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Nintendo 3DS: How it works and how good it is!

Posted by on in Video Games
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With the 3DS on the market, I'm sure that a lot of people are wondering two things: How does it project a 3D image? And is it worth $250!?

I'll start with how it works.  I'm sure you know that we have two eyes so that our brains can automatically perceive things in three dimensions.  Each eye sees at a different angle, so the brain can speculate depth.  This is why people with eye patches have trouble gauging distances.  Ha, take that Black Dog Bill!  Old fashioned 3D used light filters to put slightly different images in each eye and let your brain do the rest.

So how does the 3DS do this?  It doesn't!  The 3DS uses a completely different method of 3D: the lenticular method.  You might remember lenticular cards that had different images if you looked at them from different angles.  This is because the two (or more) images are divided by rows of pixels and lined up one by one.  The lines are so closely packed together that it's barely visible to us.  The images are tilted in different directions to have them visible at different angles.  The 3DS does exactly this on a much smaller scale.  It's so precise that, if you look directly at the screen, each eye will have a different image projected into it.  Your brain, of course, does the rest and you get the optical allusion of 3D.  Damn!  No wonder this thing is worth over 200 clams.

Now to talk about some of it's other features.  In terms of control, it's added a "Circle Pad", but everyone will just call it a joystick.  Even the biggest Sony fanboys have to admit that the joystick on the PSP is pathetic.  The 3DS Joystick is perfect.  Using it makes you feel in complete control.  Even when playing DS games on it.

In terms of backwards compatibility, it can play your old DS games.  There is also an internet feature that requires you to wait for a system update from Nintendo, but will likely lead to downloadable content.

Like with most of Nintendo's latest consoles, there are camera features and it's compatible with SD cards.  In fact, it comes with an SD card already inserted.  So you won't need to by a memory card.  In addition to the interior camera, there are two for 3D pictures.  And yes, they look amazing.  You can use your own picture or the pictures of friends to make Miis or characters in "The Sims 3".  Say goodbye to character feature editing.

There are also some very odd games built into the console.  First off is "Face Raiders".  What you do is take a picture of yourself, a friend, President Obama, or whoever you want and the game superimposes the face on the "face raiders".  You have to shoot as many of the face raiders as you can and try to get a high score.  It's incredibly weird and probably makes you look like a dork, but it's fun.  Then there are the AR games.  What you do with these games is put the AR card with a "?" block on it onto a flat surface and point your 3DS at it.  Do it right and 3D images will be superimposed on the real images being read by the 3DS' cameras.  With these games, you'll have to shoot stuff on the table or whatever you have the card on.  Once again, it's very fun but probably make you look silly.

As far as the games go, I can't give details on all of them, as I could only afford one.  However there is great variety in the games.  "Combat of Giants" for dinosaur lovers, "Lego Star Wars III" for Star Wars fans, "Ridge Racer 3D" for racing fans, "Samurai Warriors" for hack-and-slash fans, "Street Fighter IV" for fighting game fans, and "The Sims 3" for those that are into that sort of thing.  There are more games, of course, and plenty more coming out.  Some franchises that are going to be on the 3DS sometime this year are: Bomberman, Dead or Alive, Final Fantasy (two titles), Kid Icarus, Zelda (Ocarina of Time remake), Mario Kart, Metal Gear, One Piece, Resident Evil (two titles), Shin Megami Tensei (three titles), Star Fox 64 remake, Tetris, and Transformers.  There are plenty more titles with inconclusive release dates as well.  The 3DS is awesome now and will likely stay that way for a good long time.

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Comments

  • Gomu69
    Gomu69 Tuesday, 29 March 2011

    For those dealing with eye strain from the 3d effect, what would you recommend for them to cope with this or get around this? Also, is the battery life as frustrating as people have criticized? Awesome in-depth analysis for those who haven't picked up a 3DS yet.

  • Forlong
    Forlong Tuesday, 29 March 2011

    With me, I found that playing without waring my corrective lenses prevents eye strain. As for the battery life, I haven't used the console long enough to be able to tell how much of an issue that is. Maybe I'll do a followup piece in a few months.

  • Blushingivory
    Blushingivory Tuesday, 29 March 2011

    I know I'll wind up buying it eventually, the DS was/is my favorite system and the 3DS sounds epic... but, wow, the price! xD I hope it drops steadily while I wait for my favorite games to come out. Luckily the next Dragon Quest game is slated for the Wii.

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