My 3DS Impressions

So after being super disappointed that the 3DS demo pod was closed, I made my way to a Best Buy to play one of their kiosks. The Best Buy kiosk is limited, playing only PilotWings Resort on one system, but at least I got to play it. However I did hack their unit and was able to try Face Raiders and the Mii Maker (more on the hack later).

Down to business.

3D Graphics
If you’re thinking about buying a 3DS, you really need to try it first. Everyone I know who tried it could see the 3D, it just depended if it hurt their eyes or not. Some people’s eyes instantly hurt (my aunt, for example). Others see the 3D fine and have no problem (my sister, cousin, and dad).

My problem was a little trickier, it never really hurt my eyes, but I saw double occasionally while focusing in the distance.When PilotWings used big 3D effects, I was a lot more comfortable with the turned off. At the same time though, you lose an effect that defiantly impacts the gameplay. I also noticed that I had a harder time using it on PilotWings than Face Raiders or the menus. This is because the 3D pops-out at you a lot more during PilotWings (or I could have had a bad angle).

Overall the 3D works, things pop at your face while others sink deep into the background. The biggest outward jump into my face was probably an inch or so, which is definitely cool. Just make sure before you dump $250 into Nintendo that it doesn’t hurt your eyes first. There are kiosks everywhere, check out this map and find one close to you.

The Circle Pad

First off, the circle pad is awesome. Funny enough I liked it better than the 3D graphics. Very smooth, kind of rubbery, and just perfect in every way. It entirely exceeded my expectations. Fluid and brilliant. I was also able to compare it with the PSP’s. Way better and easier to use.

Other Buttons and Stylus
The buttons are pretty much the same as the DSi’s with a few differences. The D-Pad was moved down to make room for the circle pad putting it in an awkward position. It still works, but in most cases, just use the circle pad instead. The new home button works well and works similar to the Wii’s home button, but adds limited multitasking. Also the new shoulder buttons work better and have more spring. The telescoping stylus is nice, but in my demo’s I didn’t get to use it much.

Face Raiders
One of the benefit’s of hacking the system. Face Raiders kept me laughing for my brief time with it. In short, the 3DS takes a picture of your face, sticks a helmet on it, and makes your in game face laugh maniacally. The result is brilliant. Of course your face doesn’t just laugh, it sneers, puckers it’s lips and more. Truly a excellent game. It’s 3D also works better than PilotWings.

Mii Maker
Another hack benefit. The Mii  maker is a lot more in depth than the Wii’s. The make a Mii from a photo works well, especially when you compare the photo and Mii. Another fun toy. Menu’s looked good in 3D too.

PilotWings Resort

PilotWings has some very impressive 3D, to bad it’s such a minimal game. In my 15 minutes or so playing with it, I played with the rocket pack and airplane. Both control smoothly thanks to the circle pad. I found the rocket pack’s 3D pretty incredible. Your Mii riding a rocket pack actually floats outside the screen the entire time. Impressive depth to as you explore, I can totally understand Miyamoto’s comments about depth in a Mario game. The plane worked well too, just like in Wii Sports Resort
The reason I say it’s minimal is that there is only one area, the very familiar Wuhu Island from Wii Sports Resort, and very few goals and missions. I don’t see it being worth $40, but it was a fun example of what the 3DS can do.
I’m glad I got a chance to play the 3DS, and I’m probably still getting it on launch. I was happily surprised with the Circle Pad, and happy that I could see the 3D (considering I have a stigmatism and I’m colorblind).
How you can hack a unit yourself
Step 1: Turn the system off.
Step 2: Hold down L, R, Start, and Select for 3 seconds.
Step 3: Turn the system on while holding down the previously listed buttons.
Step 4: Press home when the Street Pass notification pops up.
Step 5: Play with any built-in software!
Step 6: Turn the 3DS off to go back to the beginning.

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