E3 2011: Will Nintendo 3DS' new games be enough?

Nintendo unveiled many classic franchises heading to the Nintendo 3DS, but will they be sufficient against the coming of the PlayStation Vita?

Scott Stein Editor at Large
I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets. My background includes an MFA in theater which I apply to thinking about immersive experiences of the future.
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  • Nearly 20 years writing about tech, and over a decade reviewing wearable tech, VR, and AR products and apps
Scott Stein
2 min read
Luigi's Mansion on the Nintendo 3DS.
Luigi's Mansion: one of several franchise resurrections expected on the 3DS this year. Sarah Tew/CNET

LOS ANGELES--While Nintendo created a splash with the Wii U, its 3DS handheld remains in an awkward state of affairs after being upstaged by the PlayStation Vita debut the day before.

The 3DS has only been on store shelves in the U.S. since March, but the system faces an uphill challenge against a competitor in the Vita that has the same price and arguably more-robust technical specs, along with an impressive assortment of games.

Nintendo 3DS games of E3 2011 (photos)

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Good games are what the 3DS particularly lacks a strong supply of, but Nintendo's press conference focused largely on firing off big-ticket franchise names to boost the 3DS library.

Fans of Nintendo mascots and long-running classics should be thrilled, but the list of games is notably short on unique IP or innovative ideas.

Super Mario 3D: A project already known about since last year, more footage of the next Mario game was shown off. The look and feel is somewhere between classic Mario platformers and the 3D Mario Galaxy games on the Wii.

Mario Kart 3D: Nintendo promises new tracks and a graphical revamp to a new version of the Nintendo DS game and long-running Nintendo kart-racing series.

Starfox 3D: The N64 space shooter has a few updates, including photo reactions from other players in multiplayer modes..

Luigi's Mansion 2: The often-forgotten Nintendo game featured Luigi fighting ghosts in a very "Ghostbusters"-reminiscent way.

Super Smash Brothers 3DS: Mentioned briefly during the Nintendo keynote; all we know is that it's being developed simultaneously alongside a version for the Wii U.

Virtual Console, eShop, Excitebike, and Zelda: Nintendo's long-awaited eShop for the 3DS finally went live on Tuesday, offering up a meager assortment of games. The DSiWare library of games are now available, along with a Virtual Console of classic Game Boy and Game Boy Color games. The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, a classic Game Boy title, is already available to buy, along with a free 3D-enhanced version of the original Excitebike.

Third parties also announced plenty of games, including Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D, Cave Story 3D, Tekken 3D, Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D, and Pac-Man and Galaga Dimensions.

Will the 3DS be able to survive on classic Nintendo games, or does it need some revolutionary software? Sound off below.