Single sticking it to the handheld haters.

Located in a warehouse of wonder – wearing a lovely luminous jacket tailored strictly for safety over style – Nintendo’s president of Europe, Satoru Shibata, announced the first hardware revision of the 3DS console: the Nintendo 3DS XL.

The latest rendition of Nintendo’s money-spinning, glasses-free, 3D handheld follows one simple rule: bigger is unequivocally better, with the  3DS XL’s most prominent feature highlighted in a surprisingly slick reveal.

A dark room was illuminated only by the original 3DS’ dual screens, as the audience watched some in-game action from New Super Mario Bros. 2 unfold. Suddenly, a second pair of screens lit up the room, dwarfing the other device’s display with their imposing size and sexier dimensions.

He only wanted to make you happy…

A Sizeable Difference

Yes, the main selling point of the new 3DS XL are those lovely grandiose screens – 90% bigger than that of the current 3DS, and the biggest ever to grace a Nintendo handheld. Grandma and grandpa will be ecstatic.

But there were other notable changes, too. The XL features a more-rounded clamshell design as opposed to the rigid, rectangular shape of the original. The thinner, adjustable stylus has been replaced by a thicker and uniformed pen. There’s clickable, dedicated buttons for home, select and start – which is by far the most pleasing change for this 3DS owner. The awkward, firm pressing of the home buttons on the 3DS’ built-in flush screen-like thing was a cumbersome and unnatural feeling to say the least.

The beneficial changes don’t stop there, however. Nintendo wisely included a larger battery to power the bigger screens, and surprisingly, the XL’s battery actually out-performs the original (3.5-6.5 hours for 3DS games and 6-10 hours for DS games). The console has also kept its relative portability, with a 46% increase in hardware size and a negligible weight increase of just 101 grams. And, even though Nintendo are usually rightfully lambasted for their online pricing and ownership policies, original 3DS owners will be pleased to hear that hey can transfer all their eShop purchases and 3DS saves to the new device. Fantastic.

All of this added heft and clout will retail for a tantalising £179.99, with the wait lasting no longer than a month for European gamers. But for some angry, deluded, and endlessly demanding individuals, Nintendo has apparently made a huge mistake with the 3DS XL. The crux of their argument goes something like this: “Oh my God. Why hasn’t the new 3DS got a second analog stick! That’s stupid! Sooo not buying one!”

Xtra Large Babies

The 3DS XL is clearly aimed at new adopters or as a luxury upgrade for those who want a larger viewing real estate. But for the jilted gamer who demands everything, the above benefits are instantly trounced by the omission of that ominous second circle pad. In fact, the decision to not include a second circle pad is actually a personal insult to them and their family.

Which of these devices needs a second circle pad? The answer is neither.

You see, these blinkered fools have managed to ingrain the silly idea that, to their minds, without a second circle pad, the 3DS is essentially gimped; so much so that developers would willingly shun the device. The “facts” that they use to support this tireless argument is that Nintendo has already released an add-on for the 3DS, the circle pad pro, thus somehow admitting liability for creating a shoddy, broken product.

Without that second built-in circle pad, the 3DS is unable to provide these tortured souls with a portable Call of Duty game, or provide extra fidelity when controlling a camera. To be honest, they feel so strongly about Nintendo’s proclaimed arrogance, that we all might as well throw our 3DS’ and the fantastic games that have graced the system (each of which miraculously survived by operating with just one circle pad) in the bin. What a load of nonsense.

This Isn’t The Specification I Assumed

This new, distasteful breed of self-entitled gamers also assume that because the necessity for a second-circle pad is apparently extremely high, every single 3DS owner immediately went out and bought a circle pad pro. And the reason they did this was because suddenly, every single 3DS game incorporated the circle pad pro and was inherently better because of it. Well, I’m sorry to burst your bubble guys but that just didn’t happen.

Also, let’s not forget that Nintendo didn’t have to offer an attachment for the 3DS.

Have third-party developers, who according to these eccentrics angrily demanded such an attachment, rushed out to support it with a plethora of games? Fat chance. As of writing there are actually only 7, yes SEVEN games that incorporate (read: incorporate) the 3DS circle pad pro. Neither game actually requires it. Resident Evil: Revelations is a great example of a game that is excellent with or without the circle pad pro add-on. You’d be shouting yourself blue in the face to convince anyone that without attaching Nintendo’s optional add-on the game is broken or somehow worse off.

Also, let’s not forget that Nintendo didn’t have to offer an attachment for the 3DS. And yet, some of us have the audacity to hate them for doing so. How dare Nintendo attempt to please a small minority of customers who wish to play a small minority of games! Away with you, inconsiderate beast!

Forget Me Not

Does anyone even remember the PSP? Revision after revision, Sony shunned the idea of a second analog nub – despite the understanding that many of the games that were designed for the handheld were ported down from the PS2’s library and games which were predominately designed to use dual analog controls. I don’t remember Star Fox 64, Mario Tennis or Mario Kart requiring dual analog sticks, or The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for that matter. I suppose that’s why no one complains about how they control on the 3DS…

If we’re talking about bad hardware revisions, may I present to you the PSPGo.

Ask yourself: what would that do to the 3DS’s form factor?

Unlike the PSP – where the thought of yearning a second analog stick happened almost every second you spent playing a game – genuinely, the only time I’ve actually thought the circle pad pro was needed for the 3DS was when I played Metal Gear Solid 3D: Snake Eater. But let me highlight something about said game: Metal Gear Solid 3 was originally released for a console that was designed around a controller that used two analog sticks. It’s been ported to a device which was designed to function with one analog stick. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that if you port a game that was specifically designed around a particular control scheme, to a device that doesn’t offer that particular control scheme as standard, you may just find that you encounter a few problems. Go figure.

But that doesn’t mean that because one game out of seven actually justifies the circle pad pro Nintendo should re-design their hardware specifically to incorporate it. Is everyone forgetting that the circle pad pro attachment itself isn’t just another circle pad, but the fact that it also adds two more shoulder buttons to the equation? Apparently they are. Ask yourself: what would that do to the 3DS’ form factor? We’d be looking at the 3DS XXXL; cue outrage about how the handheld would suddenly be too big to be considered a handheld.

The Final Straw

The reaction to the 3DS XL has exposed a worrying trend amongst the gaming community. Why can’t gamers ever look at the positives these days? Instead of clutching at straws in an attempt to highlight unwarranted negatives. The XL has better battery, bigger screens, an attractive price point, increased storage, a more functional design; but alas, clearly, all of these positive points are seemingly trivial.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with having genuine and reasonable concerns: will the bigger screens improve the 3D sweet spot? Will the resolution suffer because of the larger screens? Will DS games look better in their native resolutions? Was it right not to include an AV adapter? Instead, every single post to do with the 3DS XL has been plagued by the stupid assumption everyone wants, no, needs, another circle pad, setting common sense and reasoning aside.

Screw it. Let’s just criticise everything shall we? Why the hell doesn’t the PSVita have clickable analog sticks and R2/L2 buttons? These have been part of the industry standard for years now. You inconsiderate monsters, Sony. Your device, by this childish thought process, is a failure also and we should encourage others to dismiss it.

“I’ve gotta’ buy every single piece of new hardware to become the hardware master!”

Finally, the last disgruntled murmurings that have arisen in the wake of the XL’s announcement are perhaps the most reasonable, though unfortunately, still massively exaggerated. Current 3DS circle pad pro owners feel shafted because now their gargantuan attachment won’t work with the 3DS XL, even though said attachment was optional, cost a meagre £14.99, works with the console it was originally designed for, and was even free with Resident Evil: Revelations if you did your research. Oh the humanity!

The 3DS XL looks great, so please, let’s just stop all the hate.

How will they ever survive without a circle pad pro for the 3DS XL which, should be noted, they’re compelled to buy because it’s different to the original. They’re also helpless to buy every colour that their current car comes in; the annually updated kits of their favourite football team; and must have each and every Apple product revision without fail. So what will they do with their original 3DS circle pad pro? Well take that noose off your neck, because Nintendo are giving you, the ungrateful, never-satisfied hardware hoarder your wish. A 3DS XL circle pad pro is on its way. You’re welcome… I’m sure they’ll look forward to your outcries when it’s released, “Why wasn’t this built-in in the first place”, “Holy cow this things so ugly.”

At least people can’t complain that the free Kid Icarus: Uprising stand doesn’t work with the 3DS XL. Otherwise, World War III would have most definitely ensued. But sadly, it’s more than plausible that these certain individuals will continue to fester on the   minor grievances (in this case, almost non-existant ones) instead of the overall picture.

The 3DS XL looks great, so please, let’s just stop all the hate.