TED OFFGRID SERIES
NINTENDO 3DS XL
I acquired one of these recently via a swap and it really has brought back the old GameBoy days for me, from 1987! In a world of mega-clever gaming consoles and mobile phones doing a half-decent job at hand-held gaming, you'd think that there's not a place for a unit like this anymore. But you'd be wrong!

In terms of being OffGrid and mobile, I don't think this can be beaten, in terms of buying new, now. It's a true stand-alone personal gaming solution with its own screens and own battery and even folds away nicely for pocket carrying. The carts, which range from about a tenner to forty quid are stand-alone and games can be played in isolation, like in 1987. Yes, you can hook up with a Nintendo account if you like and do all sorts of fancy stuff online if you're connected to wifi, but that's not the point and the USP of this in my experience. Actually, the best purpose of going online is to 'buy' games which might be on special offer, but I'd still rather have the physical Cart!

The point is, that it's personal, small, has a rechargeable battery which seems to go on and on (they say about 7hrs screen-on time, but I seem to get more with multi-session use, over continuous use), can be taken and played anywhere, has games not bloated out with ads (but charge a fair price for permanent use) and is just the right size for casual play. The bottom screen is resistive - I guess capacitive would be nicer, but then it comes with a stylus in a hole to slide out, which wouldn't then work - and the main screen is in the top half. The two screens work in tandem in different games to display different views and data, depending on the game. It's kind of nice and retro to use buttons over touch-screen!

The controls are still very 'GameBoy' though some additional have been added, for example, as well as a 'cursor' 4-way control there's a kind of floating multi-directional 'circlepad' which works well, just above it. There's a kind of 'nipple' thing over on the right which apparently has some uses/moves in some games, but I've not found any! There's a slider on the left for volume and a slider on the right for 3D. The 3D slider allows stepless levels of the 3D effect in some games, but to be honest, although it's fun to see working, I have turned to zero most of the time for the feeling of a looming migraine! There's also the usual ABXY execution buttons on the right and (now) four buttons on the back for some uses/moves in some games.

The release of the Nintendo Switch of course has just happened and I (did) have a Nintendo Wii U here, which has a hand-held gaming pad which can be charged and used away from the main console, but it's huge and really not portable in the same way. The other consoles all tend to be centred around a TV screen with (best case scenario) the ability to take a part away for portable use. But these solutions don't come close to the pocketable 3DS XL and are usually much bigger. The Switch is a possible challenge, but once the controllers, left and right are put on the small screen, it becomes huge again.

I don't think there's a better solution for the stuff I'm looking for in terms of personal gaming, taking into account all of the above, though I do accept that it's not cheap. But it's less than the cost of a half-decent smartphone. Yes, it doesn't do all the things that a smartphone can do, but then we go back to the divergence/convergence argument - when your phone's battery is dead, you can, still, at least, play some games! (Be interesting to see what happens with the Motorola Moto Mod Gaming Controller for their Z Series phones, but then the developers have to start from scratch writing new games to work with it, presumably.)

If you're happy to be amused by a "3+ yrs" (!) gaming experience in a mid-1980's style, with colourful, rich and great games - like Mario stuff, Tetris or Angry Birds (with no ads!), over realistic 'serious' games on consoles on TV screens, want to have it with you in a pocket, want a good battery life, great gameplay and lots of fun, go get one! The improvement I would have liked, I think the only one, is being able to use AA batteries. Recommended.
Shared publiclyView activity