Nintendo 3DS Hands-On Preview

Nintendo 3DS
Nintendo made a huge splash at E3 this year. They debuted a ton of new games, from The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword to Mario Sports Mix to Donkey Kong Country Returns to Kirby’s Epic Yarn. The cream of Nintendo’s crop, however, was a new handheld device, one that will change the way people will game on the go.

The Nintendo 3DS is a reality, gamer nation, and it is glorious.

At first, I thought it was a bit gimmicky. 3D gaming is certainly the big thing right now, but I never had invested any real faith in it. I also wondered just how the hell it was going to work. 3D without crazy glasses? Surely Reggie was out of his ass-kickin’, name-takin’ mind.

Simply put, it’s not 3D in a traditional sense. When I thought "3D," I thought of things shooting out at me from all sides because of the headwear I was sporting. This is 3D in a "creating more depth" approach. Instead of things popping out, the background sinks, creating the same effect. It’s just as awe-inspiring as traditional 3D, but without looking like you belong in Mass Effect.

The device itself is the perfect size: relatively the same size as the DSi. Ergonomics were certainly a main focus of the design, with the button placement feeling natural and comfortable. The 3DS also is a first for Nintendo in another sense: along with the traditional "+" d-pad, the 3DS will sport an 8-directional analog pad. The best way to describe it would be the 360’s d-pad working like the 360’s analog stick, just more responsive and comfortable to the player.

The coolest technical feature on the device, though, is the 3D camera. Yes, you read that correctly. When the 3DS launches, you’ll have the ability to take 3D pictures. I was able to take one, I can vouch for its validity. Picture is like any other camera, but after taking the photo, you can add a focal point to it, creating the 3D image. I snapped a photo of the Nintendo rep giving a thumbs-up, set the focal point at his thumb, and sure enough his thumb was jumping out of the screen, along with the rest of his body. I couldn’t believe what I had just done, but it was tremendous.

The camera may the coolest feature, but the 3D slide adjuster may be the smartest. Instead of requiring the player to play in 3D, the slider will adjust the depth of the image, allowing for normal, non-3D gameplay. Since the 3DS is a more powerful device than any other Nintendo portable anyhow, this will allow those with sensitive eyes to enjoy the full library of 3DS games without having to worry about hurting their eyes.

3DS at Nintendo E3 Conference

Speaking of the library of games, the names that Nintendo announced in support of the device was nothing short of astounding. Franchises like Metal Gear, Assassin’s Creed, Resident Evil, and Street Fighter all having 3DS games announced was like music to a gamer’s soul. First-party isn’t shabby either, with Nintendogs + Cats, Star Fox 64 3D, and a new Animal Crossing representing the Big N. Of course, one can’t talk about the 3DS game library without mentioning Kid Icarus: Uprising, the first true sequel to the Kid Icarus franchise (and one that was 24 years in the making). That announcement alone sent gamers into a frenzy, and it made the 3DS look that much stronger.

The 3DS turned heads and dropped jaws from the time it was announced. I’ve never been one to jump for a console on day one, but the 3DS may be the first time I own a brand new gaming unit the hour it’s released. Nintendo has said that it was launch before March 31, 2011, which is great, but know this, Nintendo:

The sooner, the better.


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Author: Jason Fanelli View all posts by
Jason lives and breathes gaming. Legend tells that he taught himself to read using Wheel of Fortune Family Edition on the NES. He's been covering this industry for three years, all with the Node, and you can see his ugly mug once a week on Hot Off The Grill.

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