Hands On with the Nintendo 3DS
While there was a new "GoldenEye" title, a new "Donkey Kong," and a very cool-looking demo of the latest "Zelda" game, the highlight of Tuesday's Nintendo E3 press conference was, far and away, the introduction of a brand new portable gaming console, the Nintendo 3DS.
We don't know a ton about the device, thus far.
We do know, however, that the biggest selling point of the new handheld will almost certainly be its much-discussed ability to display 3D images without the aid of those old-fashioned glasses—in fact, Nintendo execs even went so far as to mock 3D HDTVs that require them for viewing.
At the end of the event today, Nintendo paraded out a large group of models in matching clothes, each holding their own 3DS prototype. During that time, Nintendo gave members of the press a brief demo of the device—roughly 45 seconds. Not a lot of time to try it out, but there were a lot of people aching to get their hands on it for a moment—and the device is far from finished. In fact, the demo was not actually playable. It just featured a few animated screens of familiar Nintendo characters like Mario and Donkey Kong.
The device itself is quite similar to a standard Nintendo DSi—it's roughly the same size and weight and features two screens inside. For the demo, the bottom touchscreen did not turn on. Like the DS before it, the top screen is not a touchscreen. According to Nintendo, it's too difficult to add touch to the new 3D technology.
The 3D screen is quite vivid. The 3D itself appears to have a similar depth to those old 3D hologram baseball cards. It doesn't appear to jump off the screen so much as add depth to the image. A new analog joystick to the left of the screen lets the users shift the viewing angle of the image in four directions—this is perhaps the most impressive thing about the 3D feature.
It was quite fluid with the somewhat animated images from the demo—it will be interesting to see how well the feature actually translates to gameplay. The analog joystick lets you freely move the angle (within a limited number of degrees) and then snaps back into place when you take your finger off of it.
The rest of the layout should prove familiar to most DS users. There is a D-Pad to the left of the bottom screen (below the analog joystick) and X, Y, B, A buttons arranged in a diamond configuration on the right.
There is a camera located above the top screen and speakers on either side. There are also two cameras on the outside of the device, allowing users to shoot 3D images. The 3DS also features a built-in gyroscope and accelerometer for added game-play interaction.