Nintendo World In Review
Some final thoughts from Nintendo's first public showcase of the 3DS.
I've finished writing all the Nintendo World impressions I'm going to write (read them all here), so here are some final thoughts from the event.
I didn't go to E3 last year and I wasn't invited to the September Nintendo Conference, so Nintendo World was my first chance to try out 3DS. For the most part, the system looks and feels just like a DS. The big difference is the inclusion of the 3D Slider, which is the term Nintendo uses for the system's analogue pad. Controlling characters in 3D with this felt nice -- I'm pretty sure I prefer it to the PSP's analogue nub.
The system has Home, Start and Select buttons below the lower screen. The Home button, which takes you into the system's OS, was disabled in all the games I tried. Start brought up the pause menu in some games.
I'm disappointed in the selection of colors. They're too metallic. I was hoping for a matte version. Maybe in time for 3DS Lite?
THE 3D IN 3DS
I'm not sure if it's just my eyes, but for me, the 3D effect in all the Nintendo World 3DS games was completely into the system. I didn't once get the feeling that something was actually coming out at me, even when it looked like games were trying to achieve that effect.
Not that I'm complaining. Playing 3DS games in 3D makes you feel like you're looking into a little world in the top screen. The feeling of depth was impressive regardless of the game.
I loved how the depth made characters look solid. Jill Valentine and Link stood out in particular (although maybe because I played Resident Evil and Zelda first, and when I got to the other games I'd gotten used to the effect).
The 3D depth effect looked particularly nice in Winning Eleven 3DSoccer, as it looked like you were looking out onto the field. I can't wait to see what other sports games look like. This is a surprising statement from me because I don't ever, ever, ever play sports games.
There are a couple of things to take into account when playing in 3D. First, you need to make sure and adjust the 3D volume control. I at first tried to keep the volume all the way up for every game I played thinking that it would give me the maximum 3D effect and would make things pop out of the screen and punch me in the face. But this doesn't work. Some games worked great with the volume all the way up while others required that I lower the volume. Dead or Alive's 3D effect annoyed me so much that I had to turn the 3D all the way down, which snaps the screen into 2D (and the game, in Dead or Alive's case, to 60 frames per second, it seems).
I imagine it will be a bit annoying having to adjust the volume each time you switch games. It would be neat if the system could remember your setting for each game and automatically adjust. Or perhaps developers will eventually come to some sort of standard where all games will be able to kept at the same volume -- to be honest, I really have no idea if this is how 3D visual output works.
The other thing to note about playing in 3D is that it may make your eyes a bit tired. After each demo, my eyes were a bit sore, like I'd been watching television in the dark for a lengthy period. You may have to follow the 20-20 rule (or maybe 20-60) when playing 3DS in 3D mode.
MY FAVORITE GAMES
I look back most fondly on my play time with Kid Icarus, Steel Diver and the system's built in software.
The Kid Icarus control system has me worried, but the intensity of the level design has me hoping that everything works out in the end (incidentally, I consider Panzer Dragoon and its sequel two of my favorite games ever -- I'm big on rail shooters). Regarding the controls, one of my friends said that it looked like it was designed for the Wiimote and nunchuck combo. I get the feeling it would play perfectly with Wii controls.
Steel Diver looks like it could be a sleeper hit. It has an enjoyable and unique control scheme, and the potential for veiled strategic play. There are also some hints at a multiplayer mode, which screenshots make out to look a bit like Battleship.
As for the system's built-in titles, you'll want to use these to show off your new hardware. AR Games could be a system seller even if it ends up being just a short demo. Face Shooting and the 3D Camera are enjoyable experiences that will probably be what you show to your non gamer friends.
Most of the system's launch titles were on display (except for Combat of Giants Dinosaur 3D). None of the launch games really stood out, but I'd probably pick Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition because it's packed with content and looks really sweet with the 3D layering effects, Nintendogs + cats because it's so cute, and Professor Layton for some depth.
I get the feeling that Nintendo is holding back on the real 3DS software -- the games that truly use the system's capabilities -- for later in the year and into the new year. They'll sell out of their initial hardware supply throughout the world with the current lineup even if it's not all that impressive. The games that make full use of the system's potential with 3D, graphics, and wireless functionality will come later.
NINTENDO WORLD -- THE EVENT
Nintendo World was itself a compact event. It was limited to a single hall, with a centrally located stage looking out upon the game demo areas. This made it possible to watch the stages while you were waiting in line to play the games, and Nintendo was even good enough to broadcast live feeds to the large monitors so that you could get a close look. Nintendo's organizers did a great job in making a headache-free event experience.
The event didn't feel too crowded, and with 26,000 people over three days, this was probably the case. I'm not sure if Nintendo is happy or disappointed with the turnout, but the relatively small crowds meant is that it was possible to play every game in a single day and possibly sit up close for one of the stages as well.
A couple of other points about the event:
Nintendo said children six years and under would only be allowed to play games in 2D. To enforce this policy, they gave stickers for parents to attach to their kids. The stickers had a Toad image. I wanted to take a picture but thought I should probably refrain from taking pics of other peoples' kids.
Nintendo listed a number of games as video-only. These were shown on a back wall which had windows into which you could peer to watch the footage in 3D (the videos were all pre-recorded, so there was no need to worry about 3D volume -- for pre-recorded footage, the 3D can be toggled between on and off). It was funny watching people look into the walls, although I was a bit embarrassed to be scrutinizing the 3D Beauty Clock window so closely. Mario Kart's video seemed to be the most popular, as Nintendo even set up a line for it.
3DS packaging was shown for the first time at the event. The dummy game cases in particular caught my eye because they're so thin. They're midway between a DVD case and a DS case.
Nintendo World marked the start of Nintendo's promotional campaign for the 3DS. It actually resembles the DS campaign from 6 years back, with commercial spots showing celebrities excited to get their hands on the system (boy band Arashi replacing Utada Hikaru this time). Coinciding with the Nintendo World event, Nintendo began putting billboard ads around Tokyo, including these ads that I saw in Shibuya station:
With pre-orders expected to begin on the 20th, we'll likely be seeing more and more of the 3DS in television, in magazines and around the city shortly. The system will also go playable at additional events, including the Winter World Hobby Fair, which kicks off in Osaka this weekend.
For all our Nintendo World coverage, including impressions, news, mobile blog posts, links to related games, and links to external headlines, see our event index page.
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