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The Kind Of Mid-Life Crisis Spending I Can Get My Hands On

Well, I feel sort of sheepish about mentioning how sporadic and random my work schedule was last week because, quite suddenly, substitute work has nearly dried up completely, and I find myself with a glut of free time to fill.  (I suppose, technically, randomness should reflect the occasional lack of time.)

To these ends, I have made a rather radical move of spending $250 on a Nintendo 3DS XL and the only 3DS game I now own, Brain Age: Concentration Training.  I'll be living on a shoestring budget for awhile but, hey, if I did not spend it on this, I probably would have spent it on two more hard drives to complete a RAID 1+0, and is a moderate speed increase to my existing RAID 1 array really less frivolous?
Brain Age: Concentration Training is a bit of an odd duck, and is better witnessed instead of listening to anything I have to say about it - take it away, IGN!  This game has pretenses of science in its design, but do they really hold water?  Well, I'll tell you this much: it's genuinely challenging, and quite encouraging to see me doing better at the games the more I play them.

It was a sudden purchase that came about from an epiphany that the Nintendo 3DS XL is all the gaming hardware I could really use.  Next gen consoles are hurtling towards a cliff believing that enhancing television or integrating social media is the wave of the future, but I'm a gamer: I just want great games to play.

To those ends, I need a big, beefy gaming machine that can run the latest and greatest... and, as it turns out, I already have one.  My personal computer has everything next gen consoles will have, but less overall focus-group-produced useless garbage... yes, I found a way to rationalize exclusive games for the consoles as actually being a bad thing.

Thus, the only niche left to fill was in portable gaming, to which there is either the Nintendo 3DS or the Sony Vita, and the general consensus is that the 3DS's game library is bigger and better.  (I don't know - my hipster props think that perhaps the obscure Japanese titles on the Vita would have bee a good thing to have access to... maybe later.)
Bigger is not better... except when it is!
So welcome Feburary of 2011, me: I now have a Nintendo 3DS.  Actually, a 3DS XL, a variant introduced just last year that addressed a great deal of the fault the initial 3DS has.  There's not a lot of difference between the two, but I can tell which one I would prefer:
  • Making the screen a lot larger is more than just cosmetic, it also introduces a more forgiving aperture of error for your orientation with the screen in viewing the true 3D stereographic effects.
  • The battery lasts 86% longer.  It's still not quite into the double-digit hours the DS was capable of, but at least it's reached the higher end of the single digit spectrum.
  • The Nintendo DS reverse compatibility is a bit better on the 3DS XL due to the way the screen aspect is handled.
About the only thing the original 3DS does better is portability, as the XL is larger by design - certainly too large to fit into anyone's jean pockets.  But apparently the XL is intended as a complement, rather than a replacement to the original 3DS, as both models remain in production.
Obligatory animated .gif.  It seems the 3DS is keeping the Nintendo DS tradition going strong.  In fact, sales are better than ever, according to Wikipedia.
Considering one would have been better off waiting for the 3DS XL to come out before buying the first, you might confuse my having resisted getting the initial Nintendo 3DS as genius-level frugality.  Nah - I did not even have a job in 2011, I could not have hoped to afford it!   I am a bit disappointed (but not completely surprised) to see that GameSpot was not interested in crediting me anything for my old Sony PSP or Nintendo DS on account of how they both were damaged... I suppose I have something to eBay, now.

That said, there is an angle in which a frugal person could work here, and that with is the fine folks at Gamefly.  I have restarted my subscription that, for a mere $22.95/mo, permits me access to the better part of the Nintendo 3DS library via their rent-by-mail mechanic.  Allow for a week to play each game and half a week for delivery (it's only one-way because sending them back will send the next one on the list immediately upon it being scanned by the postage service) and that can work out to about six games a month, which is a relative bargain considering each game costs about $35, give or take.  If there's any games I really like, I'll either get them from Gamefly (which often gives you a pretty good deal to keep what you're renting) or download them direct from the Nintendo eStore.

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