Nintendo hasn't only just released a stylish piece of hardware, the Kyoto-based games maker has just launched a piece of hardware powered by elegant software. If only other Japanese companies could follow suit.
Anyone who has ever owned a cell phone in Japan knows exactly what I'm talking about. Heck, if you've played Japanese video games, you know just how indecipherable the menus can be.
Japanese cell phone menus are, generally speaking, an utter mess. They're not instinctive, they're not streamlined, and they seem designed just to piss you off. Likewise for the menus in so many Japanese video games. They just don't make sense.
The menu for the 3DS is elegant and intuitive. There are those who will say it's copying the PS3's "XMB" menu. Screw those people.
The menu works well, and new options are so very welcomed. Players can now stack up to sixty apps on the same menu screen, so it's more than a simple XMB. The flexibility is what makes this shine.
The Game Memo app that I showed briefly is really cool, because players can bring it up while playing game. You can even toggle between both screens, just the top screen and just the bottom screen when making a note. Then, save the note for later use. It doesn't look as though players can, say, write a note on a gameplay screen per se, because the writing is all done on a white screen on the touch area. Still, it's very helpful!
The glasses-free 3D angle might be getting all the attention, but as I play with the 3DS more and more, I'm finding the other applications to be far more interesting — and useful.
Check out Kotaku's walk through of onboard 3DS games.