Nintendo finally revealed its new 3DS handheld system to the world this morning at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles as part of the E3 festivities, and I was fortunate enough to get my hands and eyes on a demo unit right after the company's annual E3 Media Briefing concluded. The demo consisted of a rolling video of the company's most popular characters presented in glorious glasses-free 3D. You can read my impressions on the experience over at Kombo as part of our ongoing E3 coverage. Here's a taste:
Imagery from Pikmin, The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Galaxy 2, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Metroid: Other M, and other familiar titles rolled through automatically over about a twenty-second period. There were no actual playable elements, but I could use the unit's analog slider to tilt the scenes on display on the 3DS's upper screen. I have never seen this kind of 3D done before. It was as if I was looking to a shadowbox diorama with significant depth and clarity and tilting the view around a central point. The field of view was limited to several degrees off-axis, but the effect rang through loud and clear. The visuals were especially sharp and vibrant and appeared to be using character models from the late GameCube and current Wii eras, although whether or not these images will be the norm in final gameplay remains to be seen. The 3D slider was also functional, and I was able to turn the 3D effect on and off at my discretion. I kept it maxed out for the majority of the demo, of course. After all, who wouldn't?
Based on what I saw this morning for a few seconds, believe me when I say that this is going to change everything in the world of handheld gaming. The 3DS has to be seen to be fully experienced, and while a release date or price were not announced at the briefing, I have a feeling that Nintendo could charge just about whatever they wanted for this and still make a fortune.