The 3DS' semi-secret weapon: 3Difying the back catalog

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When the 3DS was announced, Nintendo did it alongside a ridiculous amount of fan service. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been hoping for a new Kid Icarus game for almost my entire life. Along with remakes or reduxes of classics like Ocarina of Time, StarFox, Paper Mario, there were a number of 3rd-party titles and other fun stuff. But Nintendo has never been reliant on third parties for its breakout hits. Occasionally something like GoldenEye comes along and faces them hard, but the big N has always been about its core properties and, let’s be honest, mining nostalgia.

So: think about it. What’s the obvious move? New 3D technology… old titles. I guarantee we’re going to see a huge explosion of DSWare/downloadables in the form of back catalog games rendered in 3DS-compatible stereo 3D.

All Nintendo has to do is port a few of the standard graphics engines to the 3DS’ impressive new hardware (which we pegged at near-Wii levels of graphic fidelity), map some of the controls to the bottom screen, and set the output to be compatible with the 3DS’ parallax barrier display. I mean, that’s not a trivial task, but Nintendo can do it all internally, having led the development of many of said graphic engines and already having a large, dedicated porting team — as evidenced by the titles already announced.

That video was done in an emulator (Project 64, same as I used back in the day) with iZ3D drivers. If they can do it, Nintendo can. Enable your 3D viewing method of choice; “parallel” works best for me, not having any glasses. (Watch on YouTube for non-distorted version)

So in all likelihood, you’ve got stuff like F-Zero X, Blast Corps, Body Harvest, Wave Race 64 (which would be awesome), probably even GameCube stuff like Wind Waker and Metroid Prime coming down the pipe. Might we even see depth-enhanced (“depth-enhanced,” I like that) sprite-based games? I wouldn’t put it past them. The background layers in SNES games are often already separated to provide parallax movement, though of course the 3D effect wouldn’t be as complete. Super FX and Mode 7 games would be interesting, though.

As a bonus, if and when they decide to support 3D for the big screen (likely their next console will at least have the capability — the 3-Wii? Wii-D?), they’ll have a boatload of games ready for distribution.

Seriously. There’s no way Nintendo isn’t going to leverage its huge back catalog — they know they can make the conversions, and they know people will buy them. They’ve obviously prioritized the big sellers for launch titles, but we’ll probably see announcements for more before the 3DS’ release date, which could be as early as Holiday 2010.

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