Handheld Addict

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Sunday, July 31, 2011

3DS price drop reactions

So it looks like the 3DS will be MSRP $169.99 on August 12, 2011. Still hasn't been confirmed for Canada, I think it will happen here also, but not sure if it will be that exact same day...

Anyway, I'm sure a lot of early adopters who paid $249.99 (+tax?) are anywhere from a bit choked to outright pissed off. I've read a few message board posters swearing off Nintendo completely.

Me, I'm.... well, I'm not outraged exactly, not even angry personally. I feel a little bit choked sorta, but honestly... I knew what I signed up for when I decided to become an early adopter. Prices for tech only drop over time, they rarely increase. So no matter what piece of tech you buy; that new 3D LED TV, laptop or handheld gaming device, the price will probably only go down given enough time.

Now of course 4 months isn't a lot of time for a $80.00 price drop-- people predicted a price cut, but come on, NOBODY saw THAT MUCH of a price drop coming. It would suck if you bought a 3DS just before July 12, 2011 (because that would be just past most stores 30 day price protection guarantee)... I could see someone getting choked about that. But then again, there are people who bought DS's the day before the DS Lite was announced. Happens.

What I *DON'T* get in all this, is the huge number of postings about how people who bought the 3DS at launch price of $250.00 need their "head examined" or basically that they did something that was OFFENSIVE. People seem to be ANGRY AT the people who paid full launch MSRP for the 3DS. I don't get it. Why?

I could see if it was a reply to those early adopters who are angry about the price drop, but no, these hostile threads aren't any reaction to griping by early adopters.

Is it because they feel that those people somehow encourage Nintendo to keep its price point at $250.00? That doesn't make sense, but I can't think of why people would be so HOSTILE towards early adopters. I could understand a "Haha, suckers!" attitude, though I think that's simply juvenile to the point that it's meaningless. but why hostility? Like it's a personal attack on those who didn't buy early..... I dunno.

Me, I'm ok with having bought at launch (not like I can go back in time....) I've had problems like the screen issue and of course the price. Sure I'd rather not have those problems. It's tough to be the early adopter who gets to be the guinea pig for all the technical problems of a system. The "reward" is we get to have the system right away & can see it grow from the ground up (if it does)... but really, for me, it's about a lack of willpower & being very easily seduced by the shiny-shiny. That's why I'm a handheld addict.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

3DS price drop to $169.99?

Wow! Today is the first day of the Walmart price rollback, and Future Shop & Best Buy also have the 3DS on sale for about the same price.

But Destructoid is reporting that Nintendo plans to reduce the 3DS price to $169.99 on August 12, 2011! Holy cow, if that's true, that's a fairly steep price drop. And it's not confirmed for Canada yet... but it BETTER be, know what I'm sayin'....

For early adopters (like me) who paid $250.00, Nintendo is offering a bundle of download eShop games. from the Destructoid article:

So they're going to give everybody who bought a 3DS prior to this point the opportunity to download a collection of 10 NES games for free before they hit the eShop. They'll also be giving out ten Game Boy Advance titles, including Yoshi’s Island: Super Mario Advance 3, Mario Kart: Super Circuit, Metroid Fusion, WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$ and Mario vs. Donkey Kong, before the end of the year. These GBA games are currently expected to be exclusive to early adopters or, as Nintendo calls them, "Ambassadors."

All things considered, if I had a choice I'd probably pick the lower price rather than the bundle games. But at least Nintendo is giving us early adopters something. And a lot of those games seem good. Compare that to Sony and their horrible treatment of PSPgo early adopters-- hell, PSPgo buyers in general-- and at least Nintendo shows some customer support.

It will be interesting to see if this price cut is really happening, the gamble is that August 12 is well after the $199 sale price period of Walmart/Best Buy/ Future Shop. but at least in the case of Best Buy & Future Shop, they offer 30 day price protection. So buyers could get it now and get the price difference if the price drops in August.

I'm glad that Nintendo is responding to the lukewarm reception of the 3DS, but gotta wonder if the system is in trouble. This does remind me a lot of the PSPgo fiasco, but accelerated.

However, a bold move like this by Nintendo might give the 3DS enough of a boost to weather the slow period until some big games come out to keep it afloat. We'll see.


Friday, July 22, 2011

3DS on sale for $198?

So I've heard from RFD that Walmart in Canada will be having a temporary price "roll-back" on the 3DS to $198.?? from July 28-August 4, 2011.

[UPDATE]: Just heard that Future Shop & Best Buy will have the 3DS for $200 until July 31/2011.... I'm guessing this is to match the Walmart "sale"?

Not sure if this is true, but if interested, it certainly wouldn't hurt to check it out.

Some people speculate that this is the lead wave of a general price drop for the console. All I can say is, I've seen Walmart do temporary price drops like this on the PSP over the years, knocking around $50.00 off from MSRP from late-2007-2010. And for the most part, they were not indicative of official MSRP changes issued by Sony. They were mostly blips, or just one-off sale prices. If this price drop is even true, I'm not sure if it indicates that the 3DS will officially drop in price over the next year. Maybe?

Anyway, if you're looking for a 3DS: Walmart Canada. July 28-August 4, 2011. $198.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

More 3DS game delays & cancellations

Man... reading the 3DS news lately is depressing. Crush 3D is delayed 'til Feb 2012 "because the 3DS adoption rate isn't high enough yet", I'm not all that into it, but Mega Man 3 is canceled... there are probably even more 3DS games that have been canceled recently--on top of those other canceled games I mentioned that I *am* (was?) looking forward to. I loved Crush on the PSP, not sure if I will pick up Crush 3D, unless it had all-new content... still, I'd really like to see it come out.

Third- party developers jumping off the 3DS like crazy. I hate to be pessimistic, but this feels like the PSP decline in FAST-FORWARD. By about 2006-2007, developers started to abandon the PSP, marking a slow decline from 2008-onward.

But like I keep saying, the handheld market right now is not what it was back then. Some developers felt really burned by the PSP-- it started roaring out of the gate but Sony didn't support it properly so software support slumped. This time 'round, they aren't waiting... they seem ready to jump ship, if they were even "fully onboard" to begin with.

Console development (PS3/Xbox 360) may be seen as more profitable & "safer" than sinking resources into developing for the 3DS... or maybe devs are looking at smartphones as a target for the handheld game market? It still feels like 2 different markets, I don't see the Ubisofts, THQs, Majesco's, etc. developing games for smartphones... maybe they are but I don't know about them. Seems like devs that are tailored specifically to phone games are the ones creating the big name ones.

It's still a bit early to tell if the games will come... and frankly, what are people like me-- who've already bought a 3DS-- gonna do if no games come out in the next 12 months? Ignore their 3DS console some more?

That's what's really disturbing me... sure, launches are usually considered "weak" but the launch was over 3 months ago. I go to Walmart & see maybe 2 new 3DS games that have come out since then.

I try to scour the news sources for any info on *UPCOMING* 3DS games, and yes there are mentions of a few like Driver 3D (I really enjoyed Driver 76 on my PSPgo), and an Ace Combat game. But aside from Starfox 64 3D, there just doesn't seem to be much that has a firm release date.

Maybe I'm expecting too much at this point? Just doesn't feel like the 3DS is picking up any steam, only losing it.


Friday, July 8, 2011

Monster Hunter Tri

I bought Monster Hunter Tri (Wii) from The Source last week, for $9.98... sweet clearance price. Been playing it tons.

I've had Monster Hunter Freedom (PSP) for awhile, and enjoyed playing that last year. So far I'm finding Monster Hunter Tri to be largely a big-screen console version of the PSP game... which is not necessarily a bad thing. The big addition is underwater monster-hunting, and it works fairly well-- very similar to the underwater sequences of Syphon Filter: Logan's Shadow or Super Mario Galaxy.

The graphics are a little bit better than the PSP, and while I busted out my seldom-used Intec Classic Retro Controller to try it out... I actually like using the Wii remote/Nunchuk combo! Still, just having the 2nd analogue stick of a Classic Controller to control the camera takes out some of the frustration of the PSP version.

One problem with Monster Hunter Tri is that it uses pretty much the exact same text box/font style as the PSP version, and it's way too small on the big screen. On the PSP it was ok, but on the TV, it should have been formatted better. Plus Capcom seems to want to have a bit more story content in the Wii game so characters talk A LOT. There is SO MUCH FREAKING READING in Monster Hunter Tri. Of course, no voice work other than a few grunts.

And true to the Monster Hunter franchise, the difficulty ramps up pretty quick. There's a lot to manage in this RPG, and it is a slow-paced game.

I'm not sure there's a lot to significantly differentiate it from the PSP games, but if you like the Monster Hunter games, this is a pretty much a sure bet. I'm surprised how closely it sticks to the formula.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Creative D100 Bluetooth speakers

I picked up the Creative D100 Bluetooth speakers today at Staples for $39.99... it was also that price during a Dell.ca sale a couple months back... I wasn't ready to part with the $$$ back then but when I heard about it being on sale at Staples, I couldn't resist again and took a bite.

CNET has a video overview of it:

The front has the appearance of one "uni-speaker" and in the center is the Bluetooth button, a light (blue when connected, green when not connected) and 2 buttons to control volume.

A closeup of the buttons (sorry for blurry picture)

The back has a hole that could be used as a handle maybe (if you have small hands)... I think it's for the sound quality? There's also an AUX port for wired audio in, but you *can't* increase the volume for that on the speakers, you can only do it from the source device. Also AC adapter port and ON/OFF switch.

No, I didn't peel the plastic off the back yet... yes, I'm one of THOSE types of people.... my Neuros Recorder II+ still has the plastic on it, 3 years later.....

On the bottom there's a panel for 4 AA batteries. The speaker looks like it would be really light & cheap feeling, but it has a surprising sense of weight to it; it's not too heavy, but won't easily tip forward or anything. There are also 4 rubber feet on the bottom for grip.

The sound quality is very good. My favourite earbuds are the Creative EP-610s, so I knew that the sound would be good. The speakers are a nice compact size, not overly small but still easy to lug around especially when using battery power.

I paired it with all 3 of my bluetooth devices: HTC Legend, PSPgo, and Toshiba NB-205 netbook. Initial pairing was easy. The BIG problem is switching between the devices. The manual says that you hold down the CONNECT button for 1 second, the light is supposed to blink then go solid blue, and then you can reconnect to another previously paired device. However, I can NOT get it to blink & go solid blue, thus, it WILL NOT reconnect..... it's very annoying.

I plan to use it mostly with my HTC Legend, so I will try to keep the multiple device use to a minimum. BUT AGAIN... when I disconnect from my HTC Legend and come back to it later, I need to manually go into my BLUETOOTH SETTINGS on my phone, and hit CONNECT. Both of my other Bluetooth headphones connect AUTOMATICALLY with my HTC Legend when I turn on the Bluetooth. So it's not as smooth a process.

UPDATE... after a day of using it, I ended up resetting it to factory default & pairing all my devices with it again. And now it does seem to switch between devices as advertised... just have to give it about 20 seconds to connect. That's one of the problems with Bluetooth-- depite being a "standard", every system seems to have its own quirks: some you have to turn on one first, then the other device-- or vice-versa. Just a matter of understanding the Creative D100's idiosyncrasies...


  • sound quality is good if a little bass-heavy.
  • Battery life is rated at 25 hours(?) for 4 x AA. If true, that's impressive.
  • Small & portable though not too small.
  • Easy to pair devices (if not as easy to switch between them)


  • Power switch is on the back. Would have been easier to access on the front as all the other buttons are there, especially if you have this placed on a recessed shelf.
  • Front is just fabric "speaker cover material" which feels like it could puncture easily.
  • No low battery meter.
  • Casing is a rough matte finish-which is good- but somehow, it STILL manages to be a massive fingerprint magnet! How does that work?

The cons are fairly minor ones, with the power switch placement being my biggest gripe. Also, it could use a proper handle, that would have been nice. But so far this is a pretty sweet Bluetooth speaker if one is looking for that sort of thing.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tetris Party Live

I was going back & forth over which version of Tetris Party to buy for my 3DS:

Tetris Party Deluxe, which is a cartridge that has more game modes, can be playable on my 3DS *or* my DS Lite... but costs $24.99(!) at Best Buy...

Tetris Party Live, which only has the basic Tetris game mode and online multiplayer (which I will probably never use), is downloadable & only playable on my 3DS... but costs $4.99.

Kinda easy to decide when you put it that way.

I figured if I somehow made a horrible mistake and wanted the version other than the one I first bought, I'd be out a bit over $5 bucks, but if I'd bought the cartridge first & realized I only wanted the basic game... that's $28 bucks (with tax) I'd have wasted.

So I've been playing Tetris Party Live for the last couple days. There are actually 2 modes in the basic single player: endless, and "clear 150 lines".

The problem is that I seem to TOTALLY SUCK at Tetris. I've been trying the 150 lines, but by the time I get to 70-80 lines, it simply gets too hard for me to get past. So every game I play ends around the 10 minute mark.

Compare that to Lumines/Lumines II, and while they get very difficult, the difficulty ebbs & flows, so there's a bit of a respite to the relentlessness of the pacing. And I can usually play a 30 minute session of Lumines. But Tetris Party Live, it just speeds up & up until you die (which in my case is very quick)

It's very annoying. Maybe I'll get better, but it just seems a bit, I dunno, harsh with the difficulty ramping up. I don't seem to make any improvement no matter how many games I play. They *ALL* end in about 10 minutes.

And the game generally is very plain. There is a little bit of customization with background & music, but overall it's not a great looking game. Plus, why does it not make use of both screens to play? The top screen is totally wasted, and you can't even choose to display the gameplay on the top rather than on the bottom. The top screen displays the computer when you're playing against it, but it would've been nice if it could've been used better for single player.

Consider yourself lucky, you Lumines PSP players who may've eyed Tetris with envy.... (though Tetris is available on the PS Store so if you were actually envious, you could just buy & download that...) even though Lumines could be considered a "Tetris rip-off", it's still has fairly well-balanced gameplay & great production values to give good gaming sessions, rather than the unrelenting chews-you-up+spits-you-out difficulty of Tetris Party Live.