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CNET First Look
Nintendo 3DSThough it's a bit pricey, the Nintendo 3DS successfully offers a glasses-less 3D experience that needs to be seen to be believed. A weaker-than-usual launch lineup and some inactivated online features dampen its launch, but the future certainly looks...
-What's going on everyone? I'm Jeff Bakalar for CNET.com and today, it is our final first look at the Nintendo 3DS portable gaming system. Now, as you all know, the 3DS is the follow-up to the DS which, believe it or not, is the best selling portable gaming console of all time. They've sold 145 million units of this thing. So, Nintendo had a lot of work cut out in designing the 3DS. The 3DS is the first portable console to ever display a 3D image without the need for special glasses. Now, the big question is, does it actually work? And yeah, it does, and it works really well actually. The best way I've been able to describe the illusion for people is to imagine those old Magic Eye images where you sorta had to cross your eyes to see the 3D image. There's no eye crossing needed for the 3DS, but it does work and it works really well. Now, will it make you sick? Maybe, it depends on how sensitive you are to 3D. There's a 3D slider up here on the top screen, which allows you to adjust the intensity of the 3D effect. So, if you're feeling a bit nauseous, maybe you have a headache and you're not really digging the 3D, just turn this off and the image will go into 2D and you can play fine, no problem. The 3D doesn't give you any advantage over 2D. You can't look around corners or anything like that. It just enhances the experience. So, on the outside of the 3DS, it looks a lot like the DS Lite. On the front lid are the 2 cameras. They're 0.3-megapixel cameras, the same cameras you had on the DSi and the DSi XL. Kinda bummed out, wish they would go a little bigger with that, but they didn't. These 2 lenses, side by side, are what allow you to take 3D photos; also has a gyroscope and a motion sensor, which is pretty cool. On the back you'll see the stylus, the game card port, an infra-red port, left and right buttons. On one side is the wireless switch, and on the other side are the volume slider and the SD card slot. On the inside, once again, looking a lot like a Nintendo DS Lite, except this time around, we've got an analog stick on the left side and the unit, which is really cool. There's a select, home, and start button at the bottom below the touchscreen, and the power button is in a new location and it looks a little different now, too. Overall, aesthetically speaking, that's all there is different in this model. It also comes with a charging dock, which allows you to place the 3DS in a dock and charge, which is pretty cool. Online functionality isn't really enabled yet. But in May, it's coming and it'll come with a virtual console that's gonna let you play Game Boy games, Game Boy Advance games, and classics that Nintendo will redo in 3D. Also, there's gonna be support for Netflix. Not sure about 3D video but the 3DS can play 3D video, so we would expect some sort of marketplace for studios who are offering content, and you'll probably pay a price and download the videos you wanna watch. Also, there'll be the 3DS eShop, so no more Nintendo points. They're going for straight cash pay service. What we really like is connecting to the Internet, with the 3DS, is easier than ever. You pick your wireless ID, you enter your password, you're connected. It can save up to a couple SSIDs. So, if you leave your house where it's connected to Wi-Fi and you come to some place else where you have inputed the information, it'll know to switch right over and you'll be connected all the time. And we really like what they did with friend codes. Even though they're annoying and you will have to enter them, they're a 12-digit code, you only have to enter them once. So, once you have a friend's friend code, you enter it into your friend's list, and you're done. You'll never have to enter it again. What we really like about the system software is this home button down below. It lets you suspend any app or game you're using, and you can go and-- and check out some of the features that are-- are available in the home screen, like your friend's list and something they're calling Game Notes, which essentially allows you to take notes while you're playing a game. So, if there's something you don't really have pen and paper for, you wanna write down about a specific game, you pop it in the game notes and you can access that at any time. The 3DS' launch line-up isn't amazing. It's about 16 games not including the ones that come bundled in. We really like the "Pilotwings Resort" game and also the "Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition." That's a lot of fun to play as well. Now, some games you'll be playing in 3D and you're gonna be button mashing, and you'll realize that you accidentally synced out the 3D effect. That's the problem. The 3D viewing angle on the 3DS is very sensitive. So, if you're moving it around, which some games do require because of the gyroscope and the motion sensor, you're gonna sometimes take yourself out of that 3D effect, which is kind of upsetting. Everyone knows the old Nintendo DS games came in sort of a brown box. The new 3DS games come in a slimmer, white box. So, just side by side, the new 3DS game cartridge, as opposed to the old DS one, the new one is gray and it's got a little nub at the top. That's really the only different. Overall, the 3DS is a worthy successor to the DS franchise. But as we all know, the gaming market continues to evolve and we're just not sure how much longer Nintendo will be able to get away with offering a device that focuses on gaming only. There's really not too much other functionality here, some music player and stuff like that. But it's not making phone calls anytime soon. So, it'll be interesting to see what the 3DS does in the mobile gaming market now that it's become such a popular franchise. We're just not sure how long Nintendo's gonna be able to get away with offering a gaming-centric device, especially considering there's a lot of competition, and they all seem to be making all-in-one devices. So, Nintendo certainly has an interesting road ahead. I'm Jeff Bakalar for CNET.com and this has been the Nintendo 3DS.