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3DS

North America

Nintendo 3DS

by Jonathan Metts - June 15, 2010, 11:44 am PDT
Total comments: 38

You will say "wow".

Nintendo's initial demo of the 3DS system, immediately following the E3 press conference, consisted of several character dioramas starring Mario, Link, Bowser, Pikmin, etc. Each scene was frozen in time but could be rotated with the new "slide pad" joystick. This new control interface is flat like the PSP nub, but it has more tension and feels more like a traditional joystick.

But you want to know about the display. I literally said "wow" when seeing it for the first time... and the 3D effect wasn't even turned on yet. The visual fidelity is on par with GameCube or Wii, with character models covered in shiny, bumpy textures just as in games like Super Smash Bros. Melee/Brawl. (In fact, this whole demo was just like the pause screen in Smash.) Combined with what we saw in the Kid Icarus Uprising trailer, it's clear that 3DS is a graphical powerhouse at least on par with PSP, if not better.

Then I cranked up the 3D slider. The characters immediately popped out of the screen, an effect that can be shocking at first sight. It looks exactly like the 3D effect you've seen on Avatar and other 3D films, only without the glasses. In fact, the effect might be even more convicing when you have direct control over the camera angle. Over and over, through two full cycles of the demo, I moved the slider up and down, comparing 2D to 3D and back again. The visual quality is exactly the same in both modes, and the display doesn't stutter or show any other reaction to the slider moving, except to increase or decrease the apparent depth. I did find that the 3D mode has a narrow viewing angle, and it looks extremely blurry if you tilt the screen away in any direction. Of course, going back to 2D removes the blur and allows you to view the screen at any angle.

I also took some time to examine the system's other details. There is a raised rim around the touch screen, and the area below the touch screen is extended to the bottom of the system, so that the Select, Home, and Start buttons all sit on a raised platform. The D-pad, face buttons, and shoulder buttons were shiny on this unit, but otherwise feel just like those on a DSi.

On the back of the system is a game card slot in the familiar location, but with some differences. The mouth of the slot is wider and deeper than before, implying a new physical medium to thwart piracy. However, a look into the slot reveals a shelf that narrows the slot to the size of the original DS game cards. It seems likely that your old games will slide into the same unified slot as new 3DS cards, just leaving some space near the top. New game cards will be larger at the top but should retain the original size down at the bottom, on the side with electrical connectors. Next to the game card slot is a stylus hole, but the demo units didn't have a stylus for us to try. Next to that is a small, black rectangle that appears to be an infrared sensor. This feature wasn't mentioned during the briefing, and so far we don't know what it might be used for. Along the side is an SD card slot, just like you'd see on the DSi.

One last observation: the bottom half of the 3DS has a beveled edge that makes it look like two layers glued together. When the system is closed, this bevel makes it look like there are three layers to the system, when of course there are only two. The system has an overall size and weight similar to the DSi, with the top (3D) screen being somewhat wider but certainly not huge or system-wide as suggested by rumors.

Talkback

AVJune 15, 2010

awesome.


I'm glad 3d works great and the analog stick is great.



I wonder if DS games that use two screens will work since they assumed it's the same size screen. Borders maybe?

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorJune 15, 2010

How does the analog stick compare to using, say, the NES MAX controller?

NWR_pap64Pedro Hernandez, Contributing WriterJune 15, 2010

Maybe the infrared thing is for communication purposes?

It's nice that the 3D works fine, but I am really interested in how the games use it. Nothing has been said about the games yet, which is what I curious about.

Gotta say, after reading your impressions, I'm more excited about this. If all that 3rd party support is genuine and holds up, I'm sold. MGS, Dead or Alive, and RE? I'm there. And Kid Icarus as a launch title? Really, this is pretty pimp.

Kytim89June 15, 2010

Jonny, did you happen to notice the microphone port? Where is the head phone jack? Does it have volume sliders like the DSi? Did you see its menu screen?

TJ SpykeJune 15, 2010

Were you able to get pictures (either taking them yourself or from Nintendo)? I keep hearing these impressions, but am not seeing any pictures or video.

PaleMike Gamin, Contributing EditorJune 15, 2010

I have to say, reading this impression of the screens fidelity and comparing it to the tech specs has me confused.  The actual resolution of either screen is more ore less unchanged from the DSi.  Therefore I can only assume that the crispness Jonny is talking about is only due to more horse power.

That horsepower increase is definitely awesome, but I'd be lying if I wasn't infinitely bummed that we are still looking at base screen technology that is 15 years old.


Thinking about this more, I guess the top screen can't be 15 years old, because it is actually doubled up resolution, which is awesome,  But why only 240 horizontal lines?  That's exactly the same as the DSi.

The bottom screen IS a DSi screen.  That's just sad.

I can't wait to try one out in person.  I shouldn't have gotten my hopes up for hyper high res screens to begin with.

gbuellGrant Buell, Staff WriterJune 15, 2010

The resolution stuff confuses me too, I figured that a higher resolution than the PSP was a no brainer for a device coming out in 2010.

Kytim89June 15, 2010

After seeing the 3DS and its games, the PSP is officially dead and Sony must reveal the PSP 2 as soon as possible or they will lose their position in the market.

mantidorJune 15, 2010

I'm worried about the symmetry, hopefully no game I want uses both the touchscreen and the nub thing, or I'm screwed.

ShyGuyJune 15, 2010

Were was the screen resolution stated?

Shorty McNostrilJune 15, 2010

Well I am extremely pleased to be wrong.  I have said a few times that stuff probably won't pop out of the screen and I am extremely relieved to hear that I am indeed wrong. 

Ok, with that out of the way, how does the 3D handle depth?  It sounds like stuff popping out of the screen is very well done, but what about depth?

kraken613June 15, 2010

Top Screen:
3.53-inch widescreen LCD display, enabling 3D view without the need for special glasses; with 800x240 pixel resolution (400 pixels are allocated for each eye to enable 3D viewing).

Touch Screen:
3.02-inch LCD with 320x240 pixel resolution with a touch screen.

Kytim89June 15, 2010

Is the surface of the 3DS gloss or matte?

noname2200June 15, 2010

Quote from: TJ

Were you able to get pictures (either taking them yourself or from Nintendo)? I keep hearing these impressions, but am not seeing any pictures or video.

Kotaku has some video. 

ThePermJune 15, 2010

Sony has become Sega, but still not as good as Sega was,

im guessing the infrared bounces light off things to determine tilt, combine that with the gyro and you get some fancy stuff

TJ SpykeJune 15, 2010

Quote from: Kytim89

After seeing the 3DS and its games, the PSP is officially dead and Sony must reveal the PSP 2 as soon as possible or they will lose their position in the market.

What position? Sony has bee a distant second in the handheld market for over 5 years (the only time they were a threat was in the 8 months between the DS launch and the release of Nintendogs, which really pushed it ahead for good). I assume you meant in terms of graphics. I am not sure that the rumored PSP 2, which is still just speculation right now, would be able to top the 3DS. The screenshots of 3DS games look better than most GameCube games, even when looking at them just in 2D.

NWR_pap64Pedro Hernandez, Contributing WriterJune 15, 2010

Quote from: noname2200

Quote from: TJ

Were you able to get pictures (either taking them yourself or from Nintendo)? I keep hearing these impressions, but am not seeing any pictures or video.

Kotaku has some video. 

Where? I checked the site and they don't have video.

noname2200June 15, 2010

Quote from: NWR_pap64

Quote from: noname2200

Quote from: TJ

Were you able to get pictures (either taking them yourself or from Nintendo)? I keep hearing these impressions, but am not seeing any pictures or video.

Kotaku has some video. 

Where? I checked the site and they don't have video.

http://kotaku.com/5564183/checking-out-metal-gear-solid-on-the-nintendo-3ds

It's not much, but it's literally all I could find so far.

kraken613June 15, 2010

I can't wait for the E3 podcast to hear even more thoughts.

Kytim89June 15, 2010

Quote from: TJ

Quote from: Kytim89

After seeing the 3DS and its games, the PSP is officially dead and Sony must reveal the PSP 2 as soon as possible or they will lose their position in the market.

What position? Sony has bee a distant second in the handheld market for over 5 years (the only time they were a threat was in the 8 months between the DS launch and the release of Nintendogs, which really pushed it ahead for good). I assume you meant in terms of graphics. I am not sure that the rumored PSP 2, which is still just speculation right now, would be able to top the 3DS. The screenshots of 3DS games look better than most GameCube games, even when looking at them just in 2D.


The 3DS is Nintendo's PSP. Unless the PSP2 is announced, I forsee a mass exodus of third parties from the PSP onto the 3DS and in my eyes the PSP is now dead as a console. If not, the only thing keeping it alive is Peace Walker.

BeautifulShyJune 15, 2010

Just thought I would mention that the Nintendo channel has videos on the Iwata Asks about the 3DS as well as the rest of the videos shown.

yoshi1001June 15, 2010

Quote from: Pale

Thinking about this more, I guess the top screen can't be 15 years old, because it is actually doubled up resolution, which is awesome,  But why only 240 horizontal lines?  That's exactly the same as the DSi.

No, DS/DSi has 192 vertical lines. 240 is full LDTV, which means the unit has as much vertical resolution as 8/16-bit game consoles. If they do a portable VC, they could do a cool effect where it's like you're actually looking into an arcade cabinet or something like that.

greybrickNathan Mustafa, Staff AlumnusJune 15, 2010

I got a fleeting glimpse of the 3ds in the hands of a showperson before she was whisked away by line security. I can't wait to actually hold one.

ThePermJune 15, 2010

http://i146.photobucket.com/albums/r259/theultimateperm/3ds2_0000.jpg
http://i47.tinypic.com/2ildh7o.jpg

my mockup was WAAAAAAY OFF!!!

there was another I saw, it was spot on

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlL8LZlz4Ic&feature=related

the only problem with their was it had a cd drive

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorJune 15, 2010

You had the thumbstick on the top.  Most people didn't do that.

ThePermJune 15, 2010

id never throw in a cd drive, carts are the future!

greybrickNathan Mustafa, Staff AlumnusJune 16, 2010

Quote from: ThePerm

id never throw in a cd drive, carts are the future!

I need to sleep, I read that as "cats are the future," and I concurred.

ThePermJune 16, 2010

cats are the future too!

and if someone said it with the right accent, no-one would hear otherwise!

SeaNetJune 16, 2010

I am very pleased with it. As someone who dosen't see in 3D, I'm glad to hear that they are offering a way to disable 3D. Sometimes there is a new movie I want to see on opening day but is only availible in 3D for the opening week, (Alice, Toy Story 3) and I have to wait a couple weeks before the 2D version is out, and I am glad this will be accomidating for me :)

noname2200June 16, 2010

Quote from: ThePerm

cats are the future too!

Nintendo agrees!

mantidorJune 16, 2010

Quote from: SeaNet

I am very pleased with it. As someone who dosen't see in 3D, I'm glad to hear that they are offering a way to disable 3D. Sometimes there is a new movie I want to see on opening day but is only availible in 3D for the opening week, (Alice, Toy Story 3) and I have to wait a couple weeks before the 2D version is out, and I am glad this will be accomidating for me :)

By don't see in 3D, you mean you only have one eye? because I know some people have problems with 3D movies, but many times is because of the glasses and other factors, if you have a pair of functional eyes you might be able to see the 3D in the 3DS even if movies don't work for you.

SheckyJune 16, 2010

So when the slider is off, are their *any* notable impairments as opposed to a standard screen?  Or does it just look "normal"?

When the slider is off, the display looks totally normal. The graphics are still much better than current DS, of course.

Kytim89June 16, 2010

Is the surface of the 3DS glossy or matte?

KDR_11kJune 17, 2010

Quote from: mantidor

Quote from: SeaNet

I am very pleased with it. As someone who dosen't see in 3D, I'm glad to hear that they are offering a way to disable 3D. Sometimes there is a new movie I want to see on opening day but is only availible in 3D for the opening week, (Alice, Toy Story 3) and I have to wait a couple weeks before the 2D version is out, and I am glad this will be accomidating for me :)

By don't see in 3D, you mean you only have one eye? because I know some people have problems with 3D movies, but many times is because of the glasses and other factors, if you have a pair of functional eyes you might be able to see the 3D in the 3DS even if movies don't work for you.

There are more possible reasons AFAIK, I've got misaligned eyes so the images are too far apart for the brain to interpret any depth information into them.

LouieturkeyJune 17, 2010

I'd love to know if people who can't see 3D with the glasses have a problem with this tech.  What's nice is they can try it out and see if it works for them and if it does, great.  But if it doesn't, they can still turn off the 3D effect and just play 2D.  Nintendo was very smart to think of that slider. They don't alienate those people this way.

RizeDavid Trammell, Staff AlumnusJune 17, 2010

Quote from: NWR_Grant

The resolution stuff confuses me too, I figured that a higher resolution than the PSP was a no brainer for a device coming out in 2010.

My phone has a 800x480 pixel display.  However, I've got to say, 3D games really don't need that kind of resolution.  It looks a little nicer, but I'm much happier that they seem to have spent the money on GPU power and 3D tech (you need twice the polygon pushing power, fill-rate and the special screen).

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3DS

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Nintendo 3DS Box Art

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na: Nintendo 3DS
Release Mar 27, 2011
PublisherNintendo
jpn: Nintendo 3DS
Release Feb 26, 2011
PublisherNintendo
eu: Nintendo 3DS
Release Mar 25, 2011
PublisherNintendo
aus: Nintendo 3DS
Release Mar 2011
PublisherNintendo
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