Pocket-sized game systems: 3DS v. Nexus 7

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Consoles are dead. PCs are dead. Smartphones and tablets are alive and dedicated mobile gaming has gone to meet its maker. These sentiments are synonymous with 2012, a year in which humans had so far transcended all previous trends, and took up more serious, boring ones ever since the birth of the iPhone — thanks, 2007.


But 2013 is the year that these "dead" devices came out to play. The Xbox One and the PS4 both released, SteamOS became a thing. The words "Linux" and "gaming" were found in the same sentence, and Zelda and Animal Crossing legitimized Nintendo's two-year old effort with the 3DS.

So I find myself at a very curious impasse. As an owner of a first generation Nexus 7, a PC, and a iPhone (sigh), I want something different. A unique gadget that fills whatever void is in my tech collection. I've narrowed my choices down to two very different but very simple devices: 1) I upgrade to the lauded Nexus 7 (2013), or try something even more against the trend 2) a Nintendo 3DS XL.

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Times have changed drastically

Back in the day, I owned a crimson Nintendo DS Lite. I absolutely loved the the little gadget. I stayed up too late solving puzzles with Professor Layton, and adventured with Zelda and the rest of Nintendo's motley crew. But I sold it and moved on. I thought I would never look back at the dying genre that is mobile gaming.

Of course, with the existence of the iPhone and Android, I thought I would enjoy the class of games that followed suit. I didn't. There's no tactility in iPhone gaming, and Android lacks a certain consistency, even with a similar gaming library.

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That's why the Nintendo 3DS seems to make sense. It's a quality, durable system, albeit single-purposed. It's got plenty of high quality titles and I have enjoyed Nintendo games in the past. It received a middling score from Sam Byford last year, but even then he pointed out that "[n]ow would be as good a time to jump on as any for those wanting a little more [from mobile gaming]."

Decisions, decisions. . .

On the flip side, I've lived without a dedicated mobile system for quite some time. The Nexus 7 I currently own is adequate for watching movies on the go, but still seems a bit too cumbersome for extended gameplay. The latest Nexus 7 checks every box for me. It can stream Netflix, run Spotify, play a plethora of games, and is in a smaller form than its previous iteration.

So help me decide, fellow tech-goers. Which should I choose?