3DS 3DS Hands On Preview

For all of those who weren't lucky enough to make the journey to E3, Nintendo have always throw a scaled down event for journalists in the UK to highlight their upcoming releases. This year was no different except that amongst the usual collection of Wii and DS games there was a new piece of hardware: the 3DS. Due to it's unique feature (namely the 3D) all the various film footage we've seen simply doesn't do the system justice so we made our way down to London to bring you our thoughts on this ground-breaking new gaming system.

The venue, this sunny Tuesday, was the 29th floor of the spectacular Millbank Tower, which lies on the banks of the Thames, not far from Tate Britain. The view from here allows you to see almost every part of the capital but today there's something a little more interesting catching our eye. If, like us, you watched the Nintendo E3 conference, you'll have been eager to get your hands on the 3DS and that's where we head to first. There's plenty of them too, all attempting to demonstrate different aspects of the machine and, because you couldn't be there, we hope this is the next best thing.

Tech Demos

Like the early days of 3D films and television, Nintendo are eager to show off just how well the illusion of depth works on the top screen and one console featured a short selection of film clips such as wine glasses smashing and champagne corks exploding. The effect here is remarkably effective and it's hard to believe that all this is being achieved without glasses. The demo then progressed to a more 'interactive section' which allowed you to move around some Nintendo characters showing just how this new technology may be implemented into games.

The Camera

Not a lot has been made of the camera and while the DSi's picture functionality was a little disappointing, due to the low quality, the 3DS allows for detailed images which, again, have a wonderful illusion of depth.


We already know that both Disney and DreamWorks are eager to get involved with the 3DS but it was Warner Brothers who were showing off a trailer for Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Go Hoole on another of the consoles. This is a CGI affair (with a Wii and DS game also in the pipeline) brought to you by the same team who produced the Shrek series. The clarity of visuals here was outstanding and you can certainly see the 3DS having an additional use a media player.

Hollywood 61

This was the first playable demo we encountered and when we first heard of this Ubi Soft published game we immediately thought of 7th Guest, a title that signaled the arrival of the CD-Rom as a games format. Hollywood 61 is an 'interactive movie' with puzzle elements and the sample of the game we tried out had traveling around LA with a Bogart styled P.I. After pulling up outside of, and then entering an LA movie theatre we were allowed to indulge in a mirror puzzle which challenges the player to re-direct power to start up a spot light. More interesting though was the ability to move around the screen to read a secret message, which had been daubed in an abstract manor onto the auditorium curtains. This wasn't mind blowing stuff but the quality of visuals sold us on the concept and we know this type of game is very popular at present with the likes of Hotel Dusk and Professor Layton selling in their millions.

PilotWings Resort

I'm sure a lot of you were delighted when this was announced and the 3DS version was available here with two demo modes. The first allowed you to take control of a plane flying through a series of rings suspended over the island. The other involved equipping your player with a jet pack, bursting balloons before the timer ran out. While with visuals were, again, very impressive, the demo wasn't long enough to get a real feel for how the final version will turn out. As we were allowed to spend some time with the game though we decided to ignore the mission objectives and simply explore the island. It's here you get a much better idea of just how much work has gone into the design of the environment and we managed to fly out to the cruise ship docked at the pier and fly under the suspension bridge with ease.

Ninetndogs and Cats

It's difficult to recall just how popular the original Nintendogs was, some years ago, but a virtual pet, in 3D, is likely to sell huge amounts of units. The demo features only a handful of dogs but the extra dimension makes the whole experience even more immersive than you remember. You can still stroke your dog, throw sticks and boomerangs, for it to fetch, and care for it's every need. Your dog will now even remember you, thanks to the facing camera and placing the 3DS up to your face results in your pet licking your face.

Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D

While not truly interactive, Snake Eater was spectacular considering this is a first generation title. This was a lengthy demo, which allowed you to scroll around as the story played out. The developers here haven't missed a chance to show off the 3D with 'sight gags' such as our hero leaning on the titles and a snake darting out of the screen as you crawl along the floor. There was even a section where the player has to navigate a very small ledge and looking down gave a real sense of vertigo as a helicopter flies below your feet.

The Rest

Nintendo also showed off Mario Kart, Resident Evil and Kid Icarus: Uprising and while simply footage of the games in action, still look like they'll been everything you'd expect on their release. In fact we can see ourselves spending a small fortune, on release, on games alone.

Like everyone else we couldn't really imagine just how well the 3D effect would work but after spending some time with the 3DS we are completely sold on this innovative piece of technology and can only imagine it will fly off the shelves worldwide when it's released.

Before we left we couldn't help but as the Nintendo representatives about pricing and release date only to be told what we already know: before the end of the financial year (March 2011) and no comment. We still can't wait but in the meantime, we'll keep you up with any new developments.

Posted on 29-07-2010 by Andrew


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