Nintendo announced the Nintendo 2DS today, causing thousands of websites to report on it with the preface, “This is not a joke.” Such a disclaimer is unnecessary since anybody who is familiar with Nintendo’s sense of humor knows that they prefer to get their laffs by terrifying small children.
Slated for release on Oct. 12, the 2DS is a $130 portable console that plays Nintendo 3DS games, but in 2D. I guess this retroactively recasts the original DS as the 1DS, the beloved portable that spawned such mega-hits as Straight-Linin’ It and its follow-up, Straight-Linin’ It 2: Going Vertical.
Unlike every other DS/3DS made so far, the 2DS does not have a hinge—it’s just a flat slab of screens and buttons and other gewgaws. That gives it a strong resemblance to the Baby’s First Computer! things that used to clog Toys ’R’ Us shelves prior to the modern-day practice of just giving kids an iPod Touch so they’ll shut up already. And indeed, this lower-cost device (the full-fledged 3DS runs a little under 200 bucks) is probably aimed at kids, because they’re too young to understand the concept of dignity.
The lack of a 3D display could be considered a crippling factor if anyone used that feature on the 3DS for more than 15 minutes before ignoring it forever. Raise your hand if the 3D slider on your 3DS is set to anything but “off.” Okay, now put your hand down, because this is just an internet article, and I can’t actually see any of you, and I just wanted to make you look foolish among your coworkers and/or loved ones. The point is that most 3DS units are already 2DS units in practice, so the main difference here is that the 2DS is flat. Maybe you like flat!
The 2DS has echoes of the Wii Mini, a low-cost version of the Wii that was unleashed in select markets a few months back. Its most notable features were that it was a stripped-down piece of crap and that it was red. The 2DS, however, also comes in blue.
The Wii Mini was released only in Canada last December and in the U.K. earlier this year. After that, Nintendo told the Wii Mini that it was stepping out for a cigarette break and then hurried out of the room, locking the door behind itself. And so the Wii Mini sits in a forgotten supply closet somewhere at Nintendo headquarters, still rehearsing lines for the big U.S. launch that will never come.
Now it is the 2DS’ turn to be the semi-functional young console full of grand aspirations, hoping to make it big from the bottom end of Nintendo’s hardware lineup. The 2DS has visions of GameStop endcap displays, maybe even its own TV commercial! Perhaps a celebrity will be photographed using the 2DS—maybe Eli Manning or that woman who oscillated her vagina on the award show the other night. We will indulge these fantasies because a new gadget has been born, and the nest is still warm. The chill of reality will arrive soon enough. For now, little console, dream.