By Paul Hunter
Among all the excitement of Nintendo's new hardware announcement during the company's E3 press conference it might be easy to gloss over the news that the Nintendo eShop was official launched -- but there are many reasons why you should be paying attention. Top of the list is news that Nintendo is giving away a free copy of the NES classic title Excitebike to everyone who downloads the first system update for the Nintendo 3DS, which includes the Nintendo eShop, among other updates.
Excitebike is the first of many in the new "3D Classics" line of games which will appear in the Nintendo eShop. These re-mastered games will feature 3D enhancements adding a whole new layer of depth to classic games. Additional functionality may also be added, and for Excitebike this includes a vastly improved track editor which lets you save up to 32 creations, but even more interesting is how the 3D slider actually changes the perspective and shows more of the stadium's bleachers in the distance.
The eShop is the most robust online store yet on a Nintendo platform, eclipsing that of the Wii and DSi. Nintendo 3DS users will be able to view and download Virtual Console content including Game Boy games Super Mario Land ($3.99), Alleyway ($2.99), and Radar Mission ($2.99), and the Game Boy Color game The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening ($5.99). Nintendo has stated that it plans on adding Game Gear and TurboGraphx console games at a later date. It looks like there won't be a price race to the bottom as Nintendo has put a floor price point of $1.99 on games that appear in the Nintendo eShop.
More than 350 Nintendo DSiWare games will also be immediately available for purchasing with the launch of the Nintendo eShop. For those who want to browse before buying, up to six dual-screen screen shots or six dual-screen videos can be viewed for each title. Each game also includes a game overview and feature highlights.
Nintendo 3DS game trailers are also available for download, including a vast selection from Nintendo's E3 line-up. Trailers for upcoming Nintendo 3DS games such as Mario Kart, Luigi's Mansion 2, Super Mario and Kid Icarus: Uprising can be downloaded directly from the Nintendo eShop and viewed in full 3D on your Nintendo 3DS.
In addition to games, the Nintendo eShop will also include movie trailers, music videos and comedy clips. Already added to the digital shop is a trailer for the new Green Lantern movie by Warner Bros. Pictures and I was pretty impressed by the quality of the visuals.
Nintendo eShop will come out each Monday, however the digital store won't be updated until Thursday.
As an added incentive to visit the Nintendo eShop, a free Pokédex 3D application is available free of charge, and lets you view more than 150 Pokémon characters found in Pokémon Black and Pokémon White in full 3D. Only 16 random Pokémon will be unlocked per handheld and in order to collect the rest you need to download from other people using the Nintendo 3DS SpotPass feature.
If you own a DSi or DSi XL the new system update will allow you to transfer previously purchased DSiWare games to your Nintendo 3DS system.
Other features/enhancements that went live with the Nintendo 3DS system update is the addition of a free Internet Browser that has the capability to display 3D images on websites that display 3D content, automatic future system updates, and improved stability and performance of the overall system.
To install the system update on your Nintendo 3DS, go into "System Settings" from the Home Menu, select "Other Settings" and scroll to the last page to select "System Update."