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Sliced Gaming Feature: Nintendo 3DS: A Massive Hands-On

Writer: Nick Schaedel
Posted: 11th February 2011, 1:32pm
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At a swanky club on the waterfront of The Rocks, Sydney, Nintendo Australia held an event announcing the release date and price of the Nintendo 3DS. I was among a lucky few to try out Nintendo’s big hardware push for the year before its release in just over seven weeks time. Well, at least, I hoped I’d get a chance. We queued for a good twenty minutes after the supposed start time to get in, at which point we got our first glimpse of the 3DS in a display cabinet.

The systems were running demo reels, and we had the opportunity to get eyes on, though not yet hands on, the new tech. It took no time at all for my eyes to click in to the 3D, and I saw a short glimpse of Ocarina of Time in 3D. Pretty special. The depth is subtle – obviously the worlds can’t stick out at you like 3D movies can, but instead it just pushes the background further away like the best Pixar films do. It adds dimension. I was excited to get my hands on the system.

We pressed on through a smoke screen that had the 3DS logo projected onto it, and up to the stage area. As drinks and nibbles filtered through the room, there was quiet anticipation. Another projector was throwing up a live twitter stream of tweets with the #3DSAusLaunch hashtag, in which both journalists and the public were commenting on the event. Before long, host Dylan Lewis (of Video Hits and Nova radio fame) took the stage to welcome us to the launch.

Managing Director Yuji Bando took the stage to greet us, and then Nintendo Australia’s Marketing Director Greg Arthurton appeared. There must have been an executive edict that came down from Nintendo of Japan, because before long Lewis and Arthurton were engaging in the scripted shill about the 3DS that was a feature of the international conferences too. Thankfully, Lewis is a naturally warm personality and brought some fun to the lines, making the entire thing a bit ‘wink wink nudge nudge’ and enjoyable enough. Amidst the banter was the news that SpotPass, the Wi-Fi zone data push service will roll out at the end of 2011 or early 2012 once Nintendo has partnered with providers.

The same two trailers played showing off the system’s features and the upcoming games. I’d managed to miss Paper Mario somehow and was excited to see it is in the works. No sign of Smash Bros. yet, which is going to be the big one. It looked like they were originally planning to do more speaking, but wisely skipped some to get through the videos and onto the big news. The Twitter feed leading up to the event had housed some friendly bets about the price and date. I threw out $379.95 and March 31st, hoping to overshoot on both, but was pretty close. March 31st was right, and the price: $349.95. The crowd was pretty pleased – it was not ...

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