Being the parent of an autistic kid can be a problem for families like mine that love videogaming. Over the past year, my son has had 3 Nintendo DSs and each of them has been destroyed because he’s not what you’d call gentle with his toys. He tends to get frustrated and drop his toys and throw them down the stairs when the batteries die or when he’s having trouble in a game.
With the Nintendo DSs that we’d bought in the past, the flip open design never survived the battering that he’d put them through, usually with the end result being snapped hinges or the top screen being disconnected brutally and beyond repair. We’d lost all hope of our son ever having a portable gaming system that he could use without destroying it.
Finally I stumbled upon an advertisement for the Nintendo 2DS. No hinges and a low price? Could this be the handheld I’ve been hoping for? In a risky move that I was unsure of, I bought one for my son’s 6th birthday last week. Needless to say, I am not disappointed.
First off, let’s talk price tag. The Nintendo 3DS currently retails new for a wallet crushing $199.99 where I live, while the Nintendo 2DS sells for a much gentler $129.99. For a parent or gamer who wants to keep up with technology but not break the bank this is a terrific price for a handheld gaming system. Especially when you have a kid like mine who destroys everything he touches. I’d definitely be more likely to replace a system at that price tag. It also comes with a 4GB removable SD memory card, which is a nice bonus.
A lot of people I’ve talked to about the Nintendo 2DS have complained that it’s not as portable as the 3DS, since it cannot fold in half and go in your pocket. For my son, this isn’t a big issue as we just put it in his backpack. However this makes for another problem, as now you have to deal with the possibility of the screens being damaged from other items stored with it. Nintendo has thought of this possibility though, and for $12.99 I was able to purchase a protective case to store it in. This doesn’t solve the problem with bulk but at least you don’t have to worry about your system being exposed to potential environmental damage.
Let’s move on to design. The Nintendo 2DS sits very comfortably in the hands of adult and kid gamers alike. While playing it I enjoyed the feel of the system in my hands and the wedge shape really helped to stop it from feeling bulky, and in fact helped rest it against my palms. The buttons and thumbstick are logically and comfortably placed and – most importantly – the screen plays 3DS games but without the eyeball murdering 3D of the 3DS.
It’s also very VERY durable. Since buying the 2DS, my son has thrown it down stairs, spilled pop on it, thrown it against a wall and dropped it a few times. After cleaning it, picking it up, wiping it down or whatever first aid I have to apply to the system I am happy to say that it is still in perfect working order. There’s barely a dent or scratch in the system.
The 2DS is loaded with functionality as well. It plays standard DS games as well as 3DS games. The touch screen is very sensitive, especially with the stylus. Which is terrific because kids don’t have to put too much pressure on the screen and risk damaging it. There’s lots in the menu too. A fully loaded options menu, the Nintendo store, camera, Mii Plaza, Mii Creator.
The Nintendo 2DS also has online functionality as well. It didn’t work on my network security settings though. I had to fiddle with my network for a bit to try it online which might prove frustrating for parents who aren’t tech savvy and want their kids to play online with their friends. I won’t lie, it made me miss the days of the link cable. However, once it was online I was able to play with my friends who live on the other side of town.
For parents who are worried about their kids taking pictures of themselves and posting them online or browsing the internet without permission, downloading vulgar user-generated content or otherwise doing things that they’re not supposed to, have no fear, there are parental controls on the 2DS just like on the 3DS and DSi. If you want a detailed list of parental controls, they can be found on the Nintendo website.
The 2DS is a well rounded, durable and wonderfully priced gaming system. It’s retailed cheap but quality built. It fits comfortably in the hands of adults and children and plays the full DS and 3DS library. It’s very functional and keeps the wary parent in mind. With only some minor frustration in the network functionality and the inability to fold the 2DS to pocket size, I can confidently and happily recommend the Nintendo 2DS as a must buy for the budget conscious parent or gamer without fear of buying a cheaply built product.
ONLY SINGLE PLAYER SCORE
Build Quality – 10/10
Design – 9/10
Useability – 8/10
Performance – 10/10
Price – 10/10
Overall – 9/10
(Not an average)