I hate 3D.
I happen to think it’s the most ridiculous fad since LuLu. I guess what bugs me most is that we are embracing it like a new born at a family picnic – with a chorus of ooohs and ahhhs wherever it deems appropriate to rear it’s eye straining, ¬£3 extra on your cinema ticket- head. Apart from Avatar – that thing rocked hard – but you get my feeling on the matter. So when news filtered down to me from my sources (In.ternet) that Nintendo were throwing their hat into the 3D gaming ring I was, to say the least, sceptical. To say the most- I thought they were making a giant rainbow coloured, vomit inducing mistake. Me and Nintendo still need to have words after that whole “motion control” thing that they attempted to kill the game industry with a while back (notice how most of their games now revert to the controller being held sideways to control instead of waving it around like a leper with a loose limb? Funny that). Maybe it was just Bait for the other behemoths of gaming to chew at for a while so Nintendo could get the “3D” drop on them? Bait which they took beautifully I might add.

 

Shiny box- with added smudges

 

So it’s here now. It’s called the 3DS, and I have one.

 

 

the original DS

With nintendo now having more versions of their popular hand held, dual screen wonder than I have socks (That’s right, I have 5 socks – 2 pair, 1 spare) it’s only this 5th incarnation that actually changes something big enough to warrant me getting one. The offer of a camera or a bigger screen to see the amazing low-res graphics failed to woo me – which is all the previous models had. So let’s kick off- with the help of bullet point headings!

The 3D Double image

Graphics
On first glance I didn’t notice a massive change. That was until I put in an original DS cart and then it all became clear as a lawsuit against Michael Barrymore. The top screen is now a rather tasty looking wide screen with graphics that are very nearly (to the eye anyway) on par with the Wii. The same hideous alias problems are carried over from it’s Wii brother but with a screen that size they are excusable if you move the console away from your face.

My 3DS - on my table no less

Inbuilt
Nintendo have included some goodies with this DS. You can take 3D photos. You know, they’re like photos…in 3D. The Wii consoles tumour ridden representations of you and your friends (or as they call it ” Mii”) have made their way over. You can even hook up and transfer the ones you made on the Wii – nice touch. The method of doing so is a little less than straight forward however. I had to go to the Wii’s Mii channel, press A, B and 1 (in a place that avoided actually hitting a menu screen or picking up one of the Miis) and then holding down 2. After three moons had passed the menu to “connect to DS” came and all was well. Could have just been a “connect to DS” button but hey ho, why have one of those when you can play contortionist with your Wii remote eh?
Also inbuilt is a daily stats program linked to a pedometer. So not only can you see how much of your life you’ve wasted on harvest moon but you can also clock the milage you’ve done with the DS in your pocket. Nice.and it rewards you too- you get play coins for walking. I think its something like 10 coins for 1000 steps, and you can only get up to 10 in a day. Good incentive to get the kids outdoors I suppose… “You want that new outfit for Blanka? Fine, four laps of the field and it’s yours'”.
Street pass is also included. This allows your and other strangers DS consoles to talk as you walk past each other in the street. A little green light will be glowing on your DS to let you know you’ve made a pass, so to speak. When you open your DS and then go to street pass plaza you will meet the Mii of the stranger you passed. There are some other little features you can do such as trade puzzle pieces or play a bad rip off of final fantasy with ghosts and cats. Pity I’m not 7 or I would lap this stuff up. At my age now I would much prefer a feature to swap favourite recipes or map locations of good places to sit down.

3DS cart (left) vs original DS cart. FIGHT!

Games
I only have one game for it at the moment as none of the others seemed worthy of my cash. That game is Pilotwings resort – a ressurected classic from the N64 with absolutely nothing else in common except for the first part of the title and the fact you spend most of your time in the air. It’s a good enough time eater – trying to beat old high scores, collecting unexplainably floating things (be it rings, mii trophies or funny gates with your face on it) and generally trying not to crash into things. You will fail. The system is also comparable with all your original DS games (unless you played the import game in which case some of them may not work anymore). This is the first DS to be region locked so no more getting the odd obscure mud wrestling title from Japan- you’ll have to make do with another European Barbie game instead. The big one I am waiting for (and the whole reason I bought the thing if I’m honest) is Ocarina of Time 3D…but that’s one for another post.

Hazzahhh! A thumb stick! A good one too.

It’s 3D…Without glasses
So one of the big downfalls of cinema 3d is that you have to wear specs that make you resemble the fresh prince…on the day he’s wearing his prescription sunglasses. Nintendo stick two “child friendly” fingers up to this concept and have developed a screen that shows the 3D without human peripherals. And you know what- it works. As long as you are viewing it at the 3 degree angle that counts as it’s “sweet spot”, but lets not be picky here – we should just be grateful that it’s not red and green. The effect really does make you go “wow” when you first pick it up, and “help, I’m blind” an hour later when you realise your eyes are now adjusted to see ONLY the 3DS screen. Oh well- you know what you were getting into. And if you are still having big problems then you can knock that little 3D slider on the side of the screen down so that you can get used to the effect – then go for the burn and crank it up to 11. Even the menus are in 3D, a nice touch…mind you if you are going to make a 3D device and don’t release much content for it at launch, you had better damn well include some loveliness inbuilt to show off the fact that mario can now touch your face.

Augmented Awesomeness
Ok this is a game changer, for the kids anyway. It is so difficult to explain how this works i’ve decided to go rogue and do a video for this part:

 

So would I recommend it? Yes. Buy one. Or if you’re a game employee – buy 5 from your local tesco at a cheaper price just incase your stock runs low..