I'll be the first to admit I'm wasn't hyped up over the 3DS being released later this week. In fact with the Sony's NGP coming out at the end of the year, I wasn't even considering picking one up. I did want to get a chance to try one out though because Nintendo usually strikes gold when they put a new system out. I got my chance at PAX to spend some time with it and here's what I think.
I was interested in seeing how the 3D worked and after seeing it, I was less than impressed. I know there is a "sweet spot" but I couldn't seem to find it. The screen just looked blurry. There is a slider on the side that allows you to turn the 3D part down or completely off. Even though the 3D part wasn't that great, there is plenty to like about Nintendo's new handheld.
The first thing I noticed was the analog control. I don't think that is what they are calling it but that's what it is. It works great and makes you wonder why they haven't added it long time ago. Like the DSi the 3DS has a camera, which it uses for several games. One of these games allows you to take a picture of your face and then puts your face on balloons that you have to shoot. The cool thing about this game is that it uses the gyroscope, so to aim you had to move the device. Sometimes you had to turn you body completely around to shoot the balloons. While it was fun because of the movement I don't see people playing this out in public, well without getting funny looks.
Then there was the card game. With this game you place a card on the table and use the camera to focus on it. Then things would start popping up that you needed to shoot. What you have to be careful of is not moving too much because the card must stay in the camera's focus. I asked the one of the guys working the booth if the information for the game was on the card or in the 3DS and his answer didn't clear things up. It sounds like there is a basic code in the 3DS that the card needs to work off of but most of the game is on the card. I'm really not sure how that works because the card is about as thick as a regular playing card. If it is stored mostly on the cards though I could see McDonalds and other places starting to give this cards out.
Also there is going to be a game store that you can download games to your 3DS like Apples app store. I asked about this but they said they could say much about it yet.
Overall I walked up to the Nintendo booth not even thinking about purchasing a 3DS and left wondering if I should pick one up. The only real game that I played was a Lego Star Wars game and it was fun It looks like the 3DS has many tools that developers could use and I image there will be a learning curve until we start seeing some games that take advantage of the features. It will be very interesting to see how well the 3DS does when it is released later this week.