Nintendo 3DS Unwrapped

After months of intense hype, Nintendo’s 3DS finally hit store shelves on Mar. 21. The system is the next generation of Nintendo’s handheld DS systems. When I first heard about the 3DS several months ago, I feared it would suffer the same fate as the DSi, the previous generation of the DS. While the DSi had innovative features, there was still something missing to it. For one thing, there were no games manufactured specifically for the DSi. Instead, games for the DS lite (the generation before the DSi) continued to be produced. While the new DS lite games could be played on both systems, the DSi added nothing to these games. If anything, the DSi took away more than it gave. For example, it did away with the ability to play Game Boy Advance games. These would ultimately be the reasons for the DSi’s failure. Naturally, I feared the same thing of the 3DS. After trying out the 3DS, however, I certainly hope this is not the case.

The 3DS currently comes in two colors: aqua blue and chrome black. More colors will probably be introduced soon, but if you need to have a 3DS now, those are your options. The system is sleek with a shiny finish to it – a huge step up from the scratch-prone surface of the DSi. Upon opening the system up, the first thing to catch your eye will probably be the analog stick. Nintendo may be copying Sony’s PSP with this design, but

I think it’s a nice addition. The analog stick is extremely combatable and is less stiff than Sony’s PSP analog stick. Other than that, the look of the system is almost identical to its predecessors.

As the name suggests, the 3DS has the capability to emit 3D graphics without the use of special glasses. I think Nintendo was really banking on the whole 3D concept, making it seem like images were going to pop-out you. While the 3D is impressive and adds depth, the graphics don’t necessarily pop-out at you. As much as I liked the 3D graphics, they can strain your eyes quickly. In fact, on most of Nintendo’s 3DS games, it is advised that players take 10-minute breaks every 30 minutes to prevent headaches. If the 3D graphics are not your cup of tea, you can turn them off using the 3D switch on the side of the system. Doing this will change graphics to 2D.

That is enough about the system itself though. The 3DS comes with several applications already installed, including a camera that can take 3D pictures, a voice recorder with which you can distort recordings, a “Mii” Maker (an application where you can create avatars – Miis), and a game called face raiders. The camera and voice recorder were already present on the DSi and the Mii Maker is essentially a clone of a Wii application. However, the face raiders game was a great tie-in with the system. Essentially, you take a picture of your face or a friend’s face. That face becomes a “face-raider” – a type of flying head that you need to shoot missiles at. The face raiders attack in hoards and the games background is the place you are physically playing the game. While not groundbreaking, it is still an excellent addition.

While not being compatible with Game Boy Advance games (they are a dying species, anyway), the 3DS is, thankfully, compatible with regular DS games.

The most appealing factors that the 3DS has are the future games. While the launch titles were mediocre (with the exception of Street Fight IV), upcoming release-include a new Mario Kart, Legend of Zelda, and Resident Evil. On top of that, Nintendo is bringing some of its older franchises back with a Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time remake and a new Paper Mario game. If there is anything appealing of the 3DS, it is definitely its future potential.