Unfortunately whether it is in the office, or home (in a well-connected gossip wise street) it is not long before a crowd is attracted to the news of a Nintendo 3DS being nearby.
You can read all about the technical specifications with our first hands on some time ago, here.
Spending more time with the AU$350 device shows just how much wow-factor Nintendo has injected into the new hand-held, that 3D screen is amazingly crisp, particularly when you adjust the 3D slider to suit the width of your eyes and playing distance. It is not much fun for the gathered crowd however who are more likely to see a blur of pixels as if the owner is watching a new form of censored portable pornography.
In a way, that is not a bad description; people are both intrigued and titillated by the devices capabilities. Run them through a couple of bouts using the dynamic camera feature of Super Street Fighter IV and the superlatives start flowing. The new nub controller is a welcome introduction for people wanting to flex their fighting finger muscles.
Fire up the Augmented Reality, where a table placed card becomes a virtualised target range, or simply let them loose with the 3D camera and soon everybody wants their hands on the device.
CONTINUED on PAGE 2
Then it is onto the built in Mii Maker to create a personalised cartoon avatar for her future play.
The new Home button gives 3DS owners the ability to suspend software in a pseudo multitasking feature, this is a step up from previous DS firmware wanting to do the whole patented reboot processes whenever anything tricky was required.
Nintendo has introduced region locking on a gaming machine for the first time in their history, understandable given the amount of piracy that occurs. At the same time 3DS specific titles will start from an unprecedented AU$70 and the console itself has a RRP of AU$349, something that might make prospective owners baulk at the sales counter.
Another noticeable change with this DS iteration is battery life. The quoted game-play time playing 3DS software is three to five hours, certainly this was backed up with only about four hours from our first test run. The 3DS is backwards compatible with previous DS software, Nintendo quote a playing time of five to eight hours playing older favourites.
It is true Nintendo needed to wind up the wow for this hardware release, now competing with the likes of the iPhone and iPod Touch, the DS was beginning to fall out of favour. Judging by early crowd reaction however, the 3DS might just have enough fuel in the tank to take on the field new-comers, time will tell if Nintendo can back this initial response with both first and third party software to keep todays public from being distracted by the next shiny thing to bob by.
The Nintendo 3DS launches this Wednesday in Australia 31st March