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Hands On: A Hardcore Gamer’s View of the 3DS

You can’t stop that Nintendo lot. They’re spreading all over the UK at the moment faster than a porn star’s legs to promote the 3DS, and are giving the public hands-on access to try and convince them to part with their hard-earned cash. One of Nintendo’s most recent showings was the Nintendo 3DS Pre-launch Event at the Arnolfini, Bristol.

Rich (left) and Solid Snake (right)

We couldn’t make it ourselves sadly, but one of our friends could. Richard Cadman eats, breathes and sleeps video games, and was one of the first through the door to get a taste of Nintendo’s console. So, how does Joe Public measure it up? Is it another console smash hit from Nintendo, or another Virtual Boy? Rich was kind enough to tell us his thoughts:

Hi Rich, tell us what your impressions were before you got your hands on the 3DS, and what you felt afterwards.

I’ll be honest with you, I had no idea what to expect. I read a fair bit of gaming media so I’ve heard a lot about the ‘being sceptical at first but blown away once it’s in your hands’ process of experiencing the 3DS for the first time. I had no idea if I would feel the same or not. I couldn’t really imagine what I was going to see on that top screen so I mostly felt very eager and privileged to be able to test it myself ahead of release.

I left feeling that Nintendo had done what Nintendo always do, they have made a great product. The 3D really works and there are certainly some quality games being made for it.

And the 3DS is more than just the 3D believe it or not, we were told about the Street Pass and Spot Pass abilities and the augmented reality games, the 3DS looks impressive now but it’ll be very interesting to see what Nintendo and third-party developers do with these features.

Was there a good atmosphere where you played the console, and were there a lot of gamers dribbling from the corners of the mouth?

Will Donkey Kong make a 3DS appearance any time soon?

Well Nintendo has a marketing problem with the 3DS, there isn’t anyway that you can show people the ‘3D without glasses experience’ in magazines or on TV, because this technology is only available on 3DS! So these events were set up for the sole reason that consumers can see it with there own eyes, can see that the 3DS works and presumably spread the word!

And yes the atmosphere was certainly good, while this wasn’t quite the lavish launch parties you see in the magazines, they had tried to emulate the fee., we had an introduction before we were let into the hands-on areas, along with a Street Fighter and Resident Evil presentation which was excellent. I almost kicked a zombie in the head! Hands on was in a rather groovy nightclub style environment, music and lights included, so all in all it was a well put together presentation, Nintendo certainly didn’t half-ass it!

Can’t say too much about the other gamers, there were one or two I noticed that were excited but I personally was a little tunnel visioned on the system itself.

You’re a massive Nintendo fan – well, a massive gaming fan in general! – so do you feel Nintendo has hit the nail on the head with another innovative product? Or did you leave with a ‘gimmicky’ underwhelming feeling?

A bit of both if I’m honest. The 3DS is an undoubtedly impressive piece of kit, and the 3D is genuinely something that that you can’t see anywhere else. However the 3D is, lets face, merely visual, unless you’re the type who gets excited every time a new 3D film is released at the cinema.

The 3D may seem more gimmicky than revolutionary. Ocarina of Time is the same, but in 3D. Street Fighter is the same, but in 3D and the same can be said for Dead Or Alive. Like I said before, it’s the connectivity and the augmented reality that interests me personally, so as long as future developments focus on these potentially game-changing aspects, the future will certainly be bright.

What games did you play that stood out and impressed you? What games looked terrible in comparison, and what are you looking forward to?

Ocarina of Time on the 3DS is dead good (apparently...)

One word, Zelda! It may be a re-release of a decade-year-old game, but who can resist revisiting such a world? The Augmented Reality game i played was my favourite, however, because I had never played anything like it before. It was very simple, a temple and then a dragon rose out of the table that this special card was resting on and you just had to shoot targets. A great moment was when I had to point the 3DS’s camera directly vertical to the table so i could look down a pit in order to shoot a target hidden at the bottom. As I said, very simple, but i can’t wait to try more games like these.

There’s was only really one game I was disappointed by and that was Kid Icarus: Uprising. A very very pretty game, and probably exhibited the best use of 3D in all the games I tried, as the sense of depth in the flying sections was very impressive. However the gameplay did not match the visuals, the flying sections reminded me a little too much of a poor man’s Lylat Wars, which I think you’ll agree is a tad ironic considering that is also coming to the 3DS in the launch window.

And with the fighting sections on foot, the controls are bad…or at least they aren’t easy to pick up in my 10 minute test, to turn 90 degrees you have to quickly swipe the touch screen and face an attacking enemy, to say it felt unwieldy and unnatural would be an understatement.

You’ve pre-ordered the console – going to be cancelling any time soon or has it just heightened your anticipation to own a 3DS?

I would say neither! I have read a lot of press so I knew this was the sort of thing I would like to own in the future, and playing it definitely confirmed that fact. It hasn’t made me want to rush out and get it on release – after all, £200 is still a lot to spend nowadays. But I will get one soon, at the very least to have a hand-held Ocarina Of Time. And who knows? Maybe when that moment comes I’ll have a 3DS ‘lite’!

So many people have dropped to the floor dead after playing the 3DS, or have violently excreted into their trousers, clutching their stomachs and vomiting all over their nearest and dearest shortly after playing. Nah, not really… but any ill effects?

Well there didn’t seem to be any queasy gamers stumbling around! However, I couldn’t help but feel slightly weird playing it, the feeling was that my eyes knew they were being tricked to see these images and it made me think if that the feeling would increase or decrease over long periods of time. Is it something we will get used to? Or will long periods give us migraines? There isn’t any way to tell yet, but I’m sure there’ll be plenty of stories after the console’s release!

The 3DS is nearly in our hands!

Where next for Nintendo? What other barriers are there to break?

There will always be new barriers. Nintendo have been experimenting with 3D gaming for years (Virtual Boy!) but only now has technology caught up with Nintendo’s vision. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out if Nintendo were currently working on holographic gaming or something and will soon be in our homes by 2026…

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