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Thursday, Dec. 8, 2011 03:30 am

Handheld hubbub

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The Vita, PlayStation’s next-generation portable gaming device, took the top Hardware honors from the gaming press at E3 2011, but unfortunately, it won’t be available in North America till 2012.

However, on-the-go gamers need fear not. There’s the Nintendo 3DS ($249.99), the world’s first portable 3D gaming system.

The 3DS packs two screens –%u202Fa 3.5-inch, 800x240-pixel upper LCD screen that delivers 3D picture without the need for glasses, and 3-inch, 320x240-pixel lower LCD touch screen that can be used to control gameplay, in addition to the D-pad and an analog “slide pad” that allows 360-degree motion. A 3D Depth Slider adjusts just how three-dimensional objects appear and can even be completely turned off (boring!) if need be. Like it’s older brother, the Wii, the 3DS has Netflix-streaming capabilities too, via a downloadable app from the Nintendo eShop.

The new nostalgia

Twenty years ago, my brothers and I received the best Christmas present ever – the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Twenty years later, I still have it (thankfully, none of my bros object to the usurpation), and I’ve even purchased new S-video cables to help it behave in the best way possible with my HDTV.

Now, while I still possess all my favorite old games, there remain a few SNES titles – specifically, the SNES classics “Final Fantasy III” and “Chrono Trigger” – that I never played in my youth and, as I’ve grown older, I really wish I could play. The problem is the aftermarket (read: eBay) cost on some of these much-sought-after titles is, roughly, $100 or so each.

The good news? Both were released on Nintendo’s Virtual Console in 2011, meaning I can download them straight to my Wii and play them with classic SNES controls via the Wii Classic Controller or new Classic Controller Plus ($19.99).

So, what’s on my Christmas list? Some Nintendo Points gift cards ($10 to $30). With a few clicks of a Wiimote, I’ll be enjoying some I Love the ’90s gaming without having to outbid anyone. 

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