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Tech Report – Nintendo 3DS

After a build-up that would make Apple proud, Nintendo has finally unveiled the retail version of its 3DS handheld gaming device, the much-anticipated successor to the Nintendo DS and DSi.

Of course, most of the buzz has been about the revolutionary 3D display, which can be used for playing games or watching media, and which doesn’t require the player to wear any kind of 3D glasses. Not only does the 3D display generate dramatically improved graphics, but the 3D cameras also allow the player to see the surrounding world in 3D and capture 3D images.

The 3DS also has something called a 3D Depth Slider, which controls the depth of the 3D imagery. The idea is that each 3DS owner can adjust the presentation of the 3D images until it suits their own eyesight.

(It should be noted that Nintendo and others have issued qualified health warnings about the risks associated with prolonged exposure to 3D imagery. Most experts agree that children under the age of six should not be exposed to any 3D screen time. The Nintendo 3DS includes parental controls that can disable the 3D effect or convert it back to 2D.)

The 3DS includes Wii-style motion sensors, which allow players to control games simply by moving the device around, and an analog control pad, which offers a more accurate way to move around in a game rather than just the left/right /up/down of the direction pad.

Nintendo has also introduced two revolutionary features to the 3DS that will be welcomed by players but could make parents a little nervous. The first is a program called Streetpass, which automatically links your 3DS to other 3DS’s nearby. This could be in the home, in the car, or in the street, hence the name. Clearly this is intended to allow friends to instantly connect and play games or swap photos and other content, but it does open up the intriguing – and perhaps alarming – possibility of randomly connecting with total strangers.

The other feature is Spotpass, which actively seeks out wireless hotspots to ensure you have constant access to online data and updates. This could include software, messages, notifications, and 3D content. Taken together, these two new features greatly improve the interactivity of the device and will encourage owners to take their 3DS with them wherever they go.

A slew of 3D games have already been announced for the Nintendo 3DS and most will be available immediately on launch. They include The Sims 3, Madden NFL Football, LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars, Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Shadow Wars and many more.

The Nintendo 3DS will be available in the U.S. on March 27th and will cost $249.99. It comes in a choice of two colors, Aqua Blue and Cosmo Black, and will be bundled with a few sample games to demonstrate the various 3DS features.

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