Nintendo DS News
E3 2010: Hands-On With Nintendo 3DS
By Hector Cortez Jun 16, 2010, 5:42 GMT
E3 has brought a lot of new technology center stage: Xbox 360 and Kinect, PlayStation 3 and Move and now, Nintendo and 3DS.
Written by Michael Barryte
This E3 has brought a lot of new technology center stage: Xbox 360 and Kinect, PlayStation 3 and Move and now, Nintendo and 3DS. People had seen Kinect and Move in action, but the 3DS, while announced, had not been given the spotlight -- that is, until today at Nintendo's E3 press briefing.
Nintendo of America's President Reggie Fils-Aime was first to admit that the only way to understand it was to play it. This has been something of a Nintendo proverb since the DS and Wii were announced and has been touted proudly ever since.
Before discussing what Nintendo's newest portable does, a quick physical breakdown is in order (scroll down for high resolution stills). The system is similar in size and build to a Nintendo DSi, but the 3DS now sports an analog nub in addition to its D-pad, has a motion sensor and gyro sensor and its top screen is now a glorious 3.5 inch widescreen display, which renders 3D visuals without the need of special glasses. The 3DS also has one camera facing the player and two facing the outside world allowing players to capture and view 3D pictures. The top screen has a slider on the right which allows a player to adjust the depth of the 3D during cinematics or gameplay.
So what about gameplay? Sadly, not much was on display at Nintendo's booth. (There might have been more than I thought, but with the allotted 20 minutes to view as much content as possible, it was all too easy to miss something, such as a playable Starfox demo I somehow overlooked... curses.) Most of what one could look forward to were trailers. However, these weren't just Nintendo trailers for Mario Kart, Paper Mario and Kid Icarus; third party developers were there in full force. EA had the Sims, Konami had Metal Gear Solid, and Capcom had Resident Evil.
Ridge Racer, the Sims, Nintendogs (now with cats!), all responded well to the touch controls and looked great. Time spent with each was very short, a little more than racing a lap or typing in a name and throwing a Frisbee before a Nintendo exhibitor came by announcing that time was almost up.
Kid Icarus when shown at the press conference looked great - easily the graphics capability of the Gamecube, if not better - but on the 3DS screen, the trailer was absolutely stunning. While watching the trailer I toggled with the depth and the results were clearly visible and stunning. The same was true for Paper Mario's trailer and for Metal Gear Solid's, even allowing the player to shift the angle of the camera with the analog stick. Resident Evil's trailer, however, served problematic. While the graphics, like Metal Gear, were absolutely fantastic, the 3D seemed glitchy. I found myself tilting the handheld to find the right fit for the 3D and eventually just turned to 2D. Capcom has always been a stickler for quality, so there should be little reason to worry once the final product ships.
Another 3D problem involved the camera demo, which has a slider controlling depth in the picture about to be taken; however, no matter what I did, I couldn't extend the depth much further than a fifth of the way out of 2D mode before my eyes started to hurt. This could be the result of years of wearing glasses, but this is still worthy of note.
In addition to games and game trailers on display, there were also movie trailers such as Disney's Tangled and Dreamworks's How to Train Your Dragon, both of which presented stunning 3D and showed truly how far the DS screen has come. Nintendo announced at its press conference that the 3DS would be capable of viewing Hollywood movies and while no specifics as to how that will be done, one can safely say they will look as good as watching on one's current generation iPhone. Nintendo may have the edge now on Apple's do-everything portable.
In my last few moments in the booth I glanced over and saw a peculiar sight: on a screen was Metroid, the original NES version, but now with a 3D kick to it. To me, this is incredibly exciting, because it seems this year Nintendo has heard fanboys crying out and are doing something about it. After the press conference, Starfox 64 and Ocarina of Time were confirmed as getting a 3DS facelift, joining Donkey Kong Country Returns, Kirby's Epic Yarn, among others, in what will no doubt be a holiday season for the ages. Now just give me a 3D Earthbound and Pikmin and I'll be completely satisfied.
Michael Barryte is a Monsters & Critics Gaming contributor and is also the co-creator and co-star of the internet series Ari & Stone.