When you pick up and switch on the Nintendo 3DS for the first time and look into the glasses-free 3D screen, it will be nothing short of amazing. You get the feeling that you cannot believe what you are seeing.
To the right of the 3D screen, which is the top of the two screens on the handheld console, you will see a 3D slider. This lets you adjust the intensity of the 3D to a level your eyes are most comfortable with. Like any other DS console, the bottom screen is a touchscreen.
Once the screen is suited to your eyes, the fun begins. As a first time user, you will be required to create a Mii, which is a digital avatar of yourself. You get to create one from scratch, or do it the fun way – let the 3D camera take a picture of yourself, which is then morphed into avatar version of your facial features, and is completely customizable.
The console alone, without purchasing any additional games, can keep you (and just about anyone you know) entertained for hours. The bottom touchscreen panel lets you view options available to you using the stylus or via the analogue circle pad or + control pad. Options include the 3DS camera, 3DS sound, Mii maker, Mii plaza, AR games and Face Raiders. Other menu options include an activity log, settings, health information and download play.
Face Raiders is an augmented reality shooter game. Using the 3DS camera, your picture will be taken before you begin, and you will appear wearing a helmet. Your environment – home or office, is projected onto the background of the game, and is your playground. The game makes use of the built-in gyro and motion sensors. The objective of the game is to shoot enemies with a boss battle at the end of each stage. Additional players appear as enemies later on. The game requires space, and cannot be played sitting down. Arrows will appear on-screen, showing you which direction to move, in order to shoot. There are different levels of difficulty and the more you play, the more stages you unlock.
AR games require the pack of six AR cards that comes with the console and is used as a platform for shooting games. You start off by playing with the ‘?’ card initially. You place the card on a flat surface, and point the 3DS cameras to it and then take in the magical view in front of your eyes. When you play with the ? card and experience the dragon coming out of the box for the very first time, you will be blown away. Then you will show everyone you know how amazing the technology is.
Inside the box you get the 3DS console, a charging dock, AC adapter, stylus, 6 AR cards and a 2GB SD card.
The Nintendo 3DS is priced at R2800 and games cost R500. While some may argue that it is over-priced, you have to appreciate the technology it houses.
Personally, I’m not a 3D TV fan, and won’t consider buying one (and I’m not even referring to the price tag), but the 3DS is worth buying as it gives you small doses of the technology, without (thus far) causing any headaches.
Good: 3D without the glasses; AR games; intensity of 3D can be adjusted.
Bad: pricey; console has to be held in a certain position; may hurt your eyes.
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