Nintendo 3DS

System Update Now Available

Here's What's Included

December 7, 2011
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It’s been a rough year for the 3DS. Things haven’t gone quite as planned, but Nintendo is working hard to right the ship and get the handheld back on track. Bringing Mario to the system with Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7 was certainly a good idea, and now there are some new features for the 3DS thanks to a system update. Here’s a brief look at what’s included.

For many of you, the most exciting additions will be to the StreetPass MiiPlaza. Joy of joys, there are new hats to collect for your Mii with Find Mii II; the sequel to the exciting adventure game starring your Mii and the Miis you meet via StreetPass. Okay, that may be overselling it a bit, but I am pretty excited for this new simple adventure game, it was one of my favorite activities for the 3DS back in the early days when there wasn’t much else to do with it. Some new features for this include the ability to hire past allies (i.e. people you’ve already met via StreetPass), although they cost more coins than the usual heroes for hire. Also, this version features branching pathways, the ability to create teams, you can buy potions during battle, and there are more characters to rescue. And of course, new hats (I already picked up the new Yoshi hat, yeah). Other new features include the StreetPlaza Map which colors in regions when you meet people (so far, all I have is New Mexico). There’s also a new section that lists your accomplishments, which…well, that’s pretty self-explanatory. The new music player lets you listen to your favorite StreetPlaza tunes, should you be so inclined. The Slide Show lets you look at the puzzles you’ve already collected all the pieces for, and speaking of the puzzles, there are some new ones for you to collect pieces for, and some of them feature grid squares that are pink, meaning you can’t just use coins to buy pieces for them. Good fun, and I’m glad we finally got some new stuff to do here.

Another new addition via the system update is the new Nintendo Zone. Not entirely sure what we’re going to get out of this, but it sounds like it has promise. If you are in a Nintendo Zone (not sure yet how to find those), you can get “unique content” and do things like watch videos, explore games, preview 3DS games and enjoy “special offers and promos”. Again, not quite sure what to make of this as I haven’t come across a SpotPass Nintendo Zone as of yet, but it might be kind of cool.

As promised, the 3DS camera also gets an update. You can now shoot 3D videos, up to ten minutes worth. You also get some fancy features like “stop motion” and “montage” to do stuff with, although these modes won’t record any audio. Truthfully, I don’t use the camera all that much. It sounds like a good idea, but there aren’t any ways to share this stuff without showing them on your 3DS. Now, to a certain extent that makes sense, seeing as there aren’t any devices that can show these things in 3D like the 3DS does. Still, even being able to share them with friends who have 3DS’ would be kind of nice. So while the addition of shooting 3D video is a cool concept, since I won’t have very many ways to share said video, it’s not something I’m particularly excited about.

Now if you were hoping to get some updates on those promised GBA games for being apart of the Ambassador Program, I’m sad to say I didn’t see anything about that. However, there was a new “applications” section in the eShop which has stuff like calendars and calculators and instrument tuners and…well, could this turn into “there’s an app for that” for the 3DS? Wouldn’t be a bad move, really, but I don’t know.

So that’s pretty much it. All in all, not a bad system update, but that stuff I’m most excited about all has to do with the StreetPass MiiPlaza, and while the idea of shooting my own 3D videos is not a bad idea, it just feels a little limited. Nintendo Zone remains something of a mystery to me, so the jury’s out on how exciting that new feature may or may not be. Does this make the 3DS any more “tree-worthy” for Christmas? Nah, not really, but it doesn’t hurt to have more features either.

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