Today I was lucky enough to have a peak into the future of portable gaming with the Nintendo 3DS. After ascending to the 29th floor of a respectable looking office block in London, me, LorD and Xander from UFO Gamers got to play with the device which, although is still in its prototype phase, it’s very impressive. As a handheld, the 3DS felt sturdy and an appropriate weight for something that should be held roughly a foot and a half from your face. Doing so gives the optimum viewing angle for the 3D that without sounding like a fanboy, continuously wowed me. Thanks to the two cameras on front, the 3DS is able to take three dimensional photographs. I was shown a couple that had already been taken of the lovely ladies in charge of looking after the console, posed to best display the 3D. The depth was highly defined and overall picture quality looked good enough for the quick snapshots that it was designed for. I did sometimes feel as if I were looking at one of those ‘hidden picture’ posters where you have to almost cross your eyes to see the image but unlike those 90’s phenomenon, I didn’t feel uncomfortable doing so. Unless you’re a real photo buff, the 3DS could possibly replace a digital camera in some circumstances. Sure the only real place to display these pictures is on the 3DS and the resolution may not be near your double digit megapixel camera but what’s better than a quick holiday snap in full 3D without the need of glasses?
One of the best casual features of the 3DS is the deal Nintendo have sealed with a number of Hollywood studios to bring their 3D movies to the system. I watched a trailer for The Legends of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hool from Warner Bros and other than being considerably smaller, I saw little difference from when it was viewed in the cinema. Having to hold the 3DS at such a specific angle in order to see the 3D may grate with some people if they have to do this for the length of a movie but I’ve no doubt all kinds of third party stands will be sold alongside it.
For me, the 3D was superb. You can chose to have the 3D on 100% or not at all by moving the slider up or down and I found it to show a decent 3D image even when the adjustable slider was only just above zero. Having it on full did begin to hurt my eyes a bit but pulling the slider to a half way point made the visuals perfect and painless. But I think the technology is so young that after a couple of years, developers will have really understood the 3DS and the potential eye strain will be a thing of the past. The way Nintendo have implemented 3D to the devices makes it a non-essential feature and shouldn’t be seen as a barrier for anyone worried about the strict viewing angles or necessity to gameplay. It has so many other advancements and improvements over its predecessors like greatly improved graphics, powerful processor, improved online functionality (promised by Nintendo), HD movies (granted not full HD) and an additional control input. All these together are a strong reason to buy a 3DS or upgrade from your DSi or DS Lite. What’s most exciting to me is the fact that the models LorD, Xander and I got to play with today are still just prototypes. If the 3DS is this impressive so far, imagine what the finished product will be like?