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58 MCV 13/08/10 3DS ANALYSIS Harnessing the next


IT’S NO SECRET that Nintendo 3DS represents a major leap forward. Some of us have sampled 3D without glasses before, but most of us probably assumed that it was little more than cool tech that was years away from being an affordable – or practical – reality. Even fewer would have expected to see such advanced tech in a handheld first. For Nintendo to come out of the blocks with something so obviously well realised – seemingly from nowhere – is perhaps one of the most astonishing feel-good stories to emerge from this great business. It’s a real ‘rabbit out of a hat’ moment. For people who have never experienced this kind of technology before, playing


crisp, vibrant images a degree of conviction that’s utterly enhanced by virtue of the fact that you’re physically holding the device. It’s important to stress, though, that the 3D effect isn’t 100 per cent perfect. View the screen anything less than bang-on straight, and you’ll start to see the technology’s limitations.


Shift your head either side of the screen and suddenly you’ll experience a fractured, flickering image. On the one hand, it’s not ideal, but for the purposes of handheld play, it’s absolutely fine.


“Once you start to explore the machine’s extraordinary capabilities, things start to get very interesting indeed.”


with it for the first time will be an absolute revelation. So let’s start with what we know about the device.


At first glance, the 3DS looks very much like a subtle revision to the DS Lite and DSi. The dimensions are practically identical, it weighs almost the same, and still features the dual-screen clamshell design. So far, so familiar. Of course, there are a few tweaks and changes. The top screen is widescreen and slightly bigger, while to the left of the touch screen an analogue nub-style ‘Slide Pad’ joystick is now above the D- Pad. Yeah, I know. Big deal.


NEW VISION But it’s once you start to explore the machine’s extraordinary capabilities that things start to get very interesting indeed. Top billing undoubtedly goes to the 3D visuals – and, for once, we’re not merely talking about how many polygons the sodding graphics chip can shift. No, this time 3D actually means visuals that appear to extend beyond the screen like magic. Using a technique called Auto-Stereoscopy, the 3D image is sent to the eyes without the use of special glasses via a special lenticular screen. In what is a very clever optical illusion, the imagery is redirected to various viewing regions, fooling your brain into perceiving depth. Viewed correctly – with your eyes looking directly at the screen – the effect is absolutely incredible, giving the


You can, however, tweak the depth


effect to your own taste via a nifty 3D slider on the front of the device. If you prefer to simply turn the effect off entirely, you can do that too.


GAME PLAN


In terms of games, it’s pretty evident that support for the system is going to be enormous, with at least 60 titles already revealed. First-party support is expected to be a mixture of reworked classics such as Mario Kart, Nintendogs and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, alongside all-new iterations of long-dormant franchises such as Kid Icarus and Pilotwings.


Third parties are, understandably, queuing up to be part of the launch, with the likes of EA readying new iterations of FIFA and The Sims, while Ubisoft is known to have a Splinter Cell, Assassin’s Creed and Ghost Recon titles in the works.


Heavy hitters such as Sega, Square Enix, THQ, Capcom, Namco Bandai and Warner Bros. are also readying several titles, but it was undoubtedly Konami who stole the show, with Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater ‘Naked Sample’. It’s tough to estimate how many of the tech demos shown off recently are


Volume slider


Battery life: Nine to 14 hours, depending on screen brightness


Motion sensor/ accelerometer


Gyroscope


HEAVYWEIGHT HANDHELD: The sheer variety of features found in the 3DS makes it one of the most ambitious portable platform to date


Dimensions: 130 by 74 by 20 mm (5.1 by 2.9 by 0.79 inches)


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Slide pad


D-Pad


Weight: 8.1oz/230 grams


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