Not Quite Two-Dimentional: How I Would Improve Nintendo’s 2DS

Source: Kotaku.com

An apt metaphor for Nintendo’s consistent track record with hand-helds.
Source: Kotaku.com

As a birthday gift to myself, I bought a Nintendo 2DS and a copy of Pokemon X. As a result, my biggest fear is that I’ll never get any productive work done again.

The more that I used it though, the more problems I started to find. Of course, since I have an obsessive compulsive need to nitpick everything regardless of quality, I’m going to share with you the design choices I would have made in building the 2DS.

Disclaimer: THE 2DS ISN’T BAD

I just want to point out that I don’t think the 2DS was mishandled by Nintendo or that it was a bad idea in general; quite the opposite. I think that it’s a great piece of technology that reaffirms Nintendo’s dominance in the hand-held gaming market (excluding tablets and smart phones which, for the most part, won’t be practical in gaming until they give us proper action buttons).

I think there are quite a few great design improvements. The larger size and more centered button layout better fits my hands, the removal of the 3D gimmick was a welcomed change as it was unnecessary and didn’t work well anyway, and the lower price tag is great for gaming on a budget.

So, if I love the 2DS so much, why am I complaining about it? The answer is simple: nothing improves until you acknowledge what doesn’t work. The gaming industry, and Nintendo in particular, lives off of building up from what was successful and trimming off the dead weight. Perhaps Nintendo will see this article and consider these changes for there next iteration of the DS – unlikely, I realize, but I can still hope.

Make It Collapsible Again

I’ve read a slew of complaints on forums about how people can’t fit the 2DS in their pockets because it doesn’t fold up like it’s older brother. I’ve never had this problem before – presumably because my big, fat, Scottish fanny can accommodate larger pockets.

That said, I can’t help but feel that being able to fold the 2DS for storage would have been nice. I understand that they decided on this to remove a structural weak point in the design (many is the DS that has snapped in two in someones back pocket), but not only did closing the console up make in compact, it also protected the screens from damage while carrying it.

I understand that doing this would mean returning back to the original button layout and losing the one I love now, but I feel it’s a small price to pay for functionality. Something else that will ruin my beloved layout…

Make The Screens Bigger

At the time of writing this, I have a searing migraine from having to read text in head splitting Eye-Strain-o-Vision. My already terrible vision is not helping matters.

The point of compressing the screens was to make room for the comfortable button layout I love so much. But again, it’s a matter of choosing the lesser evil. If my thumbs cramp up, I can stop and take a break until I recover. If my head is throbbing, that’s going to follow me all day long.

Rework The Pedometer and Play Coins

One of the things I love about my 2DS is that it forces me to socialize and be physically active in order to get the most use out of it – something once thought impossible for introverts like me to do. Knowing that, I wish that it would challenge me a little more.

This is a gripe about the 3DS line in general rather than the 2DS specifically. As it stands now, the 2DS gives you a ‘Play Coin’ to spend on in game items for every 100 steps you take with a maximum earning limit of ten coins per day. The problem is that I can reach my daily max just walking across the street to go to class. As you can see, it’s hardly a workout.

There are a number of ways to handle this. You could increase the reward requirement to 300 steps for a coin (three steps roughly equate one meter, so 1000 meters for the max reward), but not everyone is that dedicated. Alternatively, you could have it measure distance traveled rather than steps taken by using a GPS tracker, but many conspiracy theorists would complain that ‘the man’ is trying to watch him through his toys.

Instead, I’d suggest programing an automatic difficulty adjustment feature. Have the 2DS keep a log of how many steps you take everyday and raise the requirements for a coin reward if they consistently and significantly break through the ten coin threshold. This would add a slowly rising challenge to the workout and give the player something to strive for.

Game on!

Not only am I looking forward to playing and exploring my new 2DS, but I also look forward to what Nintendo pulls out of it’s hat in the future. I hope that they continue to improve on the past to entertain and edify us in the future.

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