EDITOR'S NOTE: So Nintendo's newest game system, the 3DS, went on sale Sunday promising users a three-dimensional experience without the goofy glasses. But how can it do that? Tom Ham, who reviews video games and video game systems for a living, got a chance to try out the new hand-held system and thinks it's pretty darn cool. Of course at $250, it's not cheap, so if you want one, you'd better start saving your allowance.
The new system will feel familiar to kids who already have a Nintendo DS. The touch-screen, the A, B, X and Y game buttons and D-pad are all familiar. New to the 3DS is the Circle Pad (located just above the D-pad). The 3DS also has built-in Motion Sensor and Gyro Sensor, which means it can detect how you're holding it. We can't wait to see how game creators utilize these new control features.
How does the 3DS create a 3-D effect on a hand-held? Without getting too technical, the 3DS uses a special system that creates two of the same images on the screen at once -- one for the left eye and one for the right eye. This creates a sensation of depth and distance without the use of special glasses. The only drawback is that you have to be at the right viewing distance and angle to get the full effect. If you shift just a little bit, you'll lose the effect and wind up with a blurry screen. Users can adjust the 3-D settings and turn off the 3-D effect if their eyes get tired.
Out of the box, the 3DS is packed with innovative and fun software. Although the 3DS Camera and Mii Maker are both fun, the AR Games were our favorite. AR stands for "augmented reality." Users view special cards with the 3DS camera, and virtual games appear right in front of them. Experiences like these set the 3DS apart from other portable game systems.
Games such as "Combat of Giants: Dinosaurs 3D", "Ridge Racer 3D" and "Pilotwings Resorts" really show what the system can do. It's hard to play these games without moving your hands and head along with the game. The 3-D effects will really change the way you look at and play these games. The system has 18 new titles, and existing DS games can be played on it as well.