Thursday, January 20, 2011

Nintendo 3Ds enters The 3rd Dimension

Nintendo of America rallied the gaming faithful in New York City to detail the North American launch of the Nintendo 3DS. Japanese gamers have already known the nitty-gritty for quite some time so Nintendo dished on the final pricing, launch date, features, and previewed some of the upcoming games for the next generation handheld.

President for Nintendo of America, Regis Fils-Aime took the stage and explained that, to Nintendo, the 3DS represents more than just a gaming machine.

“There are three immediate payoffs to 3D and the first is games. While Nintendo is recognized first as a video games company, we see ourselves as part of the entertainment industry. That’s because second, it can do 3D video playback. Third, it can do 3D photography and offer 3D display of those pictures.”

The Nintendo 3DS will first be available in two colors: Aqua Blue and Cosmo Black. These are the same colors being launched in other territories like Japan. Looks like Nintendo isn’t going to offer much variety on these things. Looking forward to my Contempo White 3DS Lite in 2013!

With the system comes the same goodies as the Japanese 3DS including the charging cradle and 2GB SD card which can be upgraded.

Atop the 3DS, new color-changing notification lights give vital data without having to open up the system. A green light indicates friends with other 3DS devices are close by and communicating with Street Pass, blue is for wifi activation, orange means friends are playing online, and red means the battery is running low.

The Street Pass feature is a lot like Bark mode from Nintendogs. Setting the 3DS into Street Pass mode will allow it to transmit data to nearby handhelds even if your device is asleep.

From the 3DS Home menu, players can launch Mii-Maker. Just like the Wii’s Mii Channel, players can craft their own cartoon avatars. With the 3DS cameras, players can snap a photo of themselves and Mii-Maker will construct a Mii based on that data.

An Activity Log works with the 3DS’s gyroscope acting as a pedometer to allow players to track their daily fitness routine including steps taken, etc. Walking more earns virtual coins which can be traded in for in-game bonuses.

Augmented Reality Games work with a series of specially designed cards, allowing the 3DS cameras to read them and overlay gameplay on top of the camera’s video feed.

An enhanced internet browser is also in the mix along with a revamped version of the Nintendo Shopping Channel which will sell Game Boy & Gameboy Color as well as new games.

Perhaps some of the best news to come out of this event was the word on Friend Codes. Everybody hates them but Nintendo looks like they’re finally going to get it right. Well, partially. There’s a new Friend Code system which requires one code per 3DS instead of individual codes per game. Register your code once and you’re done. Friends with a 3DS connected to the same wifi connection will be added automatically, no typing required. Well done, Nintendo.


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