Nintendo 3DS Hands-On Impressions

If you’ve been traveling the internet over the last few days you’ve probably seen nothing but 3DS unboxings and impressions. What does a man do when he does not yet have a Nintendo 3DS in hand? Why, wander on down to a local Best Buy where they may have a display unit! And after heading down to my Best Buy blindly, to my surprise there was a Nintendo 3DS! Not really sure what to expect, I took hold of the 3DS and prepared to look at the screen in anticipation of finally experiencing the 3D effects. The second I glanced at that screen… Well, someone had turned the 3D off so it was just a 2D image. But then I cranked that 3D slider up! Being the manly man I am, I turned it up to maximum power!


It was a bit strange because I wasn’t entirely sure if it was supposed to pop off the screen or down into the screen. So it took me a second to focus my eyes. Pilot Wings was the demo on display. The menu’s 3D effects were really interesting as the menu items themselves are on the top layer while everything else is in the back. I’m not sure if this is true for all 3DS games, but the 3D effects only sunk back into the screen in Pilot Wings. The first event I choose was the jet-pack one where you pop balloons. Once the camera was behind my character, “oh, god! Turn those 3D effects down!” After adjusting the 3D effects to a more manageable level, about halfway for me, it was play time. I jet packed around for a little while but then started getting a low fuel warning, so I quickly popped the balloons to finish the mission.


Screen Shot Not In 3D, But Doesn’t Really Matter

After finishing the mission, I realized something. I didn’t really pay attention to the 3D graphics, but admittedly the mission was short, so I just moved on. The next event I choose had you flying a plane, similar to that found in WiiSports Resort. The mission was a bit lengthier and you fly through rings instead of balloons. I finished the mission and, again, I didn’t really notice the 3D effects. Every time I tried to crank up the 3D to see if that would help, my eyes would immediately start yelling at me to turn it back down again. I’m not sure if this is an extension of my view of graphics in general. I tend to just sort of ignore them and play the game, whether it’s the best looking HD game ever released or one of the most awkward looking early 32/64-bit titles ever made.


I was reminded of the 3D visuals in certain instances: when I started moving. Suddenly the game would blur and I’d have difficulty refocusing, essentially having to blink multiple times to sort of reset my vision. I’m not sure if this is only true to Pilot Wings, but the 3D visuals didn’t really help the experience, just detract from it once you knocked it out of focus.

Miis Return With More Built In Software Than Ever Before

I didn’t play enough Pilot Wings to really write impressions on it, but every event I played was basically “fly through rings!” The series has never been all that appealing to me anyways, so I wasn’t really expecting much. Control wise, if you’ve played a DS you know what to expect. The circle pad though was exceptionally smooth, and has a nice rubber texture and a dip that makes a snug fit for your thumb.


This is where the experience ends if you play by Nintendo’s rules. But work some magic, also known as a work around, and walla! You’re in the 3DS’ menu with access to all the built in software. I’m glad I did this because this is where the 3D effects really shine. Like the Wii Channels, and I assume DSi as well, the title has a display image for every channel or game. You get really cool 3D rotating models of Miis, the plane from Pilot Wings, and more. When opening the home menu, the content you currently have running lays into the back of the system, where the menu itself is placed towards the forefront. The visuals are very pleasing and fun to look at. Creating a Mii is pretty much the same as before, the slight 3D effects didn’t really do anything special. I tried making a Mii using the camera recognition technology. It created an semi-abomination. I don’t have any actual pictures, but here’s a recreated version on the Wii. The nose literally took up like half of my Mii’s face.

Ze Mii Looks Nothing Like Me!


So I only played it for a little over fifteen minutes or so. No one else was bothering me to get off, so why did I stop? No, it wasn’t eye fatigue or boredom. When you have the 3DS mounted to a waist high desk and you’re literally bending over at about a 90 degree angle for fifteen or twenty minutes, your back starts hurting. And when the 3DS is mounted to a table, you can’t try out any of the software that features motion gameplay. So I casually strolled myself out of the BestBuy. On my drive home, I did notice something. My eyes didn’t really feel tired, or in pain… They just felt kind of weird. Like something wasn’t right. A few minutes later my eyes started watering, and then blood, blood everywhere! Well, no blood. But my eyes did start watering. I’m not sure if this is from the 3DS or just the sun when I was driving, but they didn’t water on the way there or for the rest of the day after my eyes had recovered from this strange feeling.


But before you think I absolutely hate 3DS, there are a handful of notes to make.


1. As mentioned before, I was leaning over extensively so I wasn’t exactly at an ideal angle for 3D.


2. I’m an extremely fidgety person. I will, and must, move when I’m standing in place. Even as I’m writing this, I’m basically shaking my legs around under my desk. I was likely swaying side to side to ease my urge to move, which probably threw the 3D effect off more than usual. It would most likely not have been nearly as difficult to hold a 3D effect if I was sitting down and playing.


3. Pilot Wings wasn’t really that exciting from a personal standpoint, and the 3D effects didn’t really seem to do the game any benefit. If I had access to more software my opinion might have been different.


4. It was only 15 minutes. Perhaps if I got in the groove, things would have been much better. My experience was essentially: play, play, play, done, menu, Mii, menu, done, go home.

My Back Dying A Horrible, Horrible Death Re-Enacted Through MS Paint


My 3DS is still pre-ordered, so I’m getting it day one. I’m looking forward to see what other titles will offer in terms of 3D. My first impressions weren’t so hot, but I also wasn’t exactly under the greatest of circumstances. If you happen to be by a Best Buy, be sure to stop in and take a check to see if they have a 3DS set up. Just keep in mind that leaning over touching your nose to your toes isn’t exactly the most ideal circumstances for gameplay.

10 thoughts on “Nintendo 3DS Hands-On Impressions”

    1. I’ve heard talkingz amongst inner crowds that it exists as well. (Spoilers: GrimsChild). Although this brings the question. Are they 2D girls still…or are they 3D? Because now men who hate 3D girls, will now have their 2D girlfriends as 3D girls.

  1. Weird, at my Best Buy I was able to actually pick up the system instead of having to lean over on the table. I just had to pull the 3DS really hard off the magnet :P. There was one of those string thingys that they keep on phone displays attached to it.

    Also, how’d you get into the home screen? I tried a couple things, but none of them led me to the home screen T_T

  2. I think you’re eyes might be broke XD I tried the same games just earlier today, and I thought the 3D was amazing, it gave a whole new level of depth perception and looked realistic rather than the overused pop out effect. Like you were looking through a window into the world.

    I wasn’t able to get into the menu which was unfortunate, but next week I’ll be able to 😛

  3. @Muzy72 Yeah, Cosmoid told me that it was actually attached to magnets. I tugged on it to see if it would come up when I was there, but it didn’t come off with a light tug, so I thought it was just mounted to the table lol.

    Just turn the power off and then press the home button on the startup menu. I heard in some locations you have to do something with like L+R+Start for 3 seconds or something, but I didn’t have to.


    Yeah I was wondering the same lol. My friend went and tried it today and he came off with the same impression as me though. Hopefully my eyes aren’t broken, or else all my 3DS reviews will be like “lolIcan’texperience3D, let’s talk about the game instead.” Cause all reviews should be focused on graphix, no gameplay. Ever. Ocarina of Time? 2/10. Why? Game looks like it was made 13 years ago…


  4. I had almost the exact same experience at my local Best Buy. I found it and the 3D was turned off, so I cranked it up to max, but my eyes had difficulty adjusting so I turned it about halfway down. It’s weird and it definitely takes some getting used to. You can’t just look at the screen or you’ll kinda get a double image. You have to sorta look THROUGH the screen and focus your eyes on an object in the game, like you’re looking through a window. I was able to pull the system off the strong magnets, but I still couldn’t really get the system close enough to my face because of the short tether. You’re supposed to hold it about 2 feet from your face.

  5. You can play DS games with the 3DS but you can’t play 3DS games on the DS since they are different size cartridges.

    I didn’t realize that you could pull it off from the stand but basically I agree with that you need to position it the right way to get the full effect since at times, I saw a slight double image. But I did have the 3D all the way up for the entire time and managed just fine with no side effects. Then again, I’m able to see 3D movies without getting headaches so I figured the 3DS won’t be a problem for me.

    I did pre-order it ahead of time but playing it made my worries about it put to rest.

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