Nintendo proves they are some of the best innovators in the gaming industry with the recent release of the Nintendo 3DS.
The 3DS features all the elements of previous versions of the DS, such as cameras and dual screens including a touchscreen, with an added 3D element to the top screen that does not require the user to wear any special glasses. The 3D screen is not limited to games, as the system is able to take 3D pictures with the ability to play 3D videos coming in the future. The 3D pictures and gaming are crisp and sharp, but users are only able to see them when holding the system at a specific angle. This is usually not an issue, but may become one when playing a game that uses the 3DS’ internal gyroscope. The system is also able to play regular DS and DSi games, however these will not be in the 3D format. Also, like the DSi and DSi XL the 3DS will not play any GameBoy, GameBoy Color, or GameBoy Advance games, but Nintendo has said the 3DS will have a Virtual Shop channel much like the Wii’s that will include releases for the various GameBoy games.
The system features many extra applications, such as an activity log that counts the steps the user takes with the 3DS, “Augmented Reality” games and cards that appear the effect the user’s world around them when looking through the 3DS, and a Mii maker that allows players to create avatars either from scratch or using the 3DS’ camera. Of all of these, the Augmented Reality, or “AR” for short, games are the most innovative, as the cards used to turn the user’s environment into a game itself are made from nothing more than simple paper. This can add a lot of innovation to future titles released for the system, one example this reviewer has heard are card-based battle games such as Pokemon or Magic the Gathering where the player would throw the card on the table and see the battle with his opponent take place on the 3DS. Nintendo has also announced that future updates to the system will include the ability to stream Netflix.
One of the system’s biggest downfalls is the short battery life when playing a 3DS game. The average battery life when playing a 3DS game is three to five hours and five to eight hours when playing a regular DS game. This is a huge difference from previous DS systems which had an average of 10-12 hours of battery life depending on the brightness setting of the screen. This may come as disheartening news to those DS players who are unable to charge it for a few hours after taking the system on the road. Another negative aspect to the system are the potential health risks for younger players. Nintendo has officially announced that the system is not meant to be played by children under the age of six or seven as it may harm their vision. This is notable as the DS systems have games for players of all ages, but seem to cater more toward a younger audience.
Overall, the 3DS is another great system by Nintendo. the 3D games are a lot of fun to both play and look at as the 3D is incredibly well done. The pre-loaded apps for the system are all very innovative and fun, especially the AR games and cards. While the 3DS’ battery life is a fraction of previous DS’ Nintendo has released, this is only really an issue to those players who take their system on the road for long periods of time. For any fan of handheld gaming, this is a great choice.