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Nintendo 3DS: Its 7 key strengths

Handheld gaming just got a shot in the arm

Let's not kid ourselves: Nintendo's 3DS will be a success whether you're interested in it or not.

Buzz for the handheld is building up quickly, helped along by Nintendo putting on events such as today's special 3DS showcase in Amsterdam.

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But there's still a fair few people that aren't completely sold on Nintendo's latest dual screen handheld.

This is understandable to a degree. Before you've held one in your hands, the unproven 3D may come across as slightly gimmicky. Also, Nintendo released the DSi and DSi XL not very long ago, so people are bound to be a little put off by the quick arrival of the follow-up.

But trust us, there's plenty to be excited ahead of the console's launch in March. Here's our list of its key killer features. Have a read, hop of that fence and get on board the train...

HARD AND CORE
Although the Nintendo DS game library is built up of an impressively broad range of genres, for a certain section of its fanbase - namely the traditional hardcore Nintendo fan - it's hard not to feel slightly abandoned.

Ever since it struck gold with the casual market, Ninty has understandably mined the family consumer with a smart, if unchallenging, selection of software.

First-party games are now less likely to be creative, adventurous titles such as Pikmin, and close to what the bitterest of the bunch would call 'non-games' - titles such as 'Cooking Guide: Can't Decide What to Eat?'.

Coupled that with a family-orientated exclusive marketing campaign and it becomes clear why more than a few die-hard, old school Nintendo fans can't see a day when 'hardcore' titles will be hitting shelves each and every week.

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While we can't predict whether this will be the case with the 3DS, its announced roster of titles suggests Nintendo is aiming to create a better balance between casual and core.

Perhaps we may even see Miyamoto come up with a new IP for the hardcore... one that doesn't involve maths or fake instruments.

3DS-WARE
When Nintendo first revealed the DSiWare store, we foolishly dreamed of cool titles like a side-scrolling Metroid game with high-production values, or a new downloadable Smash Bros. game that we could play against friends on the go.

What did we get? Titles such as Animal Crossing Clock and Paper Airplane Chase. No offence, but they don't exactly scream 'taxing challenge'.

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However, the release of the 3DS means a fresh start for Nintendo - and for DSiWare. It has said the 3DS will have a Virtual Console Service with Game Boy and Game Boy Color titles on offer.

Ever the optimists, we're hoping that Nintendo treats the store with a little more respect this time around. Once again, we can't hold back thoughts of new downloadable Mario, Metroid and Zelda games. Fingers crossed.

NINTEND-APP
Apps and App stores are all the rage, thanks to Apple - Nintendo's newest, and perhaps most threatening, competitor. These days, pretty much anything with a screen can run an app, and we're hoping that Nintendo's 3DS is no different - especially considering what the multitask functionality, 3D display and camera tech could provide content creators.

In an ideal world Nintendo would release an API or development kit for the general public to mess with, but given Nintendo's overly cautious nature (see: Friend Codes) we're guessing this might be a wish too far.

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But that doesn't mean we can't be optimistic. Last year Capcom's Haruhiro Tsujimoto said: "Nintendo has been in the hardware business for a long time and I believe they are looking closely at Apple's recent success."

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