I remember the DS launch. Specifically, I remember a friend of mine--a metal vocalist--shouting into his DS as loud as possible while playing Feel the Love: XX/XY. It was a weird first year of games, mainly because none of us knew what the DS was really capable of. For every early game that used the system and its features well (Advance Wars: Dual Strike), we got one or two more that were just flat-out bad (Sprung).
Fast-forward to today, and the DS rules the world as one of the best-selling systems in gaming history, with total numbers reaching around 149 million DS units sold worldwide--it's the best-selling portable system in history, and the best-selling video game hardware ever in the US. Not half-bad for a system with such a slow start, especially one panned as a "gimmick" and "the next Virtual Boy."
With the just-starting new generation of handhelds, the 3DS has had a relatively slow start. Nintendo has had to do an uncharacteristically early price drop for the system, and its early library was full of ports and titles that just didn't catch the public's eye... however, the 3DS is on its way to doing better in its first year than the DS did.
According to the NPD sales group, 1.65 million 3DS units have been sold so far--with the system about 3/4 of the way into its first year. The DS did 2.37 million total in its first year... and Christmas hasn't even hit yet. This leaves plenty of room for the 3DS to not only match, but fly right by the numbers of Nintendo's original dual-screen handheld.
This is great news to me, since the DS was the system that breathed new life into dead genres and provided the last haven for the classically-trained hardcore gamer, and I can only hope for more from the 3DS. What does this mean to you, though? Will the 3DS live up to the high standards set by its older brother, or will its mild headache-inducing 3D cause it to suffer a slow death against the Vita?