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Editor Roundtable: On The 3DS, 3D Gaming And More



Nintendo recently confirmed something that has been floating around for a few weeks: It’s working on a new handheld. The surprising bit was that it was going to be more than just a turbocharged DS. The new device, tentatively called the 3DS, will display three-dimensional images without requiring users to wear special glasses.

Naturally, that got the Game Informer staff talking. What was Nintendo thinking? Are we ready for a dedicated 3D handheld? Why reveal this when the DSi XL hasn’t even hit store shelves? We discussed some of those questions and concerns in an informal conversation, along with a few predictions and some good ol’ fashioned speculation.

What do you think? Are you excited about the 3DS?

Jeff Cork
It’s interesting to see Nintendo leapfrog past an HD solution for the Wii in favor of a 3D handheld. One of the reasons 3D technology has been successful in theaters is that it offers a spectacle that can’t easily be replicated at home. Games are an entirely different beast. Have any of you played a DS game and thought that it needed to be in 3D? Have you had that thought about a game on any system, for that matter? Nintendo has made a business out of surprising people, and if anyone can pull it off it’s them. At this point though, it feels like a solution in search of a problem.

Phil Kollar
As my opinion piece in the magazine last month might have suggested, I'm not  very hopeful for the future of 3D gaming, and what little I know about the Nintendo 3DS so far does little to change that. If they really have a way to do impressive-looking 3D without the need for glasses, that could be very exciting, but until we hear more about the actual technology behind the 3DS, I'm prepared to be underwhelmed. That said, after over five years of crazy success with the DS, it's definitely time for Nintendo to be launching a new handheld. Hopefully the tech powering it (aside from the 3D stuff) is exciting and worth the upgrade.

Matt Kato
While the 3DS might be nice to look at, I wonder what the gameplay experiences will really be like. I worry that gameplay uses of 3D will be restricted by the technology. Could you make title as gameplay rich as, Castlevania, for instance, that uses 3D and still keep its foundation intact? Or are we going to simply be staring at 3D DS images and tapping the touchscreen occasionally with a stylus?

Tim Turi
I always thought the standard DS Lite screens and even the bigger DSi displays were smaller than they needed to be. After my first experience with the DSi XL’s enormous screens yesterday (trust me, I’m getting one), I’m can’t imagine a 3D display working well on anything smaller. With that in mind, how will Nintendo implement 3D technology into a new handheld without making it big to the point of it hardly qualifying as a handheld? To answer the question, I’ve never seen 3D console gaming as being a necessary step for the industry in general, let alone handheld games. The best handheld games end up being the ones that embrace their play-on-the-go purpose. I want to play a game where I can snap open the DS and start playing right away, without having to worry about adjusting my eyes to various image depths. Doesn’t complicating the technology too much reduce the fun and accessibility of a portable system?

Bryan Vore
As far as Jeff's "solution in search of a problem" point, I'd argue that this is exactly what Nintendo has done over the past few years and made truckloads of money in the process. No one thought we needed two screens for a portable handheld. No one asked for motion controls. Most of all, no one wanted to mix exercise and gaming. All Nintendo needs to do is craft a "Wii Sports of 3D" that makes it clear how the mechanic works and people will buy it. Plus, a new console means another Mario Kart that will be in the top 20 sales chart for three years after it releases.

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