Conventionalists and lo-fi warriors who prefer to stick to classic 8bit systems & games may be exceptionally few and far between, and even non-tech phobics can feel that the new 3D wave is simply just another marketing ploy to galvanize consumers into a spending fit. But, once you pick up the new Nintendo 3DS portable system, you'll wonder how you ever got by with its original (and now instantly neglected older brother), the plain ol' DS. The unique screen's 3D look is quite remarkable and highly effective. The only downside is that you'd wish it were a bit bigger (wanting to peer deeper into the game's terrain!). Far reaching additional menu functions include the 3DS Sound option to record and play with audio, making notes, such Wii functions as the creation of Mii characters, the Mii Plaza, on-line connectivity and syncing with other players, and the superb 3D camera! Yes, two lenses mounted on the system take incredible 3D pictures you can store and even manipulate with graffiti.
When looking for the stylus in its customary spot to type or fulfill more detailed functions, I was surprised to find a more compact version hiding around the corner. Face Raiders takes a picture of anyone's face and pastes it on a 3D flying helmet, which you have to shoot down, using your surroundings as the background. The Activity Log records game activity and in sleep mode acts as a step counter while carrying your 3DS around; send you notifications; allow you to build up a fellow DS friend list; and even more software can be added, as with iPod / iPhone apps. Another built in blast is the phenomenal Augmented Reality Nintendo (used in co-operation with the supplied cards). The software recognizes the card and from it sprouts totally 3D objects anchored in your real surroundings and reality, like boxes and targets you have to shoot, even sinking into the surface with depth. You can move 360 degrees around these objects as they make a part of your surroundings. A docking station charges the 3DS with ease.
The health warning is not there to annoy you, as children under 6 can get vision damage, certain eye problems can get exacerbated, and after giving it my first bash, had a bit of a dizzy result (not taking the recommended 10-15min break every half hour!). The 3D effect can be adjusted to 2D.
The 3DS system is truly the next level.
6 / A
- Paul Blom