Hands-on: 3DS hardware and gaming impressions

We got our hands on the 3DS this morning at Nintendo’s press conference, but it wasn’t exactly a proper hands-on. It was just a simple demo to basically show that it works. Well, I just waited in a huge line that snaked around Nintendo’s E3 booth for over an hour to spend some quality time with the 3D gaming platform. Simply said, it works as advertised.

Hardware impressions:

  • It’s a similar shape and size as a DSi Lite.
  • The top 3D screen is bright and high-resolution (800×240 resolution)
  • Surprisingly good 3D viewing angle, +/- about 30% on the vertical and horizontal axis
  • The analog stick is on a nearly-flat plane, rather than on a convex shape like a Dual-Shock but works very well
  • No would say anything about battery life, screen maker, CPU or anything technical

Gaming impressions

  • Nintendogs – Nintendogs in 3D. That’s about it.
  • Kid Icarus: Uprising- Could be the must have title, engaging and fun
  • Mario Kart 3DS – Some of the best 3DS graphics
  • Star Fox – Born for the 3DS, but the demo wasn’t that impressive
  • Metal Gear Solid – I don’t know, I couldn’t see the 3D
  • 3D camera – just a 3D camera

The  last point is important. I sometimes have a hard time seeing 3D effects and I guess the 3DS’s screen isn’t any different. This was the only game/ demo where the 3D stereo image didn’t converge properly like a Magic Eye poster that doesn’t want to come into focus. Mark Wilson from Gizmodo apparently couldn’t see Star Fox in 3D. Our issues probably aren’t isolated incidents. It’s likely a common occurrence but hopefully the bugs will be worked out before launch — whenever that is.

Overall though, I must say the 3DS is impressive. The view angle is great, the graphics are a lot better than on the current DSi, and the 3D works like Nintendo said it would. What more can you want?