Thursday, April 12, 2012

When I Was Your Age... Or Why I Love the GameBoy and 3DS

To play a little catch-up:

The last few months has seen several ups and downs. I'm not going to extol all of those events here. Particularly because, that is not my aim! However, a few items will need to be disclosed. Like the rest of America this time of year, my family filed taxes. Woo!!!! Exciting stuff!!!! Particularly because we were fortunate enough to have a refund this year. So, the DrthGeek family got to have some fun!

Mrs. DrthGeek went the Way of the Tablet. She opted for a Kindle Fire... and has yet to put it down! We'll get to her reactions/interactions in another post. DrthGeek Jrs. 1 & 2 requested an ultimate outdoor "toy"... and no it wasn't a pool! A trampoline is now gracing the confines of our backyard, much to the chagrin of our dogs (who are just now getting used to the new weird machine-beast that has invaded their territory...). For me, I went the way of more "immature" ventures and invested my fun money in a Nintendo 3DS.

Yes, I know... I'm a year behind getting the "new" thing.... The PSVita just came out and is supposed to have better graphics and a stronger game engine... blah, blah, blah.... Not to disparage the Vita: I'm certain it is a fantastic machine. And the touch screens (one on the front and one on the back) really does bring handheld video games into the technological future. But I'm just not into the Vita. Maybe if I win one in some contest... well, then I might change my tune.... But for now, I'm happy with my 3DS!

So, for those that are reading the labels... this post will be dedicated to a review of my experience with the 3DS so far.

As far as a handheld system is concerned, the 3DS is pretty darn cool. It has a dual screen (hence the DS part), with the bottom screen being a touch screen. Those familiar with the previous versions (DS, DSLite, DSi, and DSiXL), neither of these features are "new." What is new, though, is a slider along the top screen that has the images present themselves in wonderful 3D. As far as the size of the console, the DSiXL and the 3DS are roughly the same size (maybe a 1/2  wider and "taller" than a regular DSi or DSLite). While the larger surface area is more conducive to adult-sized hands, the requisite hand-cramp that accompanied the original NES and SNES controllers, not to mention the original GameBoy, is still a strong possibility with extended play.

Nintendo conveniently includes little reminders in their first-party games that are designed for the 3DS, like the revamped Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, about the importance of taking breaks periodically. The glasses-free 3D is made possible via stereoscopic imagery. Basically, it projects two images that are nearly identical but one geared specifically for the right eye and one for the left. Our eyes do the rest, and viola! 3D imagery! If you've seen a movie in 3D in the theater, chances are you've had a headache or two because your eyes are working in a manner I have come to describe as "overtime."

Our eyes were naturally designed to see with depth perception. When we view things using "enhanced depth perception" or 3D, our eyes compensate by going against natural tendencies. This eye strain and headaches can occur. Couple that with a screen that aging eyes (yes, I admit I'M GETTING OLD) can have trouble focusing on due to the small(er) size, and severe eyestrain and other problems could arise. *

But that doesn't tell you why I love this system. Like many Children of the '80s, I was addicted to my NES and my GameBoy. I spent countless hours trying to discover every nook and cranny on the Zelda and Metroid games, as well as master every jump and dodge on the Mario games.I was on a personal quest to play and conquer every popular game released on those systems, thwarted only by the fact that I relied HEAVILY on the generosity of my parent's pocketbooks. Now that I am older, and *ahem* wiser, I get to spend my own funds on those games.

My quest to play all those popular games now has a new outlet. The 3DS, as well as the Wii, has a Virtual Console that for a fraction of the original purchase price, I can revisit classic NES and GameBoy titles on the current systems! That means brighter colors, crisper images, same gameplay, and a fun trip down memory lane!

Future posts will chronicle some of these trips. But for now, suffice it to say I am very happy with my investment, and look forward to future adventures!

* All of that is my conjecture from stuff I learned in Biology class and NOT medically or scientifically proven. So PLEASE do not take this a scientific or medical fact.

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