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Nintendo 3DS

The Japanese video game company first announced the Nintendo 3DS on the Electronic Entertainment Expo [E3] of last year and it was considered one of the most important revelations of the event. Expectations for the console were high and players worldwide started to count the days until the release of Nintendo 3DS. For us Europeans, that date was appointed for March this year and almost six months later the Nintendo 3DS is still being very well received.

The Nintendo 3DS is like the name points out, an upgrade version of the previous generation of portable consoles of Nintendo, and it follows the trademarks of Nintendo DS with the option for the 3D enhancement plus other developments that are also bringing new ways of game play and experiencing games.

Like the model before it [Nintendo DS] this new console also has two screens and can be closed in order to avoid general scratches, which are a common problem for portable systems. It is only when the Nintendo 3DS is open, that the new features of the console become obvious to players.

The fact that Nintendo 3DS produces tridimensional images without the use of glasses is one of the strongest points and is what defines the console. Nevertheless, there are still some limitations to it.

In order for a player to enjoy the tridimensional effect in the Nintendo 3DS first, it is first needed a comfort zone to be found- in other words, the distance and angle that suits the player better in order to be immerse in the perspective effect. Movements that modify the position of the eyes towards the console will disrupt the tridimensional effect. For that reason, playing the Nintendo 3DS while travelling can bring some difficulty on the way players appreciate the 3D effect. For that reason, playing the console inside a moving vehicle can be a challenge. However, since the system also has the option of turning off the 3D feature, this dispute is easily settled. Players can then continue playing, but without the tridimensional effect.

Other features that the Nintendo 3DS brings to the market are also commendable and worth reference. The most obvious ones are related to the hardware.

Maybe one of its most unique hardware options are the two cameras, one regular and other that brings the 3D technology to a new level. Player now can be immersing in this effect both in and out of the game.

The console also brings a visual similar to the one referenced in the Nintendo Wii with a “Select” and “Start” appearing side by side to the “Home” buttons, making the multitasking options of Nintendo 3DS well pointed out right from the start.

Another new development is the analog button for better controlling characters on tridimensional environments, offering precise movements that the D-PAD with only 8 directions can’t offer. And once again, the Nintendo DS heritage is also confirmed,  as the Nintendo 3DS brings a Stylus that enables players to use different kinds of controlling either during a game or while exploring some of the console´s other features. It should also be pointed out, that even the Stylus received an upgrade and now can be adjusted to two different sizes. Naturally, this way of control can be used in the inferior screen of Nintendo 3DS, presenting familiarity to the users of the former console.

In the software department, the Nintendo 3DS also received several improvements which clearly help to develop the system possibilities, creating an immerse experience while playing or exploring the Nintendo 3DS options.

Since the console itself works with tridimensional technology, there are two cameras, of which one camera is regular, while the other one works with the new 3D feature capable of producing pictures really unique. So, users can enjoy having in their hands more than a console, since it can be converted into a 3D photo camera! The same device also is used in the console augmented reality [AR] possibilities. This can be used with several cards that whenever put over a surface the camera capture and create in the Nintendo 3DS screen an image according to the card position. In other words, if a player places a card on a table and points the console to it, he will see the table and also a different tridimensional image that will only appear on his Nintendo 3DS screen.

The cameras are also used for creating automatic avatars [Mii Editor] that can be handled inside the game or outside of it. The so called Mii is now created by taking a photo of a person, while the Nintendo 3DS will create an avatar/Mii similar to that person. It couldn’t be easier.

Still the use of the cameras is brought to a new level. A feature called Face Raiders exemplifies some of the options of the Nintendo 3DS. Although it’s closer to a game than a feature, it brings new possibilities. Basically, the player takes photos of persons, and then the console will put their faces in all of the enemies on the game.

Among those feature, the Nintendo 3DS provides also unique options while it’s on standby mode. StreetPass and SpotPass are two of those. The first one enables the Nintendo 3DS to communicate with other 3DS consoles that it comes across, without the player having to move a muscle. So, whenever in a street walk, players can be warned when there is another Nintendo 3DS user close by, or he/she will arrive home and discover new content for games being unlocked, since both consoles send information to each other. The second feature [Spotpass] will allow players to find wireless spots and download new content for games or related to other kinds of videos. Naturally, the option for the E-Shop can also be accessible by this service.

Finally, the Nintendo 3DS also has an option to monitors the footsteps that the user takes during the day [Activity Log], helping the player unlock new features in game or wining points that can be used in the virtual shop.

From a producer´s stand point of view, the Nintendo 3DS offers new possibilities that can improve their own franchising. For now, some games already are confirmed or released, and more are expected to arrive, exploring all of those Nintendo 3DS features.

It seems Nintendo 3DS manages to offer players the necessary hardware and software that will without a doubt create new games experiences or change the way we look to a console. With a legacy like the Nintendo DS in the shadow, the Nintendo 3DS is well equipped and hopefully brings players to a new level of gameplay.