On the third day of the Electronic Entertainment Expo, I was finally able to have a hands-on demonstration of Nintendo's newly announced 3DS hand-held system. Although the system exceeded the already high expectations that I had, there were still a number of issues that prevent it from being perfect. What were these flaws? What was so great about it?
Let's make one thing clear: the handheld looks freaking amazing. Those are the exact words that ran through my mind the moment I was able to see it in action. The 3D works, and it looks better than I thought. No, it's not the same shitty 3D that's on basketball cards or those limited edition Slurpee cups: the images actually appear to jump out from the screen, without the vertical ridges that are typically used for displaying 3D. Many of the images were able to be manipulated as well, by using an analog stick to change the camera angle.
Viewers are able to adjust the "amount" of 3D by using a 3D slider. Don't like 3D? Have only one eye and can't see in 3D? You're able to turn off the 3D effects by turning the slider all the way down, so it becomes a regular old game.
I was able to view trailers for Resident Evil Afterlife, Animal Crossing, Mario Kart, Kid Icarus Uprising and the ridiculously long-titled Hideo Kojima's Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D 'The NAKED Sample'. All of the games looked amazing. Everything from showing the depth of the forest in Animal Crossing to wildlife that's popping out from the screen in Metal Gear Solid 3DS is unlike anything I've seen in a handheld.
If the 3D effects isn't the only thing that amazed me during the demonstration. The real-time graphics on a few of the demos looked just as good as a Playstation 2 game. In fact, the character face models for the Metal Gear demo looked slightly better than those of the recently released Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker for the Playstation Portable.
I was able to view a trailer for Dreamwork's How to Train Your Dragon in 3D, as well. Unfortunately, the 3D effects of the trailer were not as impressive as the game demos. The 3D appeared to be limited to different characters and their backgrounds looking like cardboard cutouts on various levels of depth. In other words, the characters are flat, but appeared closer to the foreground. Not too impressive.
The 3DS is able to take photos in 3D as well. My attendant took a picture of me impersonating a zombie, with my arms reaching out. When I was able to view the image, it appeared that my arms and tongue were leaping out of the screen. Very cool, but the novelty of this feature will wear out rather quickly.
Another potential problem was made was noticed after sampling the system after a long period of time. The effects of the 3D are apparent when the player watches the screen from the center, with the system held roughly 2 feet from his/her eyes. If it's held in another way, the player won't be able to view to 3D. Considering that the 3DS will use a motion sensor and a gyroscope to play a number of games, it's going to be difficult to view the screens and the 3D images playing with these methods.
Overall, the 3DS is an amazing piece of hardware, and everyone should have the opportunity to try it to be amazed with how well the technology works. Never before has there been a handheld that can display 3D this well without the need for glasses.
To sum it up, here is a list of the pros and cons of the Nintendo 3DS noticed during the demonstration...
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+ the 3D effects were amazing, especially since we don't have to wear silly glasses
+ the intensity of the 3D can be adjusted, or be turned off
+ improved graphics capability that is on par with the Wii or PS2
+ large list of games that are being developed for the system
+ upper screen is a widescreen display
- movie trailers in 3D don't look too impressive
- the system has to be positioned in a precise angle in order to see the 3D effects
- motion control and tilt sensor used in some games will force players to "lose" their 3D image