The Move to 3D for Handhelds

A lot of talk has been going around about 3D, not only in movies but in new handhelds. However, not a lot of great releases have been made in either mediums, aside from niche blockbusters like “Avatar.” It does not take much to realize that 3D is making its way into the market and inevitably taking over. What is to expect of the content of these new 3D platforms? Nintendo answers that question with the upcoming release of the 3DS set to come out during the Spring of next year. However, even though it is the largest selling handheld, will it hold up with the unpopularity setting in on software? Now, what will we expect from the new releases? Well, I thought, as a developer, to give my own input as to what may be accomplished with this new 3D platform, especially with out proprietary accessories (i.e. glasses).
#10 Contra
Being a younger gamer, I’ve always enjoyed the thrilling action/sidescrolling games. Inevitably Contra was bound to make my list. Contra has been a series that has been on the ‘backburner’ for some time, having very few releases over handheld platforms. This new Contra could provide a new angle toward 3D gaming and side-scrolling action shooters.

#9 Professor Layton
I love puzzle games, and Professor Layton has always been a favorite of mine for the handhelds. I do want to see how it fairs on a 3D platform and what unique challenges it will bring that will captivate the 3D. I can already see that Level-5 is going to have a lot of time in creating a unique puzzle environment for the already growing franchise.

#8 Mario Kart
This is interesting, a very popular racing game coming to 3D. This is no surprise to me, however, it does provide its own unique challenges for the already top franchise for racing. There are no doubts in my mind that Nintendo will pull through. Bringing along the new controller for the Wii, they were able to have grand success with that Mario Kart. I am positive they will not fail on this one. It will be interesting to see if Nintendo provides new gameplay elements that cater to 3D.

#7 Star Fox 64 3D
Wow! Another popular Nintendo 64 game is thrown into the mix! This popular flying action game will be very interesting to see come to fruition, seeing as it was one of my first games when I was younger. Star Fox will have some rough challenges, however, catering to old and new fans using a newer handheld platform. What will they add or take away from the already solid title when adding it to the Nintendo 3Ds? These are the things Nintendo is going to have trouble with when resurrecting these older franchises and bringing them to handhelds.

#6 Paper Mario
Now, I played the first ‘Paper Mario’ and I loved it! Role playing games were never as interesting when playing as my favorite Italian plumber! It will be interesting to see how they use a strict 2D art style and adapt it to the new 3D platform. Also, what RPG elements are they going to add to make the game cater to 3D and touch screen? High hopes are up for this game coming to the 3Ds.

#5 Kid Icarus: Uprising
Another surprise! This goes way before Nintendo 64! This game first appeared on the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1986. It was a side-scrolling action-adventure. Kid Icarus has also made special appearances in the “Super Smash Brothers Brawl.” What most interests me is how much are they going to add to this series. New stories, compelling gameplay, etc. Also, what unique gameplay elements might they try from the nearly 20-year-old franchise and how will they market to the older generation?

#4 Resident Evil Revelations
Ah! How can anyone forget arguably survival-horror’s greatest franchise! Now, even though Nintendo usually markets toward kids, I can see why they would make a move toward more adult-friendly games. It will be interesting to see how Capcom will use a fear element when the player is holding a handheld. The issue comes when a player is focused on a large television, they are engrossed in whatever is happening on the screen and the realism just falls on to them. With a handheld, it is difficult to do that since most players are using it ‘on the go.’ It will be difficult to catch that type of immersion. However, I have faith in Capcom and it will be interesting to see how they overcome this obstacle.

#3 Metal Gear Solid Snake Eater 3D: Solid Sample
Now, this one was actually astonishing to see as there has not been a Metal Gear Solid game on a Nintendo handheld at the writing of this article. What will this espionage action bring into the 3D spectrum and what unique design challenges will it bring to Hideo Kojima? Only time will tell and this will be the one to watch out for. It may surprise everyone simply by the unique transition.

#2 Assassin’s Creed: Lost Legacy
Assassin’s Creed is by far my favorite and most adored franchise for the consoles. However, they have had little success with their handheld versions of the game. They provide unique story, but the gameplay has been a little lacking. I’m very curious to see if Ubisoft will be able to learn from those and be able to step up to the new 3Ds AND recreate touch-screen gameplay instead of simply providing an extra story.

#1 Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D
The Zelda franchise has been a huge success over the last decade and even beyond. However, everyone will always remember “Ocarina of Time” for the Nintendo 64. In fact, it is usually on everyone’s ‘favorite to play’ list. Even I occasionally will fire up the ol’ N64 and play through Hyrule. Now, moving this has similar challenges to that of Star Fox. The question will always remain: How and What? How are you going to do it? Porting, redesigning, etc. What will you add and what are the consequences of doing so? This is where the developer will need to take time to satisfy both a newer market and a older market. You still have fans of the game now in their 20s or 30s. How are you going to 1) get them to accept the new 3D platform and 2) love an old game they used to play when they were kids.

In conclusion, there is a lot to look forward to in the new Nintendo 3Ds titles and a lot of unique challenges to these designers. The majority of the big releases, however, seem to be resurrections of older Nintendo 64 titles, which provide their own unique challenges, especially when moving toward a handheld. Although, you also have to remember the 3D and touch-screen elements as will. It will be exciting to see what they can manage when the new Nintendo 3Ds releases next year.


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