Up until the Sunday session at the 2011 EB Expo I could safely say that it had literally NEVER occurred to me that I should buy a 3DS. I’m going to be completely honest here, after my initial experience with the 3DS when it was launched I had pretty much written it off as a failure. Price drop? Not interested. Ocarina of Time 3D? I played it on my N64, not interested. So what made me decide to visit the Nintendo booth? Read on to find out.
You want the truth? Lucas and I just wanted to get an interview with someone from Nintendo for the podcast. Shameless, right? Well what we found at the booth made it totally worthwhile. After speaking to one of the staff working at the booth we were directed to Nintendo product representative Jamie Wilson for our interview. As we approached him we noticed he was in the middle of a conversation with a small child so we decided to use our manners (thanks Mum!) and wait our turn. What we then noticed was something that we thought was really cool, Jamie was actually helping the kid get his 3DS connected to the Expo’s free WiFi. How’s that for service? Why am I telling you this story? Because it’s a cool story alright, jeez settle down! Anyway while waiting I noticed a 3DS sitting on a nearby table with no one playing it, so I decided to have a crack at it.
The game was Mario Kart 7, and like most gamers who are more than 3 years old, I’ve played a Mario Kart game before. There were all the things you would expect: shooting opponents with turtle shells, dropping banana peels, collecting coins, but there was also a load of new features. You can customize your kart including changing the wheels to suit the track (large tyres work well for off-road and small tyres for roads), or even add a hang glider attachment so that you can fly! Oh and you can drive underwater too, just in case you were wondering. There are also a few new playable characters, or you can use your Mii and the game also introduces a first person driving view.
That’s all well and good, but what about the 3D? What about the 3D indeed. As I said before, I wrote the 3DS off months ago, however this game changes my mind completely. Sure it’s perfectly fun in 2D, just like every other Mario Kart game, but the glasses-free stereoscopic 3D display has been perfected for this game. The distance of other racers in front of you, the sight of a turtle shell flying away from your kart, and the land coming towards you as you glide all look seamless and perfect in 3D. Sure there is the niggly problem of not being able to move the handheld around much, but you can hold it at a comfortable distance with no problems. It works extremely well, it’s fun to play, and as with other Mario Kart games the controls are extremely easy to use.
Another game they had on display was Super Mario 3D Land, and again Nintendo have come through with the goods when it comes to the 3D. With new features ranging from collecting coins placed in three dimensional patterns, to 2D trickery with things like fake mushrooms which are simply paintings designed to trick you if you don’t have 3D turned on, there is again enough to warrant a purchase, even if you think you are burnt out on Mario games.
These two games have been a long time coming but I think the wait was worth it, and they have completely changed my mind on the 3DS. The 3D worked extremely well, and added to the gameplay in both games so it wasn’t just gimmicky. They have obviously been designed from the ground up to make the most use of 3D possible, and I have to give props to Nintendo for being able to change my cynical and stubborn mind. I walked away from the booth extremely excited to see what else Nintendo can do with the 3DS in the future, and surprisingly enough, wanting to have a 3DS of my own.