Nintendo 3DS (Image courtesy Kotaku)

Say Hello To The Nintendo 3DS

Nintendo 3DS (Image courtesy Kotaku)
By Andrew Liszewski

Nintendo’s E3 presentation wrapped up a short while ago, and thanks to the chaps at Kotaku, here’s one of the first photos of what the latest generation of the DS actually looks like. It’s not that far off from the description that was leaked over the weekend, with a wider 3D-capable top screen and the standard touch screen on the bottom. But new additions include an analog ‘slide pad’ that’s hopefully a marked improvement over what the PSP had, a slider on the side of the screen for adjusting the depth effect, and a pair of cameras on the outside for snapping photos in 3D.

On the inside it’s got built-in motion and gyro sensors, an always on wifi system for downloading game content from the internet or from other 3DS’s even if you’re not playing a specific title, and improved graphics, though not drastically given the demo they showed of a new Kid Icarus game that will be available when the system launches. And speaking of games, Nintendo also went through a quick list of titles in development for the 3DS and there’s some exciting stuff in there including DJ Hero 3D, Kingdom Hearts 3D, Saints Row, Dead or Alive 3D, Ninja Gaiden, Street Fighter IV, Riiiiiiiiidge Racer and most surprisingly, a Metal Gear Solid title.

Now even Nintendo admitted that showing off the 3D effect was impossible via a 2D video, so after their presentation they flooded the theater with 3DS units running timed demos. And Gizmodo’s Mark Wilson posted one of the first hands-on with the system and had this to say about the 3D effect.

In our 2-minute demo, we weren’t able to actually play anything. Instead, Nintendo had the demo units (tethered to models) running through a loop of 3D spinning images of famous characters like Mario and Yoshi. Head-on, the new screen is bright, colorful and, yes, 3D. You look a bit more into the screen than the images jump out, like a window—an effect that’s surprisingly natural, actually—until you view the screen from the side. Anywhere but head-on, the 3D effect fails completely and the colors wash out a bit.

I’ll hand it to Nintendo, they seem to have made 3D extremely intuitive. In our admittedly brief hands-on, we were impressed but not necessarily floored by the tech alone. Until developers really exploit the new technology, the experience is akin to the average decently made 3D movie: Neat, but not necessarily integral to the experience. Nintendo still needs an Avatar to really sell the idea.

There was unfortunately no announcement on when the 3DS will hit stores, but given the hundreds of demo units that were paraded out after the presentation it’s safe to assume they’ve already gone into production.

Update: Just got a press release from Nintendo in the mail and it includes mentions of a few other titles being demo’d for the 3DS at E3 this week including PilotWings Resort: “a flying simulation that lets players soar above Wuhu Island.” I was a big fan of the original PilotWings for the SNES, and it looks like Nintendo’s already got an impressive lineup of titles en route.

[ Kotaku – Your First Look At The Nintendo 3DS & Gizmodo – First Hands On: Nintendo 3DS ]