On February 26, the Nintendo 3DS goes on sale in Japan. Folks want the hardware (bad), but do they want the games?
The 3DS is a compelling piece of hardware. It has that what the French call I-don't-know-what which will appeal to the masses. Players can see 3D with no glasses! Brilliant. And it has Mario games. And Zelda games. But not at launch. At launch it has pet simulator Nintendogs Plus Cats. Yeah.
Eight games will go on sale on February 26: Winning Eleven (Pro Evolution) 3DS Soccer, Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition, Samurai Warriors: Chronicle, Tobidasu! Puzzle Bobble 3D, nintendogs + cats, Ridge Racer 3D, Combat of Giants: Dinosaurs 3D and Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracle.
Launch line-ups are often underwhelming, but this is really, really underwhelming. Compare it to the launch line-up for the original Nintendo DS. And 3DS games are doing okay, but not quite yet lighting up the Amazon Japan game charts, a decent enough barometer for sales. At the time of posting, Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracle is ranked 16, while nintendogs + cats (Shiba version) is 46, Super Street Fighter IV is 58, Samurai Warriors: Chronicle is 63, Ridge Racer 3D is 68 and the other games are...somewhere over 100 on the ranking (Nintendogs + cats Toy Poodle version is 125, Dead or Alive: Dimensions is 145, Winning Eleven 3DS Soccer is 157, nintendogs + cats French Bulldog version is 211, Tobidasu! Puzzle Bobble 3D is 429 and poor Combat of Giants: Dinosaurs 3D is 587.
Those numbers will no doubt change between now and launch day, since people will want to get something. And I expect Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracle (which I'm buying) as well as Nintendogs + Cats (which I'm not) to do well. The thing is, the whole thing feels so lackluster, so slapped together. For someone who is excited to get his hot hands on a 3DS in a matter of days, I'm not so excited about what there is to play on it. Of course, more titles like Steel Diver will hit by March, and no doubt truly interesting games are in the pipeline. But for now, all I gotta say is good thing it runs DS games.