My Super Detailed Hands-On Nintendo 3DS Impressions

Discussion in 'GBAtemp Reviews & Guides' started by hey_suburbia, Mar 16, 2011.

  1. hey_suburbia

    hey_suburbia Do The Lizard Bop

    Apr 24, 2004
    United States
    Philadelphia, PA
    Source + Photos + Videos: <a href="" target="_blank"></a>

    I did it. It actually happened. I got to play the Nintendo 3DS. After all these months of hearing about it and knowing that you can’t see the 3D unless you’re looking at the system in person… I finally got my hands on a Nintendo 3DS. How? Well, I went to my local Best Buy. What did I think? Well, let’s just say that it was so good that I went back again a few hours later! For my full impressions on Pilotwings Resort, the Mii Maker, Face Raiders, and LOTS more… keep on reading!

    After all these months of waiting, Nintendo FINALLY announced they would have a demo tour for people to try out the Nintendo 3DS…. in only four cities. And then I came to find out that GameStop wouldn’t have their demo units in until at most three days before the system launch. I was seriously bummed. I’m not able to get a Nintendo 3DS until December probably (I would love on on launch day but can’t… long story) but I desperately wanted to try it out! Then this past Saturday, people started seeing Nintendo 3DS systems with a Pilotwings Resort demo at their local Best Buy stores and I was ecstatic! Over the past few days, I’ve called both of my local Best Buy stores every few hours to keep checking. One of them isn’t getting it until the 22nd, but the other one said yesterday that they got it in but needed to set it up. So by this morning, they had it up in the store ready to play and I went right after lunch.

    When I got to the store, I headed straight for the gaming section. I sped past the Donkey Kong Country Returns Wii display, the Kinect and Move displays, and all the other stuff… but where was the Nintendo 3DS? I went to the back corner and there it was! The first thing I did when I saw it was smile. This was finally the moment I had been waiting for, and it looked so cool just sitting there waiting to be played. Luckily, it was in the middle of a work/school day so I got the Nintendo 3DS all to myself! I’m on my spring break, by the way.

    I give you a look at the Nintendo 3DS (Note: I apologize for the video being vertical, I forgot it would look like that on YouTube):

    Anyways, first things first… the system is GORGEOUS. The blue color looks really nice. If you look at pictures, it looks like it has a nice shiny outside and the inside looks okay, nothing that special, kind of stale and boring. But man, in person… the blue on the inside is actually a bit shiny and looks really nice. And the back… it’s just beautiful. Some very nice shades of blue, it looks great. I don’t know, maybe it’s just my love of the color blue, but I thought the system looked really nice.

    After staring at the system, it was time to try out all the buttons and most importantly, the Circle Pad. I must say… the Circle Pad felt really, really nice. It’s not a true analog stick like ones on a controller, but it pretty much felt like one. It had a nice rubbery material on it and was very comfortable. I definitely like it. All of the buttons felt really nice as well. No mushy buttons like on the DS Lite, it was nice and clicky and responsive. The telescoping stylus is also pretty cool and felt pretty good in the hands. It extends to a good length and was comfortable to use. All in all, the system felt very comfortable in my hands. I could pick it up, but it was tethered to the demo station of course, so that was a bit of a pain, but it was comfortable to hold. I couldn’t close it though to see how that looked. All in all, the Nintendo 3DS is the best Nintendo handheld in my opinion… just all around comfortable and looks good.

    I play around with the 3D Slider in Pilotwings Resort (Note: You can NOT see the 3D effect on video, you have to see it in person on the Nintendo 3DS):

    Now, the game they had on display was Pilotwings Resort. If I were to get a Nintendo 3DS on launch day (which I would love to do), I would get Pilotwings Resort. So hearing that the demo they had was for Pilotwings Resort, I was pretty happy about that. All in all, it was pretty enjoyable. The 3D was instantly viewable, which was really cool. But I wanted to make sure I did it right, so I took some time to find my “sweet spot”. It took me a few seconds to figure out what it was, and I found it to be right in the middle. As you went from 2D to the max 3D, the background basically got farther away and there was more and more depth. I found that putting it on max worked, but it was hard to focus sometimes. Basically on max, the background seemed so far back that you either had to focus on the Mii you were flying or the background, and it just didn’t work well for me, so I put it in the middle. But the 3D was pretty freaking sweet. The main draw with Pilotwings Resort is the added depth, and you could really sense that. Putting it in 2D mode made the game feel stale and lacking. It was playable, but nothing special. But in 3D… I really could get a sense of the depth of the environment, very impressive.

    I also fooled around with some of the various vehicles in the demo as well. The plane took a little while to get used to, but once I got the hang of it, it was really cool flying it around. When you pass by trees, they would stick out of the screen briefly, which was cool. And when you did a barrel roll, some of the smoke trails of the plane seemed like they stuck out of the screen a bit. The plane was my favorite to control… but the coolest looking one in my opinion was the rocket belt. The 3D effect made it seem like a miniature Mii figurine floating in the sky and it looked REALLY neat. Picture an island background on your computer monitor, and then place a miniature figurine right in front of the screen. That’s what it looked like. The Mii character really felt 3D… not really popping out at you, but it did not look like a plain 2D image, it was very cool looking. You could also view a replay of your mission once you finished it, and I viewed a replay of me using the rocket belt. You could change the camera angle with the D-Pad and it was really cool doing that. When you viewed your Mii from above, it’s head appeared to stick out of the screen a little bit.

    So the main draw with Pilotwings Resort’s 3D is the added depth, with little things popping out slightly, like nearby trees or when you were using the rocket belt and went near some grass, it would fly up and out of the screen which was neat. But a nice example of some pop-out 3D effects is the intro video. It had some of the various vehicles fly up and out of the screen which was neat, and it ended with the Pilotwings Resort logo popping out of the screen for a second before it settled back in screen. Just like with 3D movies… 3D adds lots of depth, and sometimes things will pop out when they want it to. And when it does, it looks pretty sweet.

    Now, I know there are people out there talking about headaches and eye strain and all that and honestly I was fine for the most part. I wanted to test it extensively to see if those reports were true for me. After finding my sweet spot after a few seconds initially, I was fine. No eye strain. No headaches. Nothing. I only had a tiny bit of eye strain once I decided to play around with the 3D slider by moving it up and down and up and down, while in the menu and while playing. I wanted to compare the 2D to the 3D and see what happened, and if you do move it back and forth a lot it can become a bit taxing on your eyes. Nothing that bad, and it only happened when I purposefully messed around with the 3D slider a lot. I was perfectly fine up until that point playing on my sweet spot, which was at the half-way point. So really, this is a non-issue. I think if you’re getting headaches, then most likely you’re not playing in your sweet spot, are fooling around with the slider, or normally get headaches from 3D things (which I suppose is probably a medical issue and I don’t see how any device could resolve that). So nothing to worry about here.

    Another thing I know people were wondering about was the viewing angle. Tilting the system up and down didn’t do anything, it still worked fine. Tilting it left and right was the question… how much can you tilt it? Well, the answer is… not much. However, it’s still not really an issue. Let me explain. I was playing with the 3D slider set half-way and the 3D looked great and everything. I tilted the system to the right a little bit and it sort of broke the 3D image, but tilting it a little more slightly fixed it… and that continued the more I tilted it. Think of it like a lenticular image (those things where you can move it back and forth for a pseudo-3D image). When you tilt it to the right, it sort of breaks the image, but tilting it a bit more fixes it. So the viewing angle is kind of small, but as you tilt it the 3D image sort of goes off and on like a lenticular image. And it’s not a blurry mess or anything, you can still see the screen fine. There were times when I did tilt the 3DS out of instinct while flying around in the game and it sort of broke the image but I was able to correct it instantly with no effect on the game. The ONLY time when the viewing angle was an issue was when I set the 3D slider on max in Pilotwings Resort. When on max, it was already hard for me to focus on everything on screen… I either had to pick the Mii to focus on, or the background. Looking at everything was too much. A flying game can just have so much depth, so I guess it’s to be expected that setting it on max would be too much. When on max, when I tilted the screen, it became kind of blurry and it messed me up in the game… that’s because it was already too much for me to handle staring straight on, so when tilted it got worse. But really, it’s a non-issue since I shouldn’t be playing on max anyways since that’s not my 3D sweet spot.

    So all in all, I came away very impressed. I knew it would be good, but seeing it in person is just something different. Once you see it in person, you know the 3D effect is real and it looks great. The blue color looked nice, the system felt solid, the Circle Pad was very comfortable, the 3D worked well, and Pilotwings Resort was quite fun. Impressive stuff. I’m very glad I got to try it cause it was fantastic, but now unfortunately that makes me want one even more, so it’s going to be tough trying to stick it through. And with that, I headed home ready to tell everyone about the great experience.

    And thus ends my Nintendo 3DS experience… oh, who am I kidding? I’m on spring break, I got nothing else to do… I went back. Yup, a few hours later I convinced my sisters to come with me to Best Buy and the three of us set off to the store. It was time for round two. I had a few reasons why I wanted to go back. First off, it was so awesome I had to play more. Second, my sisters can be really stubborn about things and are of the horribly misinformed attitude that the 3DS is “just another DS”. I wanted to prove them wrong, though I honestly had no expectations… I figured they would not care and maybe even not play, just watch me or something. But the main reason was to do something sneaky.

    The Nintendo 3DS unit on display at Best Buy only plays the Pilotwings Resort demo. You can’t press the Home button or anything. Turning it off and back on will only boot up the demo once again. But then, in a topic on NeoGAF, someone mentioned they were able to do a button combo that involved the Start and Select buttons and somehow open up the Home menu! They got to play around with all the built-in features of the 3DS aside from the AR Games since they didn’t have the AR Cards. So here’s what I did… I tried printing out the AR Cards, but then I found out my printer was out of color ink. So instead I took pictures of the AR Cards with my iPhone. Theoretically, that should work. So when I went for the first time with the 3DS and tried out Pilotwings Resort, I tried the button combo but it didn’t work. I tried lots of various combos and I got nothing. When I got back home, a little while later a second person reported success in booting the Home menu. They apparently turned it off, and then to turn it on they held down the L, R, Start, and Select buttons and pressed the Power button. This supposedly brought up some options, one of which mentioned pressing the Home button to go to the Home menu and it worked.

    So my main reason for going back for round two was to try this again. This time, I knew the exact combo and I was ready to play around with more. As soon as I got there, we headed straight for the 3DS. There was a guy playing it but he left when we approached it. And what do you know… it was already running the Home menu! Yup, someone else beat me to the punch. No average user could have done that, so I suspect it was someone from NeoGAF. In fact, someone there did say they would go in the afternoon to try it out so maybe they saw the post and did it. Regardless, they made my life easier since it was already booted up.

    The 3DS menu is slick. It’s very similar to the Nintendo DSi’s menu, but even better. From this point on, everything that I viewed in 3D had the 3D slider set to max, and it worked great. The logos on the top screen in 3D are cool, especially some of them like the Mii Maker which sticks out of the screen a bit. When you blow into the microphone, the logos spin as well and that looked neat, especially in 3D. But then it was time to check out everything built-in to the Nintendo 3DS. Game Notes was pretty simple, it’s definitely convenient to have. The Friends List obviously didn’t have much of anything at this point since I was the first person accessing it. Notifications just had six SpotPass Notifications, but they were just letting you know about basic system functionality, basically just some built-in Notifications to help you out. And the Internet Browser wasn’t functioning yet and it said a future system update would enable it.

    As for the actual icons, there was the Health & Safety Information, Nintendo 3DS Camera, Nintendo 3DS Sound, Mii Maker, StreetPass Mii Plaza, AR Games, Face Raiders, Activity Log, Download Play, and Settings. I didn’t touch the Health & Safety Information, Download Play, or Settings, but I did try everything else. The Activity Log was pretty empty so far, but it seemed nice and neat, so I’m sure once you play more it’ll be pretty helpful in telling you how much you’ve played of certain things. With the Nintendo 3DS Camera, I had my sister take a picture of me in a punching pose with my hand forward. When I viewed it in 3D, it was really cool… my hand was definitely out of the screen a bit. I didn’t really do anything in Nintendo 3DS Sound, most of its features appear once you have songs on your SD memory card.

    For AR Games, I had saved the images on my iPhone. I booted up the AR Games app and it asked for the ? AR Card, so I loaded up the image on my phone and tried it. At first, it took a bit of work but it recognized the AR Card and the little box guy appeared on screen. It then asked me to “shoot the front”, but whenever I moved the system down, it lost the image. I think the problem was that I have an Otterbox Defender case on my iPhone and so the 3DS probably got confused cause around the image was this giant black border which was my bulky case. Either that or some glare on the screen or something messed with it. I tried a ton of times, but I couldn’t get it to work unfortunately. So no AR Games for me.

    I decided to try the Mii Maker and I showed my sisters the whole process. I created a new Mii by taking a picture of myself. When viewing various hairstyles and things, you can use the Circle Pad to turn your Mii around and view it from different angles. It looked nice in 3D. After taking my photo, it ended up coming up with a fairly accurate Mii, though I had a massive nose (my sisters claim I have a big nose and the Mii was accurate, so who knows). They thought it was funny and so they then wanted to make their own Mii’s. One of them was sort of accurate and the other one was actually pretty close. My sisters enjoyed it and thought it was hilarious. This was one of the things that they seemed to enjoy with the 3DS.

    Having created some Mii’s, I decided to boot up the StreetPass Mii Plaza. Not much to do there at the moment. I did set my Mii for StreetPass, so as long as turning off the system doesn’t reset everything, anyone that goes to that Best Buy with their 3DS in the future can get my Mii. Oh, and I set it to say “” as its message so yay for free advertising. The only other interesting thing in the StreetPass Mii Plaza was the StreetPass Quest. When it started out, my Mii got captured and you could see it imprisoned in a cage. The 3D here was really cool cause the cage had a roundness to it and the added sense of depth really made it seem like my Mii was in this 3D cage. Pretty cool. But once the intro video ended, there wasn’t anything else I could do because I didn’t have enough Play Coins or any Mii’s from StreetPass. And so, it was on to the final thing… Face Raiders.

    I must say, out of everything that I tried with the Nintendo 3DS, what I was impressed with the MOST on the system was Face Raiders. I wasn’t expecting much from this to be honest… but WOW, this was great! The first thing I noticed is that this was some of the best 3D on the system. At one point an “OK” button appeared and it popped out of the screen and I was kind of surprised. It was definitely coming out of the screen. And then it came time to take my picture before the game started. Once it took my picture, my face started to bulge and it was seriously coming out of the screen. Then, my whole face popped out of the screen and some sort of armor appeared on it. I seriously stood there with my mouth wide open thinking and then said “WHOA” out loud. It seriously was like out of the screen… it was awesome. You know those images of Mario coming out of the 3DS or other mock-ups that people make to illustrate the 3D image? Obviously Mario can’t really come out of the system, it’s not a hologram… but I must say that this particular image of Face Raiders, once you take your photo, really popped out of the screen and was as much of a hologram as 3D could ever get. Very cool.

    And then I got into the actual Face Raiders game and it was really fun. The 3DS was tied to the kiosk so I did have limited movement and that was annoying, but it was still fun. Seeing my face flying around and having to shoot it was kind of crazy. When you take a photo of your face, you have to line up these green dots and line with your eyes and mouth. This is done so that it can animate your eyes and mouth in the game. It was very awesome to see my mouth moving and my eyes blinking and stuff like that on the screen. I told my sisters to try it as well, and I made sure to turn the 3D on for them at least before the actual game started. One of my sisters seemed to enjoy the game and was laughing a bit. Apparently it thought her chin was a mouth because I didn’t align it properly so it would open and close and it was hilarious. My other sister played too and when it took her picture before the game and the image popped out of the screen, she literally jerked her head back in surprise. Definitely a fun game and it’s so awesome that it’s built-in to the 3DS.

    And so now it comes time to conclude. All in all, I was very impressed. Both my trips to Best Buy to play the Nintendo 3DS were quite fun. The 3DS menu looks nice and is easy to use. Pressing the home button and going to another application works easily. The best stuff for me was the Mii Maker (which was hilarious) and Face Raiders (which had awesome 3D, was hilarious, and fun to play). The 3D Camera is pretty nifty too. And Pilotwings Resort was a fun game, which had a really cool added sense of depth with 3D. All in all, it’s a fantastic device and I had a blast trying it out. I highly recommend checking your local Best Buy to see if they have the system up for display to try out. And definitely try booting up the Home menu and playing around with that stuff. I had a fantastic time with the Nintendo 3DS… as Nintendo said in the past, “seeing is believing”. And now, I’ll end this post with an image of me and the 3DS at Best Buy…

    So… it’s Wednesday now and this morning after waking up the Nintendo 3DS was still on my mind. I had a great time playing it yesterday. I got up this morning cause my mom had a doctor’s appointment and I work at that doctor’s office during the Summer and Winter, so I figured I’d tag along and say hi to some people. She had to get some blood drawn and then come back in two hours to get more blood drawn… so we were trying to figure out what to do. We went to Target for a little while and I played some Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II on the 360. Pretty fun. But we still had like 45 minutes left and we were bored, so I suggested going to Best Buy. There are two in my area… one of them said yesterday that they wouldn’t have the 3DS until the 22nd, and the other one said they just set it up. We weren’t close to the one that had the 3DS set up, but I figured going to the other Best Buy would still be fun cause I could play some of the other games they had set up.

    So I got there, and the thought hit me “I know the 22nd is way too far off, I’m not sure if I believe that… what if they have it?” And so, I went over to the gaming section. I found the DS games and at the end-cap, I saw two people playing something at a demo station… could it be? As I walked up to it, it was indeed the Nintendo 3DS! The two people playing were Best Buy employees as the store had just opened. They were both having a good time with it and I had to wait a few minutes before they stopped playing. And then it was my turn… time for round three! When I stepped up to it, it was clear that they were probably the first ones to play it since it looked very shiny and new. With pretty much no fingerprints on the screen or anything, it looked even better than before. As I said earlier, it just looks awesome.

    So now what should I play? I decided I would try and boot up the Home menu… but I couldn’t get the button combo to work. I was disappointed, but it didn’t matter… I still had Pilotwings Resort to play. So I did, and it was very fun. I turned the 3D up to max just for the heck of it, and it wasn’t as bad as it was initially, I think I might be getting used to it a bit. There were times when it was okay, but most of the time it was too much, so I just put the slider at the half-way point and it worked great. I tried to pay more attention to the finer details and I must say, the game looks really nice. When using the rocket belt, the Mii character looks nice and the graphics of WuHu Island are really nice as well. I noticed that when using the rocket belt, if you’re moving forward then the rocket boosters come out of the screen a bit which is cool. Also when landing or flying away from grass, some of the grass flies out of the screen which looks really nice.

    After playing it a bit, I decided I should try the button combo again… this time, I got it! The Home menu booted up, and I tried to decide what to do. That was a pretty easy decision: Face Raiders. I booted that up and as I said before, the 3D is fantastic. Definitely very fun to play. I then decided I would take a video to post here on WiiNintendo. In the video I recorded below, I scrolled through the 3DS menu, made my Mii in the Mii Maker (is my nose really that big?), set up my Friend Card in the Friend List, set up my Mii for StreetPass (with the message “”), and then I ran out of space on my iPhone and the video ended.

    My brief Nintendo 3DS menu/Mii Maker/Friend List/StreetPass walkthrough:

    As you can see, the menu is very slick and pretty fast. I switched between apps a few times and it didn’t take long at all. When I finished recording the video, I called my mom over and had her try out the Nintendo 3DS with Face Raiders. She was kind of surprised when it popped out of the screen and said “what’s it doing to my face?” She played it briefly, and then I had her try the Mii Maker. It made a fairly accurate Mii, but we couldn’t play around with it much cause we had to leave. But she did see the 3D effect and enjoyed it. Later on in the car, she asked me how much it was and I told her $250 and she was like “oh brother” but didn’t say much more. The fact that she didn’t say anymore than that and actually even asked me the price in the first place tells me that she was at least a bit intrigued.

    And so, round three of my Nintendo 3DS time has ended. It’s a solid system, looks great, and is a lot of fun. The built-in content is fantastic. Nintendo’s slogan is “Take a look inside” and honestly, you really do have to try out the Nintendo 3DS yourself to see how it is. Head out to your local Best Buy store and try it out, it’ll be well worth it. I had fun and I know every time I go to a Best Buy anytime soon, I’ll be playing it as much as possible. It’s my favorite Nintendo system, and I look forward to seeing it launch and having everyone be able to experience it.
  2. tigris

    tigris Sentient Existential Anthropomorphic Sweet Potato

    Jun 19, 2010
    The Tibetan Himalayas
    Wow, nice review. Pretty in-depth, and I probably will get one. The fact that the AR card doesn't work worries me, as the AR card is meant to work when it is printed, stuck, laid on tables in A1 sizes, used on windowsills, newspapers, etc. If it didn't work with your model, I don't know what happened :/

    Still, trying not to succumb to the hype here, I could get one [​IMG]
  3. soulx

    soulx GBAtemp Legend

    Apr 4, 2009
    1. It's not a review.
    2. He said that he used his iPhone as an AR card because he didn't have an AR card in paper. It's quite obvious as to why it didn't work.

    This is a pretty good impression.
    Isn't this the wrong section to post this in, though? It should go in the blog section or the '3DS Hardware' section.
  4. Tonitonichopchop

    Tonitonichopchop GBAtemp Maniac

    Dec 9, 2009
    United States
    The only major problem I had with your article was that you said "All in all" 6 times. Otherwise it was an okay "First impression" of the 3DS. This isn't a review.
  5. aznmonkey23

    aznmonkey23 Banned

    Dec 11, 2010
    United States
    Is this not advertising a website...?
  6. monkat

    monkat I'd like to see you TRY to ban me. (Should I try?.

    May 21, 2009
    United States

    You know, good writing is getting your point across in as few words as possible, not the opposite.
  7. FencingFoxFTW

    FencingFoxFTW GBAtemp Fan

    Apr 27, 2008

  8. YayMii

    YayMii hi

    Jun 24, 2009
    that place
    Great write-up. I managed to read the whole thing.
    BTW, you could've printed the cards out in black/white, since there are reports of it working without color.
  9. 8BitWalugi

    8BitWalugi Taiyohhhhhh!

    Mar 22, 2008
    Side 7

  10. coolness

    coolness PSN: Dutch_DarkLord

    Jun 14, 2009
    Rotterdam Bitches!!
    wow thats a full story ;O