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By 20 January 2011 | Categories: news

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Nintendo yesterday held its long awaited reveal of the upcoming Nintendo 3DS handheld in New York City. This was the first time the device had been properly (and officially) featured and dissected outside of Japan. Judging by the response it received, Nintendo is set to dominate the handheld market all over again. 
 
The 3D-enabled Nintendo 3DS will introduce gamers to the next dimension of handheld gaming, without having to purchase any cumbersome 3D eye wear since the 3DS is based on no-glasses 3D technology. “Nintendo 3DS is a category of one – the experience simply doesn't exist anywhere else,” said Reggie Fils-Aime, president of Nintendo of America. 
 
The Nintendo 3DS will at launch be available in either Cosmo Black or Aqua Blue and will retail in the US for a suggested price of $249.99 (R1750). At this stage no pricing details have been announced for other regions. Nintendo said pricing will be established by local markets but it should offer similar consumer value. In our opinion, South African users may be looking at a price of between R2000 and R2500, though this is of course pure conjecture. 
 
According to Core Group, distributors of Nintendo products in South Africa, the Nintendo 3DS will be available locally on the 25th of March. If the date holds true this is very good news, as it means we'll receive it not only on time, but even before it is released in the US on the 27th of March. 
 
The third dimension of gaming?
 
Moving on to more solid facts, the Nintendo 3DS will, like its predecessor the DS, feature two screens. The bottom touch-screen will be controlled by a telescoping stylus while the top screen will display the 3D images. 
 
Players will even be able to adjust the level of 3D effects via a 3D Depth Slider if it becomes uncomfortable to the eyes. If need be, users can turn off 3D completely and play games in traditional 2D, so no need to worry about stocking up on too many Grandpa tablets. 
 
According to Nintendo, “Looking at the screen is like peering through a window into a world where characters and objects have true depth.” 
 
Control everything
 
In addition to controlling games via the stylus and touch-screen, users will of course also be using the traditional buttons situated on the device. The classic D-pad four directional control pad makes a return, though this time also joined by a new Circle Pad which provides full 360 degree directional control. 
 
The device will also feature built-in motion and gyroscopic sensors, enabling games to react to the tilting movement of the handheld as well. This means controlling game characters by physically moving the device up and down and from side to side will also be possible, equipping developers with a ton of tools to create new gaming experiences. 
Stay connected
 
We've heard a lot about the 3DS's connectivity features during the past couple of months, and this too will be introducing a completely new way of communication. Two new features were discussed, both rewarding players with bonus content by simply going about their regular affairs. 
 
If owners choose to activate it, the StreetPass feature will be capable of exchanging information with other nearby Nintendo 3DS systems as their owners pass near you. Information such as Mii character data, maps for games, high scores and custom character data can be transferred in this way. 
 
The other feature is known as SpotPass and this will allow the 3DS to connect to compatible public hotspots and to wireless broadband connections at home or the office, even if the system is in Sleep mode. Once connected to a wireless internet source, the 3DS will automatically receive new content and updates on a regular basis. 
 
On-board entertainment
 
Even without buying any games, the 3DS will be able to keep you busy for a while. The device contains three cameras, one pointing at the user and two others pointing outward. These outward facing cameras will be able to take 3D photographs, making the 3DS a gaming system and 3D camera in one. 
 
When put in Sleep Mode, the 3DS can also act as a pedometer, counting the steps you take as you move around in the world. This allows gamers to earn “Play Coins” for the steps they take in the real world, which can then be traded for bonus content.
 
As if this wasn't enough, the 3DS will also be capable of replacing your music player as it will include a built-in player of its own, supporting MP3 and AAC music files. Built-in sound-manipulation tools are also included and to top it all off the 3DS will feature an advanced internet browser, available via a system update. 
 
A Mii Maker application for importing your Mii (virtual avatar) from the Wii to the 3DS will also be included and users can now quickly create a Mii version of a real person by simply taking a picture of them. The Nintendo eShop will also be available through a system update and will offer downloadable games and even a complete virtual console experience by enabling 3DS users to download and play classic Game Boy and Game Boy Colour games on the 3DS.
 
The 3DS will also come with a total of six augmented-reality cards (AR cards). When the two outer cameras are pointed at the cards, they will read the cards and superimpose images and animations onto the scene in front of you. According to Nintendo, “users shouldn't be surprised if they see a dragon popping out of their kitchen tables.” This will also allow developers to create some crazy game scenarios for the 3DS. 
 
Built-in parental controls can help keep the kids from playing games above their age restriction and can also be used to limit internet activities or turn the 3D function off completely. 
 
Online play will of course be supported and 3DS friend codes will be specific to each 3DS system, instead of to each game as was previously the case. This means by exchanging friend codes once you can at any time check your friend list to see what your friends are playing. 
 
And you don't have to be worried about losing all those DS games because the 3DS will be cross compatible, meaning it will be able to play all of them with their original 2D visuals intact.
 
We can't wait...
 
The 3DS will also of course offer a large collection of games, with some amazing titles set to make their way to the system. These include new Mario Kart, Nintendogs + Cats, Super Street Fighter IV 3D, Ridge Racer 3D, Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask, Resident Evil 3D, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, Starfox 64 3D, Splinter Cell and Metal Gear Solid 3D titles, a Sims 3 3DS port and many many more. 
 
We'll be keeping you updated on all 3DS news as it pops, including local pricing and release dates as they are changed or announced.

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