At a glittering, packed , event with 100 media, 50 lucky fans and 100 'celebs' Nintendo showed off the 3DS along with an impressive line-up of 'release window' software.
Perhaps feeling the pressure from Apple and - more recently - Sony with the PSP2, Nintendo has attempted to pull out all stops with the technology packed into the 3DS. It still includes the familiar layout of two screens - more on the top screen later, with the bottom touch screen as responsive as ever.
The control pad is still there, with a new nub, or as Nintendo call it, the Circle Pad included as an analogue control positioned on the left. Apart from the usual A,B, X and Y buttons a further control mechanism is built in in the form of a gyro sensor for motion detection.
The all-important top screen is where the 3D magic happens, along with a slider to adjust the 3D effect to the comfort of your own eyes. Moving the slider all the way to the bottom results in 2D, which was fine for all the games I attempted tonight.
The 3D effect is more depth rather than popping up from the screen, but the clarity of the screen (at 800 X 250 resolution, though this is halved due to the parallax 3D process to be 400 per eye) is impressive, particularly I liked the effect in my time at Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D.
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These include an internet browser or taking a 3D photo (utilising the two cameras on the 3DS's exterior), plus there is plenty of built in software that arrives in the 3DS package including some Augmented Reality Games (ARGAMES) where one of six included AR cards are utilised in the real-world creating a gameworld within the 3DS via the cameras. Sony may ring regarding its Eye Pet IP.
Nintendo spoke about Spot Pass, allowing automatic downloading of video's and free software via a wireless hotspot. Then there is Street Pass allowing perfect strangers to exchange game data simply by passing by each other in the street. How developers will take advantage of this was not entirely clear, but some sort of fighting game, or PokÃ©mon based experience is bound to appear.
The titles played varied in impressiveness. Certainly Ubisoft's racing game Asphalt 3D demoed much better than Namco Bandai's Ridge Racer 3D which has an awkward control system. Games such as Super Monkey Ball 3D were interesting when using the gyroscope motion controls, because, changing the focal length when moving the device around to play the game would sometimes destroy the 3D effect.
Highlights from my time with the software however where Pilotwings Resort, Steel Diver and PES 2011 3D, but Nintendo has certainly got an impressive line-up between launch date and June 2011. It is a demographic busting one indeed.
Nintendo say the list is more than 30 games (along with your catalogue of DSi and some DS games which are backwards compatible), including: Nintendogs + cats, Pilotwings Resort and Steel Diver.
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Then there is Metal Gear Solid Snake Eater, Resident Evil: Revelations, Kid Icarus: Uprising, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, Animal Crossing, Star Fox 64 3D, Paper Mario and Mario Kart, some of which are working titles only.
The Australian details are. The 3DS will be available from March 31st in two colours; Aque Blue and Cosmos Black, note that the 3D top screen is bevelled in black in both units, most likely as part of garnering the 3D effect.
You will need to start saving up the AU$349.95 for a new 3DS, certainly through, through the haze of a pumping launch party, the 3DS is an impressive piece of technology, and one can only hope the tech behind the glasses-free 3D screen makes its way to our living rooms in a bigger scale sometime in the near future.