The 3DS has some killer features and some annoying drawbacks. Here’s a list of some of the major reasons you’re either about to love or hate Nintendo’s new portable…
10. 3D Cameras: A few years ago, the Nintendo DSi came out with a front facing camera, now-a-days every Apple iDevice comes with 2 cameras, one facing out and once pointed at your smiling face. The 3DS comes with a whopping 3 cameras! One of them facing front ways and two that are ready to capture the outside world and convert it into a 3D image on the top screen.
9. Miis: Remember those little avatar characters that made their big debut on the Nintendo Wii? How could we forget the hours upon hours of Tennis, Bowling and Boxing spent with those Mii’s? Nintendo’s own way for players to represent themselves in game. Mii’s have now gone mobile, not only can you easily share Mii’s with other 3DS owners, it’s now possible to generate a Mii based on a picture of the person you’re trying to emulate. Mii’s play a bigger role on the 3DS, collect a ton of them on your 3DS and you’ll be able to unlock neat mini games like Find Mii.
8. Circle Pad: Back in my day gamers got by moving in only the 4 cardinal directions, but today every gaming system that still uses buttons has some kind of analog function allowing for 360 degree movement. The 3DS is the first Nintendo handheld to use a flat analog nub, similar to the one found on the original PlayStation Portable.
7. Street Pass: Nintendo knows that our pocket space is limited and valuable. That’s why they have included several features that motivate gamers to bring their 3DS’s along with them everywhere. Using the built in pedometer, the 3DS awards players game tokens for every 100 steps taken, these tokens can be used to play those mini games I mentioned earlier. It might sound difficult at first to collect tokens but I find the average trip to the grocery store earns about 10 of them. Using Street Pass, if your 3DS encounters another unit while on an outing the two systems will share info, Miis, and benefit both gamers.
6. Online: The DS was Nintendo’s first online system, and boy did it leave much to be desired. In order to play with others online, gamers would have to exchange their unique “Friend Codes.” This feature was intended to protect younger players from interacting with strangers online, but ultimately impeded gamers who were forced to trade different Friend Codes for each individual game. The 3DS now offers a universal Friend Code that works with every game, and getting online is much easier. After the systems Wifi settings have been entered, a simple flick of the wifi switch turns wireless communications on or off.
5. Awesome Graphics: With every new console a jump in graphic capability is expected, but many were surprised to see how far the 3DS come when compared to the DS. Character models and textures are smoother and more polished and the animation is more fluid. It’s almost on par with the Nintendo Wii, and that’s saying something for a portable device.
4. Games: This is Nintendo we’re talking about, and if any company understands that content is king it’s the big N. Expect to be diving into the worlds of Legend of Zelda, Super Mario, Star Fox and Kid Icarus as well as seeing strong support from 3rd party developers with multiple Resident Evil games, Kingdom Hearts and Street Fighter. As soon as the 3DS app store is open for business, players will be able to purchase smaller games similar to the DSi store, and even classic Gameboy titles now with enhanced 3D graphics. Don’t forget that all those old DS games all still play on the 3DS.
3. Resume Session: It’s one of those things that isn’t in the commercial and isn’t the first thing 3DS owners are likely to gab about, but the resume feature is amazing. At almost any time while your playing a game, you can press the HOME button and jump back out into the systems main menu. There you can quickly access your friends list, check the internet for a game guide, jot down a note or two and then easily resume playing. It’s possibly one of the most useful features you’ll use on the 3DS on a regular basis.
2. 3D Visuals: It’s the in the 3DS’s namesake, the whole reason many players are picking up this portable. The 3D is fully adjustable and creates deep worlds for you to explore. It isn’t the traditional 3D you would expect from a movie theatre but it is still stunning to say the least. It can’t be truly captured on film, so you’ve really got to see this one for yourself.
1. Augmented Reality Games: This is it. AR games are going to be the first thing you show people when they ask about your new 3DS. Using the 3D visuals and the systems cameras, the 3DS can use the real world to create many different levels for gamers to play on. Simply slap down the AR card and you can pick from a selection of AR games where 3D characters interact with you. Face a fearsome dragon in archery or take on a flying fleet of your friends’ heads in Face Raiders. The reason AR games are so fun is that they capture the essence of gaming, interactivity not only are you interacting with a world inside of the game, but also the world around you.
And Now 5 Things You Might Hate About the 3DS…
5. Costs: The portable games market is evolving and both developers and players of portable games are faced with a difficult decision, how much should games cost? Generally handheld titles have always cost less than their home console brothers, but portable competition has gotten fierce in the last few years. Indie developers can put out simpler and cheaper games digitally, but where does that leave publishers and cartridge rates? The 3DS costs $250 and games will be priced at 30-40 dollars, some say it’s time for Nintendogs to be cheaper.
4. Where is everything?: As sleek and fresh as the 3DS is there are some design flubs present. Not enough that we’ll be buying 3DS Lites anytime soon but still some things take getting used to if you’ve only mastered the DS Lite. The stylus slot has been moved to the back-left side of the system, and the mic is hidden near the power button, which has also moved to be a face button. It all chalks up to how adaptable you are with gadgets.
3. Region Locked: This isn’t a major concern for most gamers, but for those of us who want to import games, it’s a big deal. American 3DS’s can only play American games and likewise with other regions. Because of this, if a game isn’t released stateside but is available elsewhere, your still outta luck.
2. Where are the games?: 3DS is the first Nintendo system to launch without a Mario or Zelda title, and it’s noticeable. At the moment there isn’t much to play on the 3DS, and release dates for many of the most anticipated games are still unknown. Gamers can expect to play the waiting game for their favorite franchises to hit the 3DS as early as this summer.
1. Battery Life: Ask any 3DS owner and you’ll see that this is the biggest complaint about the system. Even with power saving settings, 3D visuals turned off and the lowest brightness, the 3DS battery only lasts 3-5 hours. The handheld comes with a wireless charging cradle, but if you’re on the go and the 3DS cuts out, you’ll know why.