Nintendo 3DS: When Life Just Isn’t 3D Enough

Ninetendo DS
The Nintendo 3DS's graphic effects show the potential for this kind of game system.

Take a Nintendo DSi and make it bigger. Then, give it the ability to play 3D games. Finally, take away the obligatory 3D glasses. That’s right, the new portable system for Nintendo is out and it plays 3D games without the glasses.

The Nintendo 3DS is finally upon us and it is revolutionary.

The system sticks with the dual-screen design its predecessors sported, with a display and a touch screen. Even though the touch screen is relatively smaller than the display, the quality of the experience makes up for it. The system has an adjustable slider for the 3D which allows users to set the amount of 3D the system incorporates into the games. With one end as OFF and the second as 3D, consumers have a lot of liberty to either keep their system 2D or just have a bit of 3D.

Although the list of 3DS games currently available is pretty slim, the system does come with a number of games. and, if anything, those few are just a preview of what the system can really do. 

When you first open the box, you are greeted by the system and a set of AR –“Augmented Reality” — cards. The AR games use the cards to, for lack of a better term, augment reality. You place a card on a flat surface like a table and point the 3DS’s outer camera towards it. Once the system recognizes the AR card, an image of the table appears on the display and the game begins with the appearance of a yellow box; shoot an arrow at the box and the image of the table actually morphs and a number of trees pop up with more targets to shoot. After you shoot those targets, the portion of the table the AR card is sitting in begins to morph and bounces up and down as if something was trying to break out of the table. I won’t spoil the ending (since it’s the most fun), but it’s entertaining to see the game follow the player as he moves around. You can see all of objects popping out of the table at many different angles as long as the outer cameras have a clear view of the card.

The other in-system game is Face Raiders. When you start the game, the system asks you to align your face with the markers on screen and take a picture. Your picture then lifts up from the surface of the screen and morphs into the shape of a ball wearing what resembles the helmet of a samurai. The avatar, wearing your own face, then begins to attack you while you move the camera to try and dodge its attacks while also shooting it. This where the 3DS’s ability / to recognizes shifts, graphics, and reality really shine. The camera will actually recognize objects that are close to the camera, so when you move the camera in the direction of, say, a book on a table, your enemies will bounce off the book like it was actually in-game.

Overall, this is an amazing system with a lot of potential. Sure, some of the critical and restrictive windows you have for playing games in 3D are a bit tedious– plus, the headaches can really aggravate you — but the system is really fun and enjoyable. There are a small number of games available, so if you get bored with the out-of-the-box games you can go out and buy an actual 3DS game. With this system you really are investing for the future: titles planned for the system include Kid Icarus, Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D, Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time, and many, many more. Aside from the games that will be coming out, I’m excited to see if developers will take advantage of the system’s capability of augmenting reality and being able to shift the camera accordingly, because the preinstalled games are mere tech-demos.

Players can immerse themselves in the game by being able to freely move around and view what they want when they want. For the first time, players are in full control of the game and this system allows them to make something boring, like a simple table with books, and turn it into a fun experience with just a placement of a card or the simple task of taking a photo.

The 3DS is an impressive system and it’s not something anyone will regret buying.

Fact Box:

  • Motion sensing capabilities
  • Easy,  customizable menus
  • Backward capability (can play DS games)
  • Adjustable stylus
  • Takes 3D pictures
  • 840 x 240 pixels (top display screen)
  • 320 x 420 pixels (bottom touch-screen)