The new Nintendo 3DS isn’t just a DSi with autostereoscopic 3D – there are lots of other new features too. Some of these features won’t be compatible with the free 3DS games that were offered to people who bought the system before its first price drop, as they could only choose from classic Nintendo Entertainment System and Game Boy Advance games (the 3DS contains an emulator for older Nintendo platforms called the “virtual console”).
Ability to create Mii avatars
Mii’s, which are comic-character-like avatars of yourself, were first introduced with the Wii. Once you create one (you can create up to 100) it can be used in games that support it. The most common use being your Mii becoming the main character of the game.
Once created using a Wii, a Mii can be transferred to and used with a Nintendo DSi. The 3DS on the other hand, contains a built-in Mii creator that’s actually more sophisticated than the one on a Wii in that the camera on the 3DS (which a Wii doesn’t have) allows you to take a picture of yourself and automate the creation of a similar-looking avatar.
Just passing by.. for a quick fight
When bluetooth technology first came out the concept of pocket devices “discovering” each other was born – and hackers quickly took advantage by hacking into passer-by’s who happened to have bluetooth enabled. Nintendo was creative enough to find a benevolent and entertaining use for close-range wireless communications between pocket devices – gaming with strangers without you even knowing it.
Even with the 3DS closed (in sleep mode) and in your pocket, it silently scans for others of its kind in its vicinity. When it detects one, it (depending on how you configured it) automatically swaps data, executes flash duels between your character and the strangers’ and more depending on the games installed. The exciting thing is that you will pass right by the stranger that you interacted with through StreetPass (this is what it’s called) without knowing it – for all you know you could have played a round of Street Fighter with a serial killer who happens to have a penchant for pocket gaming.
Not your average phone-camera
Close the 3DS and you’ll notice that it has not one, but two cameras on the cover spaced an inch apart. Most people are familiar with cell phones that have two cameras, but they’re placed on the front and the back with outwards-facing one being for taking photos and the one facing you being for video conferencing.
The dual pinhole cameras placed next to each other on the lid of the 3DS on the other hand are for taking stereoscopic 3D photos. The two cameras take a picture of the same scene from slightly different perspectives to create a picture with depth, much like how our eyes work to help us perceive distance.
Improve your health and get paid for it..
..not in cash, but in “Play Coins”. The 3DS contains a built-in pedometer which, while easily fooled (drive your car over some bumpy terrain and watch the pedometer climb), actually serves another purpose – earning Play Coins. You get a single coin for every 100 “steps” you take, though you’re limited to 1000 steps per day for the purposes of earning Play Coins. Uses vary wildly depending on the game, and future titles (possibly even free Nintendo 3DS games) will probably be able to come up with some creative ways to spend them.