I know what you’re thinking. It’s just another online store. Why should I give a damn? I won’t lie; I thought the same thing. While I was more than happy to check it out, I too expected nothing new or surprising from the eShop. Well, Nintendo’s telepathic spies apparently did a great job of invading these hollow, caffeine-flooded heads of ours, because they have a few great answers for you.
Nintendo realized that this new store had to offer something a little more than the Virtual Console and DSi Shop that most of us have grown accustomed to. Oh, the basics are there, such as an easy-to-use menu system and plenty of games to choose from (old favorites and new additions). The 3DS eShop goes beyond that by featuring small, much-appreciated improvements over the old system, along with a nice present for those who are willing to check it out at launch on June 6.
Do you like handouts? Of course you do — everyone does. You’re in luck, because Nintendo has decided to give customers a little gift for attending the party early: Excitebike 3D. For 30 days after the eShop’s launch, 3DS owners will have the opportunity to get their hands on this classic remake at no cost. I can assume you're like me and have never wondered what 8-bit graphics looks like in 3D, but why should that even matter? It's a free game!
Another costless addition for you cheapskates out there is Pokedex 3D, which will be free indefinitely (I was told to emphasize the indefinitely.) Seeing as how Pokemon is the best-selling franchise on any Nintendo handheld, it only makes sense that they include a deep, fully-functioning index for those of you still obsessing over your Black and White games. Catch ‘em all and update it yourself, or snag the info from someone else, Street Pass-style. Professor Juniper would be so proud.
The best part is that you’re able to view every Pokemon in fully rendered 3D, either from the Pokedex itself or by using the 3DS camera to scan special "AR Markers" in real-life magazines or ads. This was kind of awesome, I’ll admit: Once you aim your camera at these specific symbols, a 3D model of that pokemon appears over it in real-time for you to rotate around, photograph, and edit into other photos of friends. My goal: to photograph a Mew sitting atop Bitmob Editor Dan "Shoe" Hsu's head. Get it? Mew Shoe/Mu Shu. HA! I kill me sometimes.
Pay with real money
Simply put: Nintendo has told its pesky points system to bugger off. What annoyed me the most about these stupid payment plans was that I was using digital currency to pay for…digital currency. It was the most ass-backwards method that pretty much nobody liked. Thankfully, the boys at Nintendo heard the ubiquitous cries of gamers unsure of whether or not to buy 1,156 Happy-Joy points or 2,532 Happy-Joy points.
You’re still required to buy currency in chunks, but at least now you’re paying dollars for dollars. Payments start as low as $5 and go up to as much as $100. Thank you, Nintendo, for helping people know just how much they’re spending on a game they’ve probably already bought 14 times before.
Unsaved credit info
I know…I’m jumping on the PSN-booboo bandwagon here, but an online shop that doesn't store your personal information in an account server is going to be a big selling point now. To the Playstation Network users who were narcissistic enough to think hackers wanted their $500-limit credit card: worry not. Your information is destroyed with every completed eShop transaction. Poof. Gone forever.
That's the tradeoff, though: You have to provide all of your information every time you make a purchase. Hey, that’s the sacrifice you make, folks. You can either have convenience or complete security; you can’t have it both ways. Just be glad that you won’t have to explain to your wife why your Visa was charged with a subscription to Busty Beefeaters Monthly.