No, the iPhone 5 won’t kill the Nintendo 3DS

I’m writing this article in response to the ridiculous one that Slash Gear made yesterday.

First off, I consider myself first and foremost an Apple fanboy (since I admire everything Steve has contributed to the industry and buy almost every iDevice that comes out), and of course also a Nintendo fan. But, no, the iPhone 5 is not killing the Nintendo 3DS any soon, and to think otherwise is to be short-sighted or a little “noob” in the videogame industry.

The main thing I’m going to talk about is the incredible difference between REAL gaming and CASUAL gaming.

Look, for most people who jumped in the “casual smartphone games” bandwagon this year, Fruit Ninja, Doodle Jump and of course Angry Birds is all they care about. But for the rest of us “hardcore” gamers, yes, there is an enormous difference between the launch of a new Angry Birds and something like Super Mario Land 3D.

 

Super Mario Land 3D awesome

 

A game like Super Mario Land 3D is like poetry in motion, the Casablanca of games, something that you can play for hours and hours without being bored. You can start playing at the bus (that’s what handhelds are for) but you will be craving to continue with your adventure once you get home.

And yes, I know that reviews haven’t popped in yet but coming from the creators of Super Mario Galaxy 2 it would be foolish to think that this won’t be a masterpiece.

The most gruesome assumption in that article is that every game is equal and gamers no longer care if they play a 5-minute toilet experience (aka Fruit Ninja) or a “real”, full-fledged Nintendo game.

Second gruesome assumption: thinking that playing with a real analog stick and a touchscreen is the same experience. Sorry, but the iPhone 5 (or any smartphone) isn’t going to take over the videogame market any time soon for this very reason.

 

Angry Birds fail

 

Try playing a long RPG (or a FPS) with a touchscreen. You fingers get hot and sweaty and frustration ensues when you can’t even look around decently to get some kills. In the end it’s always the same,you just close the game or delete it altogether.

What works in an iPhone is something like Jetpack Joyride or Fruit Ninja, games that use the full potential of a touchscreen but keep it really simple. You just wouldn’t be able to play Mario or Zelda without “physical” face buttons or an analog stick.

I’d also like to point out that although until now the 3D effect hasn’t been more than a visual (although enjoyable) gimmick, this is about to change when new (not 10-year-old remakes) games start coming out.

Super Mario 3D Land, for example, has some sections where you need the added deepness that the stereoscopic effect provides to be able to jump correctly. And Zelda is expected to use the 3D effect (creatively) to a great extent.

 

Nintendo pwns Apple?

And about the sales: this is probably a point in which most people are not getting the right impression.

According to Wikipedia, in the first 4 months of the original DS¡s life (31-12-2004 till 31-3-2004), the system sold 5.27 million units, and in approximately the same time span (a little more) the 3DS has sold 4.32 million units. Less than Nintendo expected, yes, but not anywhere near the catastrophic predictions people are making.

Finally, the launch games of the DS were also quite terrible, with the honorable exception of Super Mario 64 DS.

It seems that the same story is repeating for the 3DS, and everyone knows how that ended: all Nintendo DS models combined have sold the staggering amount of 144.59 million units, making it the best-selling handheld game console to date.

To sum up: the iPhone 5 is going to be an amazing piece of technology and many of us are going to be there at the Apple Store launch line, but the Nintendo 3DS is what truly covers our “true gaming” needs on the go. And neither the iPhone 5 nor any other smartphone is ever gonna change this.