Nintendo 3DS – 3D Gaming in the Palm of Your Hand

The Nintendo 3DS aims to take handheld gaming to the next dimension. Literally. The 3DS is a 3D display that does not need special glasses to use. It released March 27th, and has been flying off the shelves ever since. While the technology in the handheld is cutting edge, it doesn’t mean you have to throw out all of your old Nintendo DS games. The Nintendo 3DS is backwards compatible to DS games and DSi downloads. The enhanced resolution screen will even make your old games look better, enhancing their graphics even if unable to blow them up in bewildering 3D.

Available in Aqua Blue or Cosmo Black, the Nintendo 3DS still maintains the classic hardware style of its predecessors with an upper and lower screen. This time, the upper screen is 3D and is 10% larger than the lower screen, which is still a touch screen. There is a slider for the 3D screen which allows you to transition between 2D and 3D. So if you’re not in the mood for eye-popping graphics and want to keep the action from escaping the screen, you can scale it back to good ol’ fashioned 2D. If you want something in between, use the slider to find a level of 3D which suits you.

There are 2 features of the Nintendo 3DS which take advantage of wireless technology. The Spot Pass helps you connect to local networks so you can play games online with your friends, download digital content, or purchase downloadable content to supplement the games you’ve already purchased. The Street Pass uses a LAN connection to help you find other 3DS units. It helps you play games together, but it can also plan little surprises for you. Let’s say you’re riding the subway on the way to work. It’s too early to play video games, so your 3DS is in your pocket on standby. A few rows behind you a fellow commuter has their 3DS in their backpack, also on standby. If you both have Street Pass enabled, your 3DS’s will swap information with each other. When you go to play a game you might find that person’s character inhabiting it. Likewise, they might find your mug on their desktop, or as an enemy in one of their Augmented Reality games.

Augmented Reality games are downloadable games which take advantage of the 3D capabilities. What makes them special is that they aren’t just 3D fighting games or 3D RPG’s. Instead, they are games which take place in the real world! You still play on the Nintendo 3DS, but looking through the viewfinder shows the environment you’re in, but with a number of flying bad guys heading right toward you! Quick, shoot them down! But they’ve got the face of your friends on them from when you took pictures at last weekend’s party! Who cares, this time they mean business!

Some other features of the Nintendo 3DS include an analog circle pad. It feels like a joystick, but with more accurate control. There is still the usual directional pad if all this new technology leaves you hankering for a taste of the old school. A nifty feature of the 3DS which you might be familiar with if you have a Nintendo Wii is gyroscope and motion control. Similar to the Wii’s controllers, you can interact with a 3DS by tilting the unit. The motion control allows the speed of which the unit is moving to influence game play. This means you might have to tilt the 3DS to guide a ball to a goal, avoiding obstacles, or it might want you to swing the controller to swing at a baseball in the game, with the force of your swing determining the force in which you hit the ball. This enhanced level of interaction can only make the gaming experience better. Lastly, there are a series of cameras on the Nintendo 3DS which allow you to take both 2D and 3D pictures. There is one front-facing camera and two on the back for 3D pictures.

Purchasing a Nintendo 3DS gets you the following things: the console, a charging cradle, an AC adapter, a telescoping stylus which allows you to adjust to a comfortable length, six AR cards for use with Augmented Reality games, and a 2GB SD card for data storage.