Tuesday, June 29, 2010

NINTENDO's 3DS Signals the Future of Entertainment.

(Hands-on at E3 2010. The 3DS Nintendo had on the show floors were indicated to be non-finalized versions.)

E3 2010 had many great things to line up for and experience. The longest lines were clearly at Nintendo's 3DS booth. The second the doors opened to E3, everyone rushed to the Nintendo area to line up for the 3DS, bypassing all the other booths. Wait times ranged from 1 to 2.5 hours. The crazy part was that they let in 100 people at a time every 20 minutes. Was the wait worth it? I would have to say yes. To have a glimpse at the real future of videogames and home entertainment, waiting was well worth it.


Holding the 3DS for the first time you will immediately notice a few changes. The first significant change is the addition of a left analog stick, which is actually more of an analog slider. its very smooth, comfortable, and responsive to the touch. It wouldn't be much of a surprise if Nintendo decided to adapt a variation of this for future home consoles. The second thing you'll probably realize is the addition of a slider, on the right side of the top screen. This was indicated to be used as a modifier to switch the images you saw on the screen from 2D to 3D. Also the front facing camera is no longer inbetween the top and bottom screens, but at the top of the top screen. As you turn the 3DS around you'll notice the camera on the back is no longer in the corner, but has been replaced with 2 cameras in the middle top for taking 3D pictures. The size of the 3DS is roughly the same size as its most available recent incarnation.


Everyone was so curious to know how 3D with no glasses will look like, and how Nintendo will pull it off. Well, it looks great. Its completely convincing. It was by far the coolest thing at E3. As you play with the device, you were encouraged to use the slider on the side to alternate 2D to 3D to get the full effect. It's by no means some sort of hologram. The best way to describe it is, it's a miniature version of the latest 3D television. The lenses that you put over your eyes, were flattened and integrated into the screen as an additional layer, in Nintendo's own magical way ofcourse. The 3DS then replicates the exact same 3D that you would see in the theaters. I'm sure there's more to it than that, but that's what observing the 3DS feels like.


A lot of what was available weren't actually playable. Many of them were trailers to show the visual technology of the 3D. With the exception of the Resident Evil Revelations trailer, that had constant problems maintaining the 3D effect, the rest worked excellent. The Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater trailer looked fantastic, as well as movie trailers like, How to Train Your Dragon. Upcoming titles such as Nintendogs + Cats and Steel Diver, I was fortunate enough to play. Other titles like Starfox, Mariokart, and The Legend of Zelda, I sadly didn't get hands-on experience. At the very end, near the exit, were demos on the 3D camera. Show floor assistants will take a picture of you in a silly pose using the 3DS for your amusement.

The most impressive demo I was able to play was the 3D Target Shooting. You are instructed to point the camera on a card on a table and press A. As you are looking at the video image through the 3DS, the game then creates a virtual world around that image. You then have to tilt the 3DS in various directions, to shoot at targets and get a better view of the image. The gameplay elements and interactivity that this presents shows a glimpse of what we may be able to experience with the 3DS, as well as future consoles.


Best bet Microsoft and Sony will adapt this form of technology in some fashion in their upcoming products. Microsoft's KINECT and the Playstation Move are direct results of the success and ingenuity of the Wii. A 3D PSP or an iPHONE 3D, doesn't seem that far fetched. It shouldn't be too long that we will see 3D TVs with no need for glasses either. Imagine watching 3D movies in theaters without the need of 3D glasses. Realistically, nobody wants to wear 3D glasses. It's just the sacrifice that we make until better technology, like the 3DS presents itself.

Nintendo has once again shaped the forthcoming future of its industry. The value of this company in gaming and entertainment is immeasurable. I love my XBOX360. I loved my PS2. I don't own a Wii, but I will admit, like Neo from the Matrix, NINTENDO is "the One."