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Nintendo 3DS System Review

Nintendo 3DS System Review

Is the latest Nintendo hardware worth it? Absolutely!

I will come clean and tell you all that I am a Nintendo fanboy. I never really throw that word around because I like all game consoles and I own all game consoles. But I grew up on Nintendo and I will always have an undying love for the company that got me into gaming.

Last year Nintendo showed off the portable 3D handheld to the gaming world at its E3 Press Conference. The first portable 3D gaming system without the use of glasses.

So I was absolutely stoked to finally have the Nintendo 3DS system in the palm of my hands.  This time around though I will not be giving the system a rating between 1-10. I will just give my thoughts on the system and tell you why the Nintendo 3DS is a must-buy for gamers everywhere.

The Nintendo 3DS System:

The Nintendo 3DS System was launched in two colors. These colors are Cosmo Black and Aqua Blue. I actually picked up both systems because my favorite color is blue and I also wanted a secondary system system to mess around with the StreetPass features, etc.

The retail price for the Nintendo 3DS system is $249.99. You get the 3DS game  System, a retractable stylus, the 3DS docking station that charges the system, The AD Adapter (Charger), a 2 Gig SD Card for saving images, songs and games downloaded from the eShop and you get a set of AR cards.

The 3DS is in my opinion the best portable system Nintendo has ever released. The system is extremely durable and its well crafted. The system is beautifully coated and has a glittery shine to it. The 3DS system just feels perfectly at home in your hands while you play.

The new addition is the Circle Pad, which enables 360-degree analog input for 3DS games as well. The circle pad is well made and it works like a charm on pretty much all 3DS games I played. I even found it easier to pull off moves in Super Street Fighter 3D Edition.

This new Circle Pad is also a benefit for older games DS. I went back and played a few classic DS titles like Mario Kart DS and Super Mario DS and the Circle Pad worked like a charm.

The system also has a “Home” button. Now you can stop in the middle of a game and check your friends list, check the internet for tips and also write down game notes on the systems notepad.

Many things are also jammed into this new system. The bottom screen is still a touch screen and you still have a microphone but some of the newer additions are Motion Sensor and the Gyro Sensor as well as a Pedometer. The system also features three cameras now, whereas the Nintendo DSi had two cameras. The system has a facing camera for face pictures and the outside features two additional cameras for 3D pictures.

The top screen is a Wide-screen LCD display, enabling 3D view without the need for special glasses. The screen is capable of displaying approximately 16.77 million colors. The top screen features a 3.53 inches display (3.02 inches wide, 1.81 inches high) with 800 x 240 pixel resolution. 400 pixels are allocated to each eye to enable 3D viewing. You can turn the 3D on and off with the e3D slider.

The bottom LCD screen is a touch screen capable of displaying 16.77 million colors. The screen is 3.02 inches (2.42 inches wide, 1.81 inches high) with 320 x 240 pixel resolution.

The system also has the StreetPass feature, which will connect you to other Nintendo 3DS owners. There are also StreetPass specific games out there. One of the most notable is Street Fighter IV 3D and Nintendogs + Cats. StreetPass will help you in many ways, which I will go over later in the Mii Plaza section.

The Nintendo 3DS is also Wifi compatible. The system will basically look for a Wifi hot-spot and automatically connect. You may have to enter a WEP code if it is protected, but if you are at a Starbucks you will be able to connect to the internet with ease. The 3DS Internet browser will be launching at the end of this month (May 2011).

How Does The 3D Look On The 3DS:

The major question is how the 3D looks on the system. It looks amazing and it works like a charm!

You basically have to see this system to see how awesome the 3D is. I could sit here and tell you this and tell you that, but I suggest you either hook up with a friend who owns a 3DS or you should check out your local Best Buy and GameStop to check out a demo unit. Seeing the system hands-on is a must!

Just take my word for it, the 3D works and I have not had any problems eye restraint or headaches. I wear contact lenses and even with lenses in my eyes I still have no problem.

Also, on a side note you may want to check out games like Street Fighter IV 3D Edition, Ridge Racer 3D and Pilotwings Resort. Those games really show off the 3D. Pilotwings Resort is one of my favorite launch titles and seeing this game in 3D as you wish through the air and seeing the trees and buildings in 3D is quite a site!

The 3DS System Built-in Software:

One of the greatest assets about the Nintendo 3DS system happens to be the excellent software features. I will break down built-in software featured on every Nintendo 3DS system.

AR Games:

The AR Cards you get with the system are used for AR Games. You sit the card down on a table or desktop and you will watch as things pop out of the card. You will play a ton of mini games and unlock various features suck as fishing and a full 3D planet.

The set also comes with cards that feature many famous Nintendo characters. You can use these cards to take pictures of things with Mario, Zelda, etc. The AR Games is something that Nintendo can really expand upon. This is one feature that can really show off what the system can do with 3D and the camera.

Face Raiders:

One of the coolest games on the 3DS system is Face Raiders.

You basically take pictures of people and then go to battle. The backdrop of these battles are actually where you are standing. So if you are in a subway car going to work the backdrop will be the subway and the people around you. You will face off with the face images you take and watch as your backdrop environments will crumble and fall away.

I was taking pictures of friends, old school pictures and even pets. You can save the faces you capture as well and they will pop up as you play. Face raiders is another great game to show off your 3DS to family and friends.

Nintendo 3DS Camera:

The Nintendo 3DS features the ability to take and save 3D images. You can save these images on a SD card as well as the system itself. You will also have the ability to alter each image and add 3D things like confetti. There is also a feature to give images depth. You can take things and make them appear closer or further away with your stylus.

I also found that there are many “3D Image” websites online that offer images to upload to your SD card and view on your 3DS. Just google “3DS pictures”  and you will find them. These websites offer many pictures that will really show off this feature to friends and family.

Nintendo 3DS Sound:

This is a voice recorder software. You can record sound and play back with different filters, etc. You can also upload MP3′s onto your SD card and use this as a music player. You can set top ten songs, make a play list, etc. I use this feature a lot when I run and work out.

Mii Maker:

This is basically a enhanced version of the Wii’s Mii Maker channel. You can make your own Mii characters as well as scan Mii QR Codes to make Mii characters. The new QR codes is an excellent addition to the Nintendo Mii family. It is easy to use and you can actually go online and scan a QR code right off your computer screen

StreetPass Mii Plaza:

This is where you will meet your StreetPass friends. Once you come into contact with other 3DS owners you will get a StreetPass update and you will meet and add additional Mii’s to your Plaza. You will then be able to use these Mii characters to unlock 3D puzzles in “Puzzle Swap” and you will also be able to play a mini-RPG game called “Find Mii”.

When you use other Mii characters in “Find Mii” you will be able to fight enemies and open treasure chests to unlock hats (Mario hats, etc) for your Mii character. If you never come across anybody via the StreetPass you can always use your coins to unlock puzzle pieces or hire fighters in the “Find Mii” game.

Activity Log:

You can keep track of every game and channel you play. This will show you your most games played, the times and hours played, etc. This also keeps track of your daily steps with the Pedometer. When you walk around the 3DS keeps track of your steps and for each 100 steps you walk you will earn 1 coin. You can earn 10 coins per day and spend them on various things.

The Activity Log is actually one feature that I use a lot because I like to keep track of my steps per day. I love that the system has a Pedometer built in and it keeps a log for each day of every month dating back to the day you purchase the system. 2000 Steps is basically a mile, so if you walk around with your 3DS and put in around 5000-6000 steps that s around 3 miles of walking each day and that is a lot of calories burned.

The Nintendo eShop:

The Nintendo eShop is set to launch the end of this month (May 2011).

The eShop will feature 3DS Games,  3DS Demos, 3D Classics Remakes, GameBoy and GameBoy Color classics as well as Sega GameGear and TurbograFX games. Nintendo may also offer GameBoy Advance games in the future although nothing has been confirmed.

I grew up on the original GameBoy (which I still own) and I loved so many games for that system. Being able to play classics like Castlevania, Final Fantasy and the original Pokemons GameBoy games will be quite a treat!

You will also be able to watch trailers, check out game information and also have access to the many DSiWare games that are available for purchase.

The Bottom Line:

The Nintendo 3DS could possible be the best Nintendo handheld system released. The system itself is sleek, well built and durable.

The system offers a ton of features, features an excellent 3D screen without the need for glasses, and it has a few very cool built-in games. Throw in the fact that you can take 3D pictures, surf the internet, watch 3D movies and trailers, buy classic games via the eShop  and also have the option to watch NetFlix (which will be released sometime this year).

Check the Nintendo 3DS system out.

Final Verdict: “A Must Buy!”

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Owner and Editor in Chief of Gaming Console Network (GCN) and The Mario Report. Sean's been part of the gaming media industry since the early 90's with Next Level Gaming. Sean currently works as a full-time Web Developer at Inside Lacrosse ( as well as running GCN.