In case you haven't noticed, 3-D is in -- from television sets to movies, broadcast programming and video games. But the toughest sell for 3-D anything is the frequently uncomfortable and sometimes expensives 3-D glasses necessary to get the full experience.
Well Nintendo hopes to bring 3-D entertainment into the mainstream with the release of its glasses-free handheld, the all new Nintendo 3DS, which goes on sale for $250 on March 27 in the United States.
The president and chief operating officer of Nintendo of America, Reggie Fils-Aime, said the 3DS is a "truly unique experience that doesn't exist anywhere else."
"This is a different kind of 3-D. Something you haven't experienced before -- not in theaters, not at trade shows," Fils-Aime told a crowd of journalists, bloggers and analysts Wednesday at Skylight SoHo. "Of course, there are no glasses."
The handheld looks similar to its predecessor. It has a normal touch screen on the bottom and a 3-D screen on top. The 3DS will allow gamers to create their own 3-D content with the three onboard cameras -- one that faces the user and two facing outward. There's also an accelerometer and a gyroscope for motion-based gaming.
Like the rest of the Nintendo line, the 3DS includes features meant for social gaming. Much like smart-phone, social-networking apps like Foursquare, the 3DS will lets users exchange information with other 3DS users nearby, like high scores or even Mii avatar character data.
One of the features that most impresses me is 3DS eShop, which will have not only downloadable 3DS and DSi games but also a stable of old Game Boy classics like Super Mario Land.
Nintendo said more than 30 games will be available for the 3DS by early June. Games will range from "Nintendogs + Cats," which adds feline companions to the popular puppy simulator, to "The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D" to 3-D versions of EA's "Madden NFL Football" and Capcom's "Resident Evil: The Mercenaries." Older games, including those for the original Game Boy, will be available for download.
The new 3DS will also be able to play games from older DS systems, but won't upconvert them to 3-D.
Nintendo has warned that 3-D may induce headaches, so they have allowed that the 3-D effects to actually be either turned off or adjusted.
The gaming company also recommends that children aged 6 or younger should not play 3-D games because it can affect the development of their vision.
Othe titles coming to the Nintendo 3DS include:
"Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked" from Atlus; "Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition" and "Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D" from Capcom;
"Madden NFL Football"from EA Sports;" The Sims 3" from Electronic Arts; "Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D" from Konami; "Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars" from LucasArts; "Ridge Racer 3D" and "Dual Pen Sports" from Namco Bandai Games America Inc.;
"Super Monkey Ball 3D," "Thor: God of Thunder" and "Crush 3D" from SEGA; "Bust-a-Move Universe" from Square Enix, Inc.; "Samurai Warriors Chronicles" and "Dead or Alive Dimensions" from Tecmo Koei America Corp.;
"Asphalt 3D," "Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Shadow Wars," "Combat of Giants: Dinosaurs 3D," "Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell 3D," "Rayman 3D" and "Rabbids Travel in Time" from Ubisoft.