During its trio of "Nintendo Direct" broadcasts last night (one of which was aimed at Europeans, one of which was aimed at the Japanese and one of which was aimed at North Americans), the "house that Mario built"--aka Kyoto-based Nintendo Co., Ltd.--announced that it will be releasing a new, larger 3DS system alongside the much-anticipated (by me, at least) New Super Mario Bros. 2.
More specifically, that means Japanese and European gamers can expect to see a shiny new--and surprisingly large (more on that in a second)--3DS sitting on the shelves of their favorite electronics or convenience stores starting on July 28, while their North American counterparts can expect to see the same sight starting on Aug. 19.
The "3DS LL," as the system will be known in Japan (it'll be called the "3DS XL" elsewhere), features a 4.88-inch top screen and a 4.18-inch bottom screen--that's a 90-percent increase, for all of you size queens--and improved battery life (the battery reported will last for 3.5 to 6.5 hours while playing 3DS games and 6 to 10 hours while playing DS titles). Also, it will come with a 4 GB SD card and will sport a price tag of $199 in North America and ¥18,000 (approximately $223) in Japan.
As for my thoughts on this particular revelation: Actually, I think it's pretty cool. I definitely like the idea of being able to play current and future 3DS games on a larger pair of screens, for instance, and I also like that Nintendo has decided (finally!) to stop surrounding the system's upper screen with a sea of black.
Along that same, aesthetic line: I quite like the looks of the all-white model (above) that will be sold in Japan. However, I abhor the ugly, two-tone models that will be sold in my neck of the woods. I also hate Nintendo of America's obsession with the colors red and blue. (Please don't tell me it has anything to do with the American flag.)
Will I be buying a 3DS XL (or LL) anytime soon? Probably not. Although I'm not the biggest fan of the current 3DS design, I don't dislike it so much that I want to throw away $199 or more on this upgraded model. Now, should the powers that be at Nintendo of Japan decide to release an all-pink version at some point in the next year or so, I'll seriously reconsider that position (as I'm sick of not being able to buy and play Japanese digital and retail games on my North American 3DS).