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Will 3DS win over the hardcore?

Debate: Is the house of Mario returning to its roots?

Before you hoist yourself up onto your pearly white horse and attempt to blind us your modern Nintendo library knowledge - we know. Both the DS and Wii are still very much consoles for the hardcore gamer.

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But there's no getting away from an undeniable fact: These days, Nintendo's primary strategy is to woo the mainstream with games for all the family - via the most gleaming, dirt-free advertising campaign since Mr Muscle buffed up our screens.

But in the bright white, Ikea furnished room of 'New Nintendo-mania' there is a dirty cupboard; filled with hardcore Japanese role-playing games, turn-based strategy games, side-scrolling Metroidvanias and even the biggest gaming boogieman of all - Grand Theft Auto.

Over the past few years, many of us have been hiding away behind its doors, ignoring the muffled sounds of flirtatious laughter and gleeful giggling coming from the casual shindig outside.

However, there is hope for us yet. As Nintendo readies its next handheld console, early signs suggest that the hardcore may yet be invited back to grime up its gaming party.

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The current library of upcoming titles for 3DS includes The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Street Fighter IV 3D Edition and a couple of Resident Evil games. It doesn't get more 'gamey' than that.

Features such as StreetPass, which allows the Nintendo 3DS hardware to automatically communicate with others even in sleep mode, seem to be specifically designed for games such as Pokémon and Dragon Quest - and could even catch the attention of Capcom's Monster Hunter team.

But is this really a return to old for Nintendo; a re-evaluation of the importance of hardcore gamers when it comes to its overall software line-up?

Or is it just an attempt to get an unquestioning, eternally loyal fanbase through the door; before its marketing and development machine once again turns its attention to hard-to-reach housewives and OAPs?

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