Nintendo 3DS: Is it a game-changer?



It’s been a little over four years since Nintendo changed the face of gaming forever. The release of the Wii gave gamers an alternative to button-bashing. Now we’re frantically waving, jumping and leaning to try and beat our mates.

3ds.jpg
The Nintendo 3DS is packed full of exciting features

The Nintendo 3DS is out on March 25 and we’re getting giddy about it already. Those clever Japanese innovators altered the shape of consoles with the Wii, so are they about to do it all again with the 3DS?

Motion-controlled gaming was what set everyone’s pulses racing before the launch of the Wii. This time around, the prospect of glasses-free 3D gaming is enough to get my thumbs twitching in anticipation.

For most of us, it’ll be like nothing we’ve ever seen in our own homes. That is unless you are one of the fortunate few to own a (fully hooked-up) 3D TV. The closest the rest of us will have got is watching Avatar or Toy Story 3 at the cinema.

Despite having a later launch date than Nintendo’s handheld offering, Sony decided against making a 3D console and went for what it knows best with the NGP – strong games and awesome graphics. Sony has decided to let Nintendo test the water.

Not that Nintendo needed any encouragement. The 3DS will launch armed with a host of established titles on a new platform. Metal Gear Solid and Zelda will be playable in 3D. First person games should be especially jaw-dropping in 3D because it’ll be easier to become immersed in the gaming environment.

The 3DS is also designed to retain the new audiences Nintendo attracted with the DS. Nintendogs + Cats will keep eight-year-old girls entertained for hours as they lean into the screen for the on-screen virtual pet to lick their face. OK, it’s not exactly cutting edge gaming, but 3D is definitely going to have a dramatic impact on young kids.

If you like to lean into corners on Mario Kart then the 3DS caters for that, too. Its motion sensor and gyro sensor reacts to the twists and turns you put the console through, so it’ll be a bit like having a Wiimote.

Some features on the 3DS certainly scream gimmick at me. The 3DS has three cameras on it and lets gamers take snaps of their friends in 3D.

But once you’ve shown off what your fancy new gadget can do and have drawn graffiti on your mates’ faces a couple of times, it’s hard to see a long-term future for it. Will you really bring your 3DS on nights out to take pics? Thought not.

Going along with the whole social networking vibe, Nintendo have introduced StreetPass. So if you walk past a fellow 3DS gamer in the street, you could be able to access their high scores and take a look at their Mii.

It’s great news that we’ll find it easier to swap information with our friends, but given I can sit opposite someone on a train for two hours and not say a word, I find it hard to believe I’ll suddenly want to start gaming with people as I brush past them…

Maybe I shouldn’t knock it before I’ve tried it. The launch of the Wii saw self-confessed gaming addicts like me suddenly playing a casual game of tennis with my parents. Who is to say StreetPass won’t do something even more remarkable?

Is the Nintendo 3DS a game-changer? Nintendo is once again pushing the boundaries with 3D graphics, interesting social gaming ideas and the familiar console for all the family feeling.

While 3D might not be essential for every new console launching after the 3DS, gamers will certainly expect to see something special in the absence of the third dimension.

Consider the game changed.

Are you counting down the days until March 25? Pre-order your Nintendo 3DS here for a deposit of just £10. Launch price is £199 which includes 2GB memory card and a £75 voucher booklet.