Nintendo 3DS: no glasses required. It’s like Futureworld, Dude!

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Augmented Reality: Any good games included?

Yes there are – mainly to demonstrate what’s now known as AR or Augmented Reality.

This is like a mini-version of what they use in Hollywood when they add objects to the scene that aren’t really there. In the movie industry they use markers that some software package uses for tracking the camera motion. Nintendo have emplyoed a similar system with AR games.

AR games superimpose and render images seen through the 3D camera in real time. It’s like Futureworld, Dude!

The 3DS comes with several cards that you can put on any object. When viewed through the camera this card is recognised and morphs the surroundings into something else – like a dragon monster you need to shoot or into a mountain landscape through which you have to navigate a ball.

AR games can also overlay other game characters (like Samus Aran or Mario) if you put down their respective cards and point at them. Those characters then come to life and strike poses for you in your environment. Why not take a 3D picture of them while you’re at it?

I guess it helps that the 3DS has one of those motion sensors integrated so it knows how you’re holding the device – much like the iPhone uses. I hadn’t expected these casual games – but they’ve absolutely blown me away.

Street Pass and “always on” internet connection

The 3DS likes having its WLAN on all the time, even when the system is in sleep mode. When you meet a fellow 3DS user your consoles exchange Mii’s and what they’ve been playing last.

I know that you’re thinking “what’s the point of that” – becasue so was I. But it is rather funny when you notice at the end of the day that you’re met a couple of other users who are as nerdy as you are and have your Mii welcome new characters to your Plaza. It’s cute – like many other Nintendo features. I’m tremendously enjoy it – even though on paper this feature sounds silly.

Other Features

The system has a built-in pedometer! When you’re out and about it’ll count how many steps you’ve made. You can collect up to 10 coins for so many steps per day, which you can exchange for other items in Street Pass. Seems my Mii needs to be rescued so I need to hire heros for coins… don’t ask!

Let’s take some burning questions from the audience now.

Can I transfer Mii’s from my Wii to the 3DS?

Yes you can! There’s a hidden menu in your Wii’s Mii Channel that allows you to connect to the 3DS. In succession press A, B, 1 on your controller, then hold down the 2 for about 10 seconds and you’ll see it.

Works a treat – and it’s really nice to see the little guys appear in full 3D.

Can I play games that I’ve bought for previous DS consoles?

Yes you can, all DS and DSi titles are compatible. You can even transfer online purchases you’ve made from those consoles and migrate them onto the 3DS.

The only thing that isn’t working are games that rely on the GBA slot – but you probably guessed that. Like the DSi, the GBA slot is no longer there so any accessories you may have will not work in the 3DS.

Conclusion

Nintendo have certainly done it: 3D without glasses, casual 3D camera included, off-switchable at the slide of a button if you don’t want it. The console does what it says on the box.

What the implications on the TV and gaming market are remains to be seen. 3D is THE buzzword on every professional broadcast exhibition over the last few years. After forcing HD down our throats, with the bitter realisation that it didn’t have the impact manufacturers and broadcasters had predicted, we’re moving on to the 3D age. Just in time for the friggin Olympics.

Even though 3D with glasses at IMAX presentations works well, the “home 3D venture” isn’t going to go so well if you’re asking 200 drunkards in the pub to wear sunglasses while watching Arsenal v Man Utd. Nintendo made it possible to cross this hurdle and puts it in the palm of your hand. And they’re the first to do this. They’ve created another Blue Ocean – just like they did with the Wii, while Xbox and PS3 are playing catch up. That’s impressive!

With 113.000 consoles sold within the first 12 days in the UK alone we’re talking a £22 million turnover here. Wow!

Even though – do you need to rush out and buy a 3DS? Technically no… since the DSi and DSi XL systems have a lot of life in them yet.

But if you’d like to get a peek the future then keep this little puppy in mind. You’ll be VERY impresssed!

Further Reading



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