So maybe they didn’t actually say “E3 is for suckers”. But it’s a clear implication after the latest Nintendo Direct, which announced 3DS news a damn sight more important than anything revealed at E3. Granted, that’s not saying much considering some of the biggest news was that Luigi’s Mansion 2 isn’t actually named Luigi’s Mansion 2, but bare with us: there’s a new 3DS.
Yes, Miyamoto told the world there wasn’t. And to be fair, he may not consider a “new 3DS” to be a “bigger 3DS”. That is, after all, just what it is. There’s no second circle pad, no scaled-back 3-D. Just a rounder, bigger system with slightly improved battery life and a 4GB memory card instead of the current 2GB. We won’t bore you with the details (there is a picture), but we would like to highlight one very important detail: the American version includes an AC adapter. Contrary to initial reports, not all countries are being screwed equally.
The lack of a second circle pad appears puzzling at first, but we can infer that Nintendo has no plans to heavily utilize the peripheral, probably to avoid ruining any good will they earned from the Ambassador program. Third parties remain up in the air, but without a model that includes the second pad we have a hard time believing many will use it, at least to a meaningful extent. The 3DS XL releases August 19 for $200, the same day as the coin-fixated New Super Mario Bros. 2.
NSMB2 will kick off Nintendo’s initiative to launch first-party titles on the eShop the same day as retail. It’s also leading the charge with paid DLC, though Reggie made a point of stating that the content had no set release date as it wasn’t in development yet. Fire Emblem: Awakening will also charge you for DLC, though the game won’t release until 2013. The next Professor Layton game, however, will be putting out one free puzzle a day for a full year. That one hits in November.
As for other stuff you can buy online, Nintendo’s “8-Bit Summer” program will release two Virtual Console titles every week in July. One of them is Wario Land. Buy it. Oh, and that weird Super Mario Land game where he jumps on Easter Island heads and Asian people is on sale. That one’s not as good; ignore that and buy Pikmin 2. The Wii version is $20 now, and the Gamecube version costs twice that. Used.
Kirby fans are also getting a great deal with Kirby’s Dream Collection, which collects all three Dream Land games, Kirby’s Adventure, Kirby Super Star, and Kirby 64 in addition to some challenge levels based on the last year’s Return to Dream Land. Basically, it’s the anniversary game Mario should have had instead of the SNES port he ended up with. Apparently Kirby is the mascot we deserve and the one we need right now since the collection is out September 16.
Also, Smash Bros. U is officially a thing. Sakurai’s still in charge, but Namco Bandai is doing the heavy lifting development-wise with guys like the Tales director and the entire Tekken team on board. Maybe someone can convince Sakurai that tripping is an unbearably stupid concept. We don’t expect the roster to deviate too sharply from the usual first-party focus, so color us surprised if there’s more than one Namco fighter. Some fans might cry foul at Namco’s involvement, but it’s a stretch to assume the Smash Bros. formula will see any big changes. The addition of seasoned fighting developers can only benefit the series, and hopefully the final results will lean closer to Melee than Brawl.
Finally, Pokemon Black 2 and White 2, which appear to put a bigger focus on classic critters, are set for Fall and Animal Crossing for 2013. If there’s one thing to take away from the news dump, it’s this: Nintendo doesn’t need your stinking E3 to make announcements. They’ll do their own thing, even if means flushing their press conference down the toilet.