Nintendo 3DS FAQ

[author]Technology moves forward at an ever increasing rate. Each year phones become even more like a tiny computer, robots get smarter and draw our impending doom even closer, and hand-held video game technology gets closer to being just as good as something you'd find plugged into your HDTV. It can be hard to keep up with all the new-fangled bells and whistles of a modern techie society, even if you're nowhere near being an old fuddy-duddy yet. But there's no need to fear, your ever intrepid staff of bad ass video game journalists here at GR are ready to make sure you don't look like a total idiot when discussing the latest piece of tech from the game world, the Nintendo 3DS.

Beyond this paragraph lies a comprehensive FAQ that should help you figure out if the new system is the right fit for you and keep you from looking like a total spaz if it comes up in casual conversation. Because we think you look like a spaz enough as it is and deserve a break every once in a while.

How does the 3D work?

-The 3D effect is achieved using the standard method called stereoscopy, wherein two offset images are overlaid to trick your eyes into seeing extra depth. It’s actually the same principal used for 3D movies, except the movies require glasses to filter the images being projected on the screen.

 

Do I need to wear 3D glasses?

-Nope. The top screen comes with what’s called a parallax barrier layered on top of the screen, which filters the image for you, essentially serving the purpose of the glasses.

A slider on the side of the unit allows you to not only turn the 3D on and off at will, but also adjust the intensity of the 3D effect.

What are the cards that come with the 3DS?

-Those are AR cards, which allow you to play the free AR Games software that comes with the 3DS. AR (or augmented reality) Games use the outer cameras to view the cards as an “anchor” of sorts, and then display all kinds of 3D graphics over it. It’s very difficult to describe without actually seeing it, but I can guarantee that it’s awesome!

What games are available at launch?

  • Madden Football
  • Pilotwings Resort
  • Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition
  • Ridge Racer 3D
  • Nintendogs + Cats
  • Lego Star Wars III
  • Super Monkey Ball 3D
  • Pro Evolution Soccer 2011
  • Bust-a-Move Universe
  • Rayman 3D
  • Steel Diver
  • The Sims 3
  • Asphalt 3D
  • Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars

How much will the 3DS cost at retail? Any exclusive content at different stores? Any bundle packages or deals?

 

-The 3DS costs $250 at retail. Most stores aren’t offering bonuses, although some online retailers have launch deals. Amazon.com, for instance, is offering a $25 credit toward any 3DS game with the purchase of the hardware. You can view a complete round-up of deals here.

What are the technical specifications for the device?

Top Screen

  • 3.53-inch widescreen LCD display
  • 800×240 pixel resolution (400 pixels are allocated for each eye to enable 3D viewing)

Touch Screen

  • 3.02-inch LCD with 320×240 pixel resolution with a touch screen

Cameras

  • One inner camera and two outer cameras with 640×480 0.3 Megapixel resolution

Wireless Communication

  • 2.4 GHz band
  • Multiple Nintendo 3DS systems can connect via a local wireless connection to let users communicate or enjoy competitive game play. Systems also can connect to LAN access points to access the Internet and allow people to enjoy games with others
  • IEEE 802.11 with enhanced security (WPA/WPA2)
  • Nintendo 3DS hardware is designed so that even when not in use, it can automatically exchange data with other Nintendo 3DS systems or receive data via the Internet while in sleep mode

Game Controls

  • Touch screen
  • Embedded microphone
  • A/B/X/Y face buttons
  • D-Pad
  • L/R shoulder buttons
  • Start and Select buttons
  • Analog stick
  • one inner camera
  • two outer cameras
  • motion sensor
  • gyro sensor

Other Input Controls

  • 3D Depth Slider
  • Home button
  • Wireless switch
  • Power button
  • Telescoping stylus

Size and Weight

  • Approximately 5.3" x 2.9" x 0.8"
  • Approximately 8 oz.



How much will 3DS games typically cost?

-The standard retail price for 3DS games at launch is $39.99.

Does the 3DS have motion-sensing?

-Indeed it does. The 3DS has both a built-in accelerometer and gyroscope to know when and how you’re moving the system.

Is that an analog stick?

-For all intents and purposes, yeah, it’s an analog stick. It’s technically called a “Circle Pad”, but it functions just as well as any analog stick on a console controller.

 

 



No, sadly, it doesn't come with the redhead.



What features come with the 3DS out of the box? What features will be added later via patches?

-The 3DS comes with three cameras (two external, one internal). It takes and stores pictures, can record sound through the microphone, play MP3’s, and record data to an SD card (Each unit comes with a free 2 GB card inside). It’s fully backward compatible with DS games.  It’s wireless enabled and can use the StreetPass function to communicate with other systems it comes nearby to trade info on games. There are also plans to release 3D movies and an internet browser sometime down the road.

Is it true that the 3DS can take 3D photos?

-Yep. That’s what the two external cameras are for – by snapping a pic with both cameras and then overlaying the images, a 3D picture is created.

There have been reports of users getting headaches soon after playing the device. Is this true? If so, how can I avoid getting headaches?

-Nintendo tells you to take short breaks after every 30 minutes of playtime. We suggest you take a break if you are getting a headache or adjust the 3D slider until you find a more comfortable level of 3D.

How do 3DS cartridges differ from DS ones?

-The 3DS carts are almost exactly the same size and shape as normal DS games. A small tab jutting out of the side of each 3DS cart prevents you from being able to place it in a DS, but that’s the only aesthetic difference besides the gray coloring. 3DS carts also hold up to 2 GB of information.

Can I play DS games on my 3DS? Will they play in 3D?

-The 3DS will play all original DS games, however they won’t be displayed in 3D.

Can I play 3DS games in a DS or DSi?

-No, sorry.

Will my old DS/DSi/DSiXL accessories work for with a 3DS?

-Headphones and touch screen protectors work the same with a 3DS. The AC adapter, however, has a different shaped input so you can’t use your old one.

Is the 3DS region-free?

-3DS games are not region-free, however, original DS games are. This means that even though your 3DS is technically region-locked for any new 3DS games, you can still play old DS games from anywhere in the world.

What is the 3DS' major key strength outside of 3D?

-The 3DS is far more powerful than its predecessor. It sports vastly improved graphics, even rivaling current-generation consoles on occasion. The top screen is also wider, the Circle Pad makes controlling many games much easier, and the wireless functionality is broader than on the DS.

Why should I care about the play coins I get for walking around with my 3DS?

-It depends on what you like to play. The coins are used to buy new stuff in AR Games and StreetPass Mii Plaza (a mini-game collection of sorts that expands as you meet more people). But even if you don’t play those, play coins can be used to buy things in various 3DS games. As an example, Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition allows you to use your coins to purchase BP, which you would otherwise gain only through fighting matches.

What's the best reason to wait for a 3DS?

-Simply put, the games. The launch lineup doesn’t have many knockouts, but it’s only going to be a few months before the A-list titles start coming out, like The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Star Fox 64 3D, Kid Icarus Uprising, new Resident Evil games, Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D, and Professor Layton.

What's the best reason to buy a 3DS right now?

-The applications that come with the system, AR Games and Face Raiders, are both actually very cool and more than just fluff. They’re actually better at illustrating the potential of the system than any of the launch titles.

 

 

 

The following questions were taken from the GR forums. Thanks go out to madster111, used44, De-Ting, Longo_2_guns, and Green_Lantern for contributing.

 

Does the analog stick work well with the rest of the controls?

-It works great, and feels far more comfortable than that shit stick on the PSP if I do say so myself.

Does having the 3D turned on affect performance/graphics at all?

-Generally no. I don't think we've seen enough games yet that push the hardware to really tell, but I can imagine the possibility that a game that really pushed it might take more of a framerate hit in 3D.

 

How does StreetPass work and in what ways can we expect to see it implemented in future games?

-You basically need to make sure it's enabled in your options, and from that point on, as long as you have the wireless switch active, it will broadcast to any other 3DS' that come near whenever it's on or in sleep mode.

As for how we might see it implemented, it'll be pretty interesting to see what developers come up with. Something like StreetPass really encourages creativity. I'd bet on RPG's that give experience when your party passes others, maybe a future Pokemon game that gives you a chance to stumble on random rare Pokemon when you go outside – the sky's the limit, and I'm sure way better ideas that none of us have even considered will pop up down the road.

 

Does any amount of glare ruin the 3D experience? Would you rather be wearing glasses, and does it hurt your eyes after a while?

– I haven't noticed any problems with glare screwing with the image, at least no more than it would with a 2D image. As for the glasses, hell no. Glasses (at least the movie ones) make everything look dimmer.

I haven't had issues with my eyes hurting, although I think it depends on the person. I've heard of cases of people with eye strain and/or headaches. I do find it slightly weird adjusting to a 2D monitor or screen after I've been playing in 3D after a while, but it's nothing painful, just my brain getting confused.

 

-With the screen resolution so much higher than the DSi, does the image quality of regular DS games suffer when they are stretched to cover the full 3DS screen?

Yes it does, but fortunately you can (and should) set your 3DS not to stretch DS games, and instead just play them at their normal resolution with black bars on the sides. That being said, the image quality of my DS games seems ever so slightly fuzzier, at least compared to my DS Lite – sort of like what a decent emulator looks like.