Hands-On: Is Nintendo 3DS Really a "Game Changer?"

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Hands-On: Is Nintendo 3DS Really a "Game Changer?"

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Nintendo is promoting the 3DS as a revolutionary system. Does it live up to the hype yet?

Before the Nintendo DS came out, people wondered: "Why a touchscreen?" Before the Wii came out, people asked: "Will motion control catch on?" Now that the 3DS is on its way, those same exact people are questioning the ability of glasses-free 3D.

Nintendo calls the 3DS a "game changer," and a culmination of all of its efforts going back to the N64. It has the revelation of 3D first seen in Mario 64, the touch controls of the DS, the motion controls of the Wii (via gyroscope and accelerometer), and adds glasses-free 3D graphics on top. So is 3D that big of a deal? I checked out about a dozen games at Nintendo's 3DS event in New York and can honestly say... maybe.

After all the hype, I was expecting the 3DS to blow me out of the water. It changed Warren Spector's life. An EA executive thought it was magical. How could I not be similarly impressed?

The big problem was that 3D wasn't all that special in most of the games I played. Flipping the 3D effect on and off with the 3D slider made me go from "oh" to "Oh" more than "oh" to "OMG." It was neat, but if you tilt the screen slightly to either side the effect disappears and the screen has a flickering effect. It's no big deal, and you can just reorient the screen to the proper angle, but in my experience this reorientation was straining on the eyes. Not that anybody plays handheld games sideways, but shaky hands really do have an effect.

However, there were a few games I played that made me see things Nintendo's way. The animals in Nintendogs + Cats appear lifelike in a way that I think only 3D could enable. Other titles like Dead or Alive: Dimensions, where characters are constantly moving through their environments, seem highly suited for the effect. Even Lego Star Wars III impressed me with the improvement that 3D made.

Basically, I found that certain games use 3D to their advantage. Nintendo puts the "game changing" 3DS in a "category of one" that will "pull you in" and leave a "great impact" (in the words of Reggie Fils-Aime). Maybe not, but with the right games, the 3DS is without a doubt going to give gamers a better visual experience.

A major non-graphical improvement that hasn't been trumpeted too much is the analog stick. It was so natural to use that I almost forgot the DS doesn't have one. While playing one particular game, I tried to go back to the D-pad, and it felt like going from driving a Lamborghini to the Flintstones car. That analog stick is a big deal.

I'm most excited about the 3DS's potential for augmented reality (AR) experiences. The two games I played in Nintendo's AR lineup were terrific examples of what can be done with the technology already. Once you've seen a game object sink into a real world table, you'll be hooked.

Nintendo has been criticized for its lack of online focus in the past compared to competitors, but online functionality has been made a key aspect of the 3DS. The handheld's Spot Pass system connects to wireless broadband to download new desired content silently. The 3DS has a specific color of indicator light that tells players when a friend is online. The friend code system is simpler than ever, only requiring one registration per friend. Nintendo didn't create Xbox Live or the PlayStation Network yet, but it has advanced its online position with the 3DS, and games like Dead or Alive: Dimensions and Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition are already taking advantage with online play modes.

So even though glasses-free 3D wasn't as magically mind-blowing as I'd hoped, I'm still enthusiastic about the 3DS. Maybe not as enthusiastic as Nintendo, but it's not like I made the thing. Everybody will have to decide for themselves whether the experience is worth the price of entry, but they should keep in mind that it's not just a DS with 3D. For those interested in 3D, it's definitely cool, but won't make every remake worth playing again.

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I don't think it will make as big of an impact as the Wii did, but it is nice to see that Nintendo is actually trying to advance technology with 3D and motion controls instead of just updating the graphics or tweak the size with every console they put out.

Tom Goldman:
Snip!

The upfront price is one of my big hold-offs...Do you think it's worth it? Or is that not an opinion you can give out?

noooooooooo don't make me want it any mooooooore
I have no disposable income. I cannot afford one. My current DS has not been touched in months.

...WHY?

I'm still kinda miffed about why people haven't complained about there being only 1 analogue nub on the 3DS like they did with the PSP... oh wells :P

What I'm most excited about with the 3DS is the games... Ocarina of Time in particular X3 its sad that they're not all going to be released at launch, but once OoT comes out, I'm probably going to get one.

BabyRaptor:

Tom Goldman:
Snip!

The upfront price is one of my big hold-offs...Do you think it's worth it? Or is that not an opinion you can give out?

I think the system is on the expensive end, but probably worth it. The real issue is what games you can get with it at launch. I might wait for Ocarina of Time 3D to come out first. Was really hoping for the Professor Layton 3DS game too... but that's absent in regions other than Japan right now.

Honestly, the 3D part is the last thing I care about. I want the analog nub, I want the new online features, and I want the pile of great new games that will be even more awesome because of all the other new things the 3DS can do aside from 3D. I'll probably turn the 3D off after a few minutes.

Simalacrum:
I'm still kinda miffed about why people haven't complained about there being only 1 analogue nub on the 3DS like they did with the PSP... oh wells :P

The touch screen can probably double as a second "nub" if the game is put forth properly. I'm thinking something like, the analog nub is for forwards/backwards/strafe left/strafe right, just like the regular left stick on a controller, and then you can use the stylus+touch screen to move the aiming cursor on the top screen for a shooter or something, which could allow for more accurate aiming than a second nub. It could be closer to a mouse accuracy. Maybe. I don't know, I'm just speculating.
Also, PSP had a lot of games that were basically PS2 games but portable. Trying to play Grand Theft Auto or Ratchet and Clank with no second stick for simple camera control and no alternative that isn't awkward really makes you go "Dammit this thing needs a second stick!"

I think if it's as cool looking as the hype says it is, it can totally be a game changer.

Think about it, if it's really a decent 3D device, it will be the most advance hand held device in the world, or at least the Western world (Japan's got lotsa neat stuff). I can't even think of anything besides specific televisions that would offer me real 3D.

HOWEVER!!! If it's not cool or fun like it promises, it will most likely be another Virtual Boy, a flashy gimmick that's not fooling anyone, quickly forgotten except when made fun of. We'll probably get a few memes out of it too.

Nintendo has a pretty descent hit percentage with innovations, like the DS and the Wii. Only time will tell.

i barely care about the 3d effect.

the thing i care about is that it's basically a handheld gamecube with upgraded graphics. i find it difficult to get into handheld games that aren't pokemon, and i think the graphical update, bigger cartridge space, and analog stick will really immerse me as much a stationary console.

plus, freakin' ocarina of time and kid icarus.

if they put on majora's mask i'd buy two 3ds' (as long as that was the only way to get it, other wise i'd stick to one)

Better online service. Great handheld graphics. A good looking software line-up. Some good looking controls. Ironically, the 3D is just about the only thing about the 3DS that I DON'T care about.

I have to get it just because I know how inevitably awesome the third-party support is going to be.

Especially if Konami announces another 2D Castlevania.

Built-in accelerometer combined with glasses-free 3D combined with a 3D camera is what really makes this a good idea. Any of those on their own would be cool, but together they're a perfect recipe for augmented reality.

P.S. Thanks

julesville:
HOWEVER!!! If it's not cool or fun like it promises, it will most likely be another Virtual Boy, a flashy gimmick that's not fooling anyone, quickly forgotten except when made fun of. We'll probably get a few memes out of it too.

Honestly? I'd give 3% chance that the 3DS will fail as hard as the Virtual Boy. The question is more "can the public made the distinction between this and the previous DSes" (which, to be fair, applied to the Game Boy Colour and Game Boy Advance) and "will they buy it at the price Nintendo set?". Nintendo isn't Apple, after all. And then again, there's always discounts over time.

cthulhumythos:
i barely care about the 3d effect.

the thing i care about is that it's basically a handheld gamecube with upgraded graphics. i find it difficult to get into handheld games that aren't pokemon, and i think the graphical update, bigger cartridge space, and analog stick will really immerse me as much a stationary console.

plus, freakin' ocarina of time and kid icarus.

if they put on majora's mask i'd buy two 3ds' (as long as that was the only way to get it, other wise i'd stick to one)

well if all you care about is better mechanics, than wait for the PSP2... oh god, PS3 in the palm of my hand. :)

O I already decided that it's worth the price of entry....on Amazon.

I've never played any games in 3d, but what I've seen from cinema makes me very excited to try it out and makes me very confident. I believe that 3d will improve games more than movies, and despite what most people think, the system has a lot of potential for creative use of the hardware. $250 really doesn't seem like much to me considering the psp launched for that price several years ago, (not to mention that it comes with 6 AR games and a 2gb SD card- big whoop I know but still) and how could I possibly refuse OOT, SF64, a new Mario Kart, Paper Mario, the possibility of a Phoenix Wright and Professor Layton crossover, and all the GB, GBC, and DSiWare games I missed out on. (By which I mean Shantae)

Onyx Oblivion:
I have to get it just because I know how inevitably awesome the third-party support is going to be.

Especially if Konami announces another 2D Castlevania.

You mean a 3D 2D Castlevania. ;)

I don't think anything can fail as hard as the Virtual Boy, that thing was just a lapse in judgment trying to cash-in on the whole 90s VR bullshit.

I think its distinctive enough from the DS cause it has the 3D brand, but that just means it has to deliver on that hard, if it doesn't, no one will remember why they wanted to trade up. Price is something else altogether. Many systems have been handicapped or completely killed cause they cost too much money. I sure as hell won't be buying one whether I want to or not. I keep smashing brick walls but no coins come out!

Mimsofthedawg:

cthulhumythos:
i barely care about the 3d effect.

the thing i care about is that it's basically a handheld gamecube with upgraded graphics. i find it difficult to get into handheld games that aren't pokemon, and i think the graphical update, bigger cartridge space, and analog stick will really immerse me as much a stationary console.

plus, freakin' ocarina of time and kid icarus.

if they put on majora's mask i'd buy two 3ds' (as long as that was the only way to get it, other wise i'd stick to one)

well if all you care about is better mechanics, than wait for the PSP2... oh god, PS3 in the palm of my hand. :)

if that floats your boat.

i'm more of a Nintendo/Xbox fan, and therefore am more inclined to tilt their direction. plus 3ds has an analog stick. plus remakes with better graphics that tug at the nostalgia factor. plus it's 3d. plus it seems to be doing Nintendo games the old way (nostalgia factor again).

cthulhumythos:

Mimsofthedawg:

cthulhumythos:
i barely care about the 3d effect.

the thing i care about is that it's basically a handheld gamecube with upgraded graphics. i find it difficult to get into handheld games that aren't pokemon, and i think the graphical update, bigger cartridge space, and analog stick will really immerse me as much a stationary console.

plus, freakin' ocarina of time and kid icarus.

if they put on majora's mask i'd buy two 3ds' (as long as that was the only way to get it, other wise i'd stick to one)

well if all you care about is better mechanics, than wait for the PSP2... oh god, PS3 in the palm of my hand. :)

if that floats your boat.

i'm more of a Nintendo/Xbox fan, and therefore am more inclined to tilt their direction. plus 3ds has an analog stick. plus remakes with better graphics that tug at the nostalgia factor. plus it's 3d. plus it seems to be doing Nintendo games the old way (nostalgia factor again).

I recently bought an Xbox 360, excited for the many exclusives it brings... then I realized that there is hardly such thing as an "Xbox 360 exclusive"... it's more of a Microsoft exclusive. Almost everything for the 360 I can get for my new gaming laptop. I just find the 360 to be the poor man's way into owning something that will give him the ability to play computer games on something other than a computer.

But that's just me.

I really have not been impressed with the system at all. It's sad really. :(

But I agree with you that Nintendo is awesome! I may have to get this 3DS.

It's probably one of those things thats being overhyped, but is still cooler in person than it sounds of paper.

Onyx Oblivion:
I have to get it just because I know how inevitably awesome the third-party support is going to be.

That's my secondary reason for wanting to get one. Phenomenal third party support was where the PS2 got it's titanic lead in the market, and I'm looking to see Nintendo make some new friends with other developers, get back to the relationship it had N64 and GC eras.

ask me, 3d is a fad and I think in time people will get sick of it so I see it as a waste of money but then I have seen all nintendo products a waste since after N64 so maybe I am not the best judge here

No matter how good the actual device is Nintendo Consoles all have the same problems for me: lack of decent games. Sure, Pokemon is fun and Mario will always be worth a play, but any other game will either be shovelware or crappy JRPG puberty simulations.

I really hope it fails, flops and dies, because I got a DSlite and I'm not intending on buying another DS.

If we use the term "Game Changer" then no, its' not. It's another portable system, and as such it will never replace a Console or PC. Is it the best Portable on the market at the time of it's launch, yes. But the a "Game Changer" ... Hardly

Mimsofthedawg:

cthulhumythos:

Mimsofthedawg:

well if all you care about is better mechanics, than wait for the PSP2... oh god, PS3 in the palm of my hand. :)

if that floats your boat.

i'm more of a Nintendo/Xbox fan, and therefore am more inclined to tilt their direction. plus 3ds has an analog stick. plus remakes with better graphics that tug at the nostalgia factor. plus it's 3d. plus it seems to be doing Nintendo games the old way (nostalgia factor again).

I recently bought an Xbox 360, excited for the many exclusives it brings... then I realized that there is hardly such thing as an "Xbox 360 exclusive"... it's more of a Microsoft exclusive. Almost everything for the 360 I can get for my new gaming laptop. I just find the 360 to be the poor man's way into owning something that will give him the ability to play computer games on something other than a computer.

But that's just me.

I really have not been impressed with the system at all. It's sad really. :(

But I agree with you that Nintendo is awesome! I may have to get this 3DS.

true, it has many flaws, but my computer can't run any thing bigger than a barely graphically upgraded morrowind (2011 killed my computer) also i'm a halo fan (and not a raving lunatic like near everyone believes).
but i digress, as this thread has nothing to do with Microsoft.

honestly i think every action nintendo makes is a game changer, not in the sense that they are fantastic leaps forward, but in the sense that microsoft and sometimes sony copies them.

* cough gamecube-> xbox.

* cough Nintendo revolution(now known as the wii) -> xbox 360

surprisingly nothing for the ds that i know of.

*cough motion controls on wii-> motion controls for everyone else. i'm not even convinced sony didn't just add a ball and paint the wiimote black.

Eh. It feels like im being forced to by it with all the games coming out for it. but i'll wait. If experience has taught me anything, it is to never by a console (handheld or not) the first time it comes out. I might wait a few months before i consider getting it, and save up money x.x

Tom Goldman:
Hands-On: Is Nintendo 3DS Really a "Game Changer?"
Nintendo is promoting the 3DS as a revolutionary system. Does it live up to the hype yet?

Before the Nintendo DS came out, people wondered: "Why a touchscreen?" Before the Wii came out, people asked: "Will motion control catch on?" Now that the 3DS is on its way, those same exact people are questioning the ability of glasses-free 3D.

Nintendo calls the 3DS a "game changer,"

Honestly, i never use the touchscreen on my DS if i can avoid it, it rarely brings anything to the games i play on it and tends to be cumbersome. I still think that motion controls are cool and you really can't argue with the success of the wii but i'm still waiting for them to reach a level where they start to feel right. I don't expect 3D to ever be more than a gimmick and frankly, i'm worried about what will happen if nintendo bases an entire system on the idea of 3D. Once we all get it out of our system the 3DS will just be an expensive DS with an analog stick, but that stick might be helpful.

cthulhumythos:

Mimsofthedawg:

cthulhumythos:

if that floats your boat.

i'm more of a Nintendo/Xbox fan, and therefore am more inclined to tilt their direction. plus 3ds has an analog stick. plus remakes with better graphics that tug at the nostalgia factor. plus it's 3d. plus it seems to be doing Nintendo games the old way (nostalgia factor again).

I recently bought an Xbox 360, excited for the many exclusives it brings... then I realized that there is hardly such thing as an "Xbox 360 exclusive"... it's more of a Microsoft exclusive. Almost everything for the 360 I can get for my new gaming laptop. I just find the 360 to be the poor man's way into owning something that will give him the ability to play computer games on something other than a computer.

But that's just me.

I really have not been impressed with the system at all. It's sad really. :(

But I agree with you that Nintendo is awesome! I may have to get this 3DS.

true, it has many flaws, but my computer can't run any thing bigger than a barely graphically upgraded morrowind (2011 killed my computer) also i'm a halo fan (and not a raving lunatic like near everyone believes).
but i digress, as this thread has nothing to do with Microsoft.

honestly i think every action nintendo makes is a game changer, not in the sense that they are fantastic leaps forward, but in the sense that microsoft and sometimes sony copies them.

* cough gamecube-> xbox.

* cough Nintendo revolution(now known as the wii) -> xbox 360

surprisingly nothing for the ds that i know of.

*cough motion controls on wii-> motion controls for everyone else. i'm not even convinced sony didn't just add a ball and paint the wiimote black.

Back that train up.
How is Microsoft Copying Nintendo?
The gamecube lead to the xbox?
How so? The Xbox took a completely different route than the gamecube, it offered more a huge array of 3rd party games and it solidified its place in the gaming world by taking up the banner that people want to play multiplayer with people all over the world and thus made Xbox live, the core of the Xbox brand. While Nintendo raised the banner of "No body wants to play online" and thus stuck with its tier of 1st party titles and alienating itself with 3rd party developers that still plagues them today.

And yes Microsoft is copying teh Wii by making the Xbox 360...except for the fact that the Xbox360 came out a full year before the Wii.... and even then its the same strategy for both parties as the last gen.

So you might want to check out that cough before you just go spouting your Nintendo love.

Rednog:

cthulhumythos:

Mimsofthedawg:

I recently bought an Xbox 360, excited for the many exclusives it brings... then I realized that there is hardly such thing as an "Xbox 360 exclusive"... it's more of a Microsoft exclusive. Almost everything for the 360 I can get for my new gaming laptop. I just find the 360 to be the poor man's way into owning something that will give him the ability to play computer games on something other than a computer.

But that's just me.

I really have not been impressed with the system at all. It's sad really. :(

But I agree with you that Nintendo is awesome! I may have to get this 3DS.

true, it has many flaws, but my computer can't run any thing bigger than a barely graphically upgraded morrowind (2011 killed my computer) also i'm a halo fan (and not a raving lunatic like near everyone believes).
but i digress, as this thread has nothing to do with Microsoft.

honestly i think every action nintendo makes is a game changer, not in the sense that they are fantastic leaps forward, but in the sense that microsoft and sometimes sony copies them.

* cough gamecube-> xbox.

* cough Nintendo revolution(now known as the wii) -> xbox 360

surprisingly nothing for the ds that i know of.

*cough motion controls on wii-> motion controls for everyone else. i'm not even convinced sony didn't just add a ball and paint the wiimote black.

Back that train up.
How is Microsoft Copying Nintendo?
The gamecube lead to the xbox?
How so? The Xbox took a completely different route than the gamecube, it offered more a huge array of 3rd party games and it solidified its place in the gaming world by taking up the banner that people want to play multiplayer with people all over the world and thus made Xbox live, the core of the Xbox brand. While Nintendo raised the banner of "No body wants to play online" and thus stuck with its tier of 1st party titles and alienating itself with 3rd party developers that still plagues them today.

And yes Microsoft is copying teh Wii by making the Xbox 360...except for the fact that the Xbox360 came out a full year before the Wii.... and even then its the same strategy for both parties as the last gen.

So you might want to check out that cough before you just go spouting your Nintendo love.

uhg.

i realise now that i should've been more specific. i was referring to the names.

game-cube. x-box. you might as well call it virtual-reality rectangular prism.

the revolution was the first title of the wii. you know when they changed it? when the xbox 360 was announced. i figure you understand the similarity, but if not: revolution=360 degrees.

i am not a nintendo fanboy. the xbox is completely different aesthetically and software-wise. i was commenting on the name. in fact the only actual software thing i mentioned was motion control. (i'm not even a fan of it, it just seems to be the way major game corporations think the future is).

i'm sorry you did not understand the intention of that segment of my post (which was to point out that it seems where nintendo goes the other two seem to follow, be it in name or device.)

Tom Goldman:

Other titles like Dead or Alive: Dimensions, where characters are constantly moving through their environments, seem highly suited for the effect.

Mhm, "characters".

I believe you mean boobs Goldman. 3D Boobies.

AH, I want this waaaaayyyyyyy toooo much already.

I think the 3DS will see an initial slow entry followed by a MASSIVE word of mouth pick up just like the original DS.

Cast your minds back to when the DS was a new device with demo units in GAME stores. No-one (apart from those "in the know") really cared for it for quite a while even with seriously decent 1st and 3rd party support.

But eventually with free demos available in store and enough people walking past it, the DS suddenly exploded - plus factor in Nintendo's seemingly un-ending availability of casual shovelware on top of the few actual quality gems of games will see this sell in the millions after a few months imo

As for the 3D... I'm not fussed BUT!! it's Nintendo! - they wont have done something rubbish now will they, we all know it's going to have a WOW factor the first time (and remember that's supposed to be the hook - this is an 'experience' that supposedly can't be described until you play) and as the article says, with good developers taking the challenge on board we should see some very interesting graphical shifts and new mechanics unavailable on any other console

I've got to import one from the US since it's region locked. I don't give a crap about it's 3D to be honest. Knowing the friend code system is easier is great new since I hated the old system.

The 3D idea is really cool. It might end up just being a gimmick for non-Nintendo games, but at least it would be a non-intrusive gimmick.

I think I'll get a hold of one eventually, but I'll wait a while. The only game for it I'm really interested in at the moment is KH3D. Of course, more games that catch my interest will be made, and I'll wait until those few others exist.

Then again, I tend to buy things on a much longer lag than most people. I still have original PlayStation games I need to finish.

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