3DS: 3D gaming has just caught my attention.
Rumor had been circulating recently that Nintendo was developing a new DS system that could achieve real 3D effects without the use of special glasses. Naturally, the world exploded with speculation. Topics ranged from how the glasses-free device would operate, to whether or not Sony should follow suit with the PSP, to whether or not anyone would even give a damn about the new DS.
Nintendo, however, has been relatively mum on the subject. A quick look at the Nintendo of America front page displays no information about the 3DS, nor does the DS front page. It appears as though Nintendo is more than happy to let the market itself drive demand.
As for myself, I was uninterested in the device. I don’t see a lot of value in adding 3d to the gaming experience, as it contributes little in other media formats. Over the last decade, and now prevalent in the last few years, 3D has been invading movie screens across the globe. While I certainly agree that a film should be a robust visual experience, it feels as though the use of 3D comes at the expense of story. Avatar was an excellent example.
But is 3d even that amazing? Not so much. While seeing Dreamworks’ How to Train Your Dragon, I was shocked to discover that the glasses completely muted the colors of the film. I spent the remainder of the movie watching with one eye shut, and the 2D image I received was much more vibrant and entertaining than the 3D I paid $17.50 for.
New technologies such as parallax screens remove the need for 3D glasses, but even then, there are a multitude of issues: small viewing hotspots, muted color, limited amount of people can watch, etc. I figured, as well as many others, that the 3DS would make use of the parallax screen.
But then I saw this:
Holy shit. Holy shit yes.
Whereas everyone though that the 3DS would be projecting a 3D image outward, it instead uses an accelerometer to detect tilt, and then moves the world internally. Its as if you could hold the Mona Lisa in your hands, and tilt it to see what the hell she’s smiling at.
Imagine the creative ways this can be applied to games: think about searching under desks and behind curtains and around corners for clues in Phoenix Wright; think about speeding across the track in your F1 racer and turning around to get a look at the driver hot on your heels; think about carefully peeking around a corner in a corridor shooter to quickly survey the area, and pulling back in terror when you see you're outnumbered. The possibilities are endless.
What’s so exciting about the 3DS technology is that the 3D effect is directly in the player’s control. In movies or in television, hell, even pop-up books, you are only shown what someone else wanted you to see. Here, you move experience 3D on your terms, and all in the name of saving the princess, or solving the crime, or whatever it is that you yourself want to do.
Despite my excitement over the device, I do have some questions. The video doesn’t show how the 3DS must be held. Is the “default” position having the device parallel to the ground, or perpendicular, or 45 degrees? Can you change between the options? As a player who finds no shortage of odd ways to sit and stand, this is very important.
I’m sure that once Nintendo decides to open its mouth a little more on the topic, everything will become clear. But for now, I am totally considering replacing my DS lite.