYZtar A year ago
    @EvilRed I don't have family responsibilities and I can't be bothered to stay up late and play console games all day and night either. I too am glad for portable gaming, and would like physical buttons with a screen to continue. I imagine this is a market that Nintendo and Sony can still tap, but both companies definitely have their own self-imposed drawbacks, one inferior hardware the other inferior storage media.
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  • Avatar for Captain-Vegetable #17 Captain-Vegetable A year ago
    I was so late to the handheld party, with the 3DS being my first. It wasn't too long after owning one that I was kicking myself for not buying in sooner (forgive me GBA). You can't even find a new Vita for sub $200 these days. I will still try to get one before the secondary market premium goes up even further.
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  • Avatar for KCC #18 KCC A year ago
    Admittedly, if you buy the controller-option for your mobile, you can play some really amazing games on the Go and they work just as well as a handheld. Transistor anyone?!

    I'm also very hopeful for the Mobile platform, with or without developers opting more for presuming players have the controller option. I don't cater to F2P titles or any online-dependent title (and don't on dedicated platforms neither), but I do think that the general quality of the paid games have excelled extraordinarily.

    Established developers aren't really making the mark there that they should. While SE nailed it with TWEWY on mobile, the rest of their library is pretty shot; the RPG's control badly, and there's not enough work being done to migrate them to a new device. Same goes for Capcom and most other established devs.

    But if you look to the new guys, like Nitrome and Rocketcat, you're finding developers who solely work with the platform with the single idea of creating a smoother, better experience. On Mobile, RC's "Wayward Souls" is an infinitely stronger ARPG than "Secret of Mana," and the faster that gamers stop relying on established/conservative companies to provide mobile titles and embrace the new kids on the block then we'll see an even faster, stronger, more competitive growth of mobile as a "serious," and equally dedicated, gaming platform.
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  • Avatar for Bluenote #19 Bluenote A year ago
    I'm a little confused by this article. First, Jeremy says "On top of that, the Switch core reportedly has to plug into its dock in order to charge its battery, which means you can't play while charging — despite plugged-in play having been a basic handheld gaming survival technique since the Lynx's debut in 1989".

    All rumours are actually suggesting the screen will use a USB-C charger, and not have to use the dock. It wouldn't make any sense when they are advertising that you can play games on the plane, at a friends place, etc. That would mean in order to play while travelling, you would need to bring the dock in order to charge?? No, this is definately incorrect. This would kill the entire purpose of the unit.

    Regarding backwards compatibility with 3DS/DS, Nintendo is not interested in this. They are starting fresh, and are putting the ds/3ds line behind them and moving forward. It makes no sense for them to try to incorporate backwards compatibility.

    I'm actually in the opposite camp of Jeremy, I think the Switch will keep portable gaming alive. Nintendo will now be able to create huge AAA titles like Zelda and handheld games like Mario vs Donkey Kong and pokemon, and you can play them however way you wish. I guarantee you, there will be portable type games and console games coming out. Indies will continue to be able to release quirky games that are more suited to the portable aspect of the console.
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  • Avatar for Patrick-C #20 Patrick-C A year ago
    You know, I'm gonna break on this one, for reasons that are largely down to personal optimism — I think what looks like a sunset could well be a dawn if (and I grant this is a big if) Nintendo is able to pull the Switch off.

    While, yes, you'll clearly see home-oriented experiences like Zelda and Skyrim in the AAA space, that doesn't preclude the creation of more portable-friendly experiences, especially in the indie and mid-budget spheres. In some cases, this may not even be intentional — Hotline Miami was designed for home play, but damned if it didn't end up making basically the perfect Vita game. I'm hopeful that if Nintendo whole-asses the Switch — and there are some encouraging signs on that front — it'll carve out a health space for portable-friendly design in the mid-to-low range. If the Switch catches on the mainstream and picks up some hype I could see it advancing the cause of dedicated-ish portable gaming quite a bit. I'm hopeful. I don't know that we'll ever see another console, handheld or otherwise, sell DS numbers, but we could see a healthy market, at least.Edited January 2017 by Patrick-C
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  • Avatar for Patrick-C #21 Patrick-C A year ago
    Deleted January 2017 by Patrick-C
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  • Avatar for daverhodus #22 daverhodus A year ago
    Thank God, I can finally play all of Nintendo's (non-phone) games on my TV!!
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  • Avatar for I-m-not-Daredevil #23 I-m-not-Daredevil A year ago
    I have been distressed by this for some time now. Maybe, just maybe, Nintendo won't want to give up territory that they still dominate and they'll bring out a simple but snazzy 3DS replacement in a year or two.
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  • Avatar for TheWildCard #24 TheWildCard A year ago
    I thought there would be more pushback in the comments here, but I suspect you're right about reaching the twilight of portable gaming. It isn't clear to me that the Switch is going to carry on the sorts of experiences that could only be found on portables the last decade or so. Sure we'll get Monster Hunter and Pokemon, but how much niche stuff besides that? Niche experiences that couldn't be found on consoles have been the biggest selling points of handhelds. While they won't completely disappear, I am afraid the the specs of the Switch will make them rarer.

    That said, I think the idea that handheld games must be optimized for shorter-bust experiences is overstated at times. The ease of suspension at a moments notice has reduced that need significantly. Playing Persona 4 or Shovel Knight on Vita don't feel like lesser portable experiences just because they weren't built with portability in mind.
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  • In a lot of ways I feel like as these systems became more advanced, the less inclined I was to play them. I owned a Game Boy that I got some good use out of, going all the way from Tetris and Super Mario Land through some bad 90s licensed games through Donkey Kong 94 and DK Land and eventually retiring with Pokémon Red. My GBA collection was big enough that I had a little suitcase that was swimming with those little clicky frosted cases that the cartridges came in.

    I didn't take to the DS well at all. Being able to poke selections on a touchscreen made digital YuGiOh far easier than it was on GBA, so oddly enough YGO Nightmare Troubadour probably spent more hours played than any other game on my system (and it didn't even have online play.) GTA Chinatown Wars was an interesting spin on a familiar franchise, and while I admired it's dedication to replicating the map of GTA4 in a cartoony not-to-scale fashion, it was probably the herald of the mobile games of today (or at least it's best original ones, excluding the ports and the microtransaction traps.)

    My 3DS has basically collected dust. Part of this is Nintendo's resistance to ever reduce prices on their games. Bravely Default was basically $40 for three years and then disappeared from shelves. Ditto for A Link Between Worlds. High Definition Triple-A development may be killing publishers, but they still cut prices more than Nintendo will even on games that they imported simply on a whim. As one of those people that's patient 95% of the time when it comes to games, doesn't often get invested in launch hype, and only will buy Persona 5 on day one this year, my game purchases are usually dictated by what's lowest on my Amazon wishlist. It's never a Nintendo game.

    I dunno what my take will be on the Switch. I'll probably get one when it gets a Mario Maker. I need games, and the only Zelda game that I like was the intentional throwback.Edited January 2017 by UnskippableCutscene
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  • Avatar for donkeyintheforest #26 donkeyintheforest A year ago


    A simple plastic box could really make the switch DS friendly. It could even leave room for a usb plugin or integrate power to the joycons if they wanted to charge an extra few bucks.

    But my real hope would be that Nintendo releases Game and Watches for the modern era. You could make something with DS capable tech and built in software (kinda like tiger handhelds) for the price of a new 3ds game these days. A yoshi touch and go or wario ware twisted or other gimmicky type games they could just build the hardware around would be great!
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  • Avatar for donkeyintheforest #27 donkeyintheforest A year ago
    @Compeau Pocket Card Jockey, Pushmo, and BoxBoy would all work great on mobile. Boxboy the could be iffy, but its slow paced enough on screen controls would be fine. If downwell can be serviceable, Boxboy would be no problem. I think pocket card jockey might even be better on mobile.
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  • Avatar for donkeyintheforest #28 donkeyintheforest A year ago
    Lastly, I wouldn't be surprised if Sony realeases a ps4 portable in a year or so (in the style of move controllers copy of wiimotes and ps eye 2 copy of kinect and vr copies, etc). Just a ps4 that docks like a switch as a Vita replacement when the tech becomes cheap and small enough. Would have to have text settings for small screen, but wouldn't have to have much separate support or anything.
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  • Avatar for Thad #29 Thad A year ago
    @boatie If the Switch has a touchscreen (we don't know yet), then mapping is simple enough in handheld mode: use a region of the screen as a map. You can still have a dual-screen-like division even if you only have one screen.

    The problem is what to do when it's docked, and there's really no good solution. Motion controls are too imprecise, even if you make the map *really big*, and navigating a grid with a d-pad or joystick doesn't sound like much fun (I mean, I played the hell out of SimCity on the SNES, but that's a lot less fiddly than drag-and-dropping lines, door icons, etc. onto little squares). Best solution I can think of is a touchpad peripheral, but peripherals come with their own share of problems.

    The best bad solution I can think of is basically a combination of all these things: touchscreen for mobile, point-and-click interface for the TV (joystick probably better than motion controls), touchpad peripheral available for those who want it -- but realistically, most people will probably just play on the screen and not bother with the dock on this one.

    Though again, that all assumes that the Switch even has a touchscreen. If not, then really the only option Etrian has left is mobile.
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  • Avatar for SuperShinobi #30 SuperShinobi A year ago
    I hope the Vita and the 3DS can keep going for a few more years. Sony in particular tends to keep their consoles going for a long time, so I'm optimistic about the Vita. The PSP wasn't discontinued until 2014 and the PS3 is still being manufactured and sold.

    I think the Switch can just about be considered a handheld system, since the screen is 6,2" and it's a standalone device. Initially it was thought to be more of a gaming tablet, but usually devices with a screen size below 7" are not considered tablets.

    I've also been a handheld gamer since the beginning, the US launches of the Gameboy and the Lynx. I've also owned a Gamegear, Turboexpress, Nomad, GBA, PSP and so on, and I'm hoping that dedicated handhelds can continue to exist in their niche.

    It's interesting that Sony and Nintendo seem to have come to the same conclusion at the same time around 2015, when they both decided to concentrate on making games for just one platform. My take on it is that with the increasing demands of modern game development, fully supporting 2 platforms was stretching their internal studio resources to breaking point and hence the decisions were made.

    I don't know if Sony will make another handheld console, but I hope so. Even if it was a device that relied mostly just on third-party games and ports. In a couple of years mobile tech may have evolved to a point, where ports from the PS4's vast library could be relatively easy to make and that could be helpful for a new handheld.Edited January 2017 by SuperShinobi
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  • Avatar for ReptilianSamurai #31 ReptilianSamurai A year ago
    Can we finally get a price drop on costly Vita memory? I'm worried about support for the system, and I hate having to delete digital games to free up space constantly.

    I also love my 3DS, and use the portables more than anything else (and I own all the current gen and previous gen systems). Mobile gaming doesn't cut it. I need dedicated buttons, and the great in depth games that thrive on vita and 3DS.
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  • Avatar for Soapfish #32 Soapfish A year ago
    @Bluenote I'm confused too. What reports/sources have claimed you had to dock to charge? Every breakdown in recent weeks from the analysis of the trailer, to the demonstration on The Tonight Show, to the revealed third party accessories by companies like Hyperkin (which includes a usb car charger for the system) has pointed to a usb c charger whether the system is docked or not.
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  • Avatar for Soapfish #33 Soapfish A year ago
    Here is the third party chargers that points to not needing the dock. Also the general shape/size of the game cards via the game card case.

    http://m.ign.com/articles/2017/01/05/6-nintendo-switch-accessories-announced-by-hyperkin

    http://m.ign.com/articles/2017/01/04/nintendo-switch-accessories-announced-by-snakebyte
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  • Avatar for kevinbowyer34 #34 kevinbowyer34 A year ago
    I for one will miss two screen gaming. I know for what I assume is the majority it was a interesting but ultimately needless feature that just added cost to a device in the end. For me it has served to speed up RPGs (no more pause to map screen!) and created fun ways to play existing games (I still stand by PIkmin 3 as one of the best uses of 2nd screen, and Deus Ex:HR on the Wii U is the way to play it).
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  • Avatar for Jairo-MC #35 Jairo-MC A year ago
    Well, now I'm depressed... All of Jeremy's claims seem reight on the money, but since I love portable gaming, it's sad to see it enter its twilight years... My 3DS is my most played system because it's so simple to star a session and it's also home to outstanding RPGs and great platformers, my favorite genres. I hope the NS can pull of portable gaming aside from big games on the go because I'd definetely miss them.
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  • Avatar for SatelliteOfLove #36 SatelliteOfLove A year ago
    I've never really pined for a particular system unless it brought with it a functionality unavailable to successor lines of formats (aka the dual screen + capacitive action of the (3)DS).

    That will be the only thing I miss from the hardwares alone.
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  • Avatar for Jericho-GM #37 Jericho-GM A year ago
    I think it's a little too early to decide that the Switch is not going to provide true handheld console gaming since we still know too little about it. For all we know, it could provide the same gaming experiences as the Vita. As far as dual-screen handheld gaming though, yeah, that's dead after the 3DS. And yeah, that does suck.
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  • Avatar for donkeyintheforest #38 donkeyintheforest A year ago
    @Jairo-MC near the beginning of the 3ds life Jeremy Parish predicted piracy would be its downfall because it caused some problem for the ds as the end of its cycle. He didn't take constant system updates into account though so it never really ended up being a major issue (sure there are some instances, but they generally get taken down/patched out pretty quick). I wouldn't be too worried yet.

    It seems like us gamer staff each wrote a semi-doom article about the switch yesterday, each from a different angle. I assume it's cause they want to hedge their excitement for when it doesn't meet certain expectations (but beats others). And cause a lot of us are just plain frothing for the switch!
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  • Avatar for docexe #39 docexe A year ago
    I see the Switch more as a portable than as a home console, mostly because, for practical purposes, that’s essentially what it is: A tablet-like device with attached controllers that you can take on the go or use it to seamlessly stream gaming content to a TV.

    Of course, whether or not it will manage to carry on with the legacy of previous Nintendo handhelds remains to be seem. The best case scenario I see for the console is that it will capture the market niches currently served by the 3DS and Vita and keep handheld gaming alive for five more years. But we still don’t know enough concrete details about it to tell for sure if that will happen, and Nintendo can still make fatal mistakes with it.

    We will know for sure next Thursday in any case.
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  • Avatar for docexe #40 docexe A year ago
    @donkeyintheforest They aren’t really “semi-doom” articles, but rather critical pieces, examining the potential challenges and pitfalls that the Switch will face. If anything, it’s a bit odd that most of the team decided to post them on the same day, but I suppose with the Switch event coming next week, it was the best moment to mull on the subject.
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  • Avatar for ping33 #41 ping33 A year ago
    Like others here I have little time to play Consoles. With all the will in the world I still can't muster much time to do so. My 80hrs in Bloodborne in 2014 was a huge investment for me and one I haven't repeated since (hopefully can make the time for Persona 5 this year but that'll be about it)

    Still I completed 13 games in 2016 and ALL of them were on Vita/3DS. I have a backlog on those which will take years to unwind and still purchased a GPD Win and will get a Switch Day One.

    I actually don't want the "bite size" portable aproach though. Am happy to see console expirences (or what would have been Console games in previous generations e.g. SMT4/SMT4:A, DQ, etc) on portables.

    I also think that niche Windows consoles like the Win and the Smach-Z provide a route to the future even if the Switch fails, there is a market for such devices.
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  • Avatar for donkeyintheforest #42 donkeyintheforest A year ago

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