Nintendo 3DS pre-launch event: Glasgow

With the imminent arrival of the 3DS, Nintendo have been setting up pre-launch events across the country to give gamers a chance to play on their new console. Critical Gamer was at the event held in Glasgow on Saturday 12th February. So is the new glasses free 3D console a gimmick too far, or a truly groundbreaking experience?

Put em up!

As we walked down Mitchell Lane in Glasgow towards The Lighthouse, we were pleased to see a good cross section of the public in attendance, all eager to get their hands on the much lauded 3DS. The first part of the pre-launch event consisted of a museum to Nintendo’s previous portable consoles. The consoles were encased in glass cabinets, and it was nice to see this family tree of portable gaming history in the one room. After this brief visit, we were herded into a darkened room, with a fighting ring on the right hand side. Two fighters dressed as Ken and Ryu from Street Fighter then had a brief sparring session, and guests were asked to come forward to get their photos taken with the two combatants. After this was finished we could hear shouting and zombie-like groans from the next curtained off area, which could only mean Resident Evil. Guests were told to get down on their knees by a man dressed as Chris Redfield, and when we shuffled around the corner, there were several ‘zombies’ jumping out at us, grabbing our arms. There was straw over the floor, and several people were covered in it as they rolled around avoiding the decomposing masses. Claire Redfield then took over from Chris, and herded us through the last part of the darkened stage, with several guests shrieking as we went.

Jonathan Ross waxed lyrical about his 3DS experiences.

After dusting ourselves off, we then proceeded into a room where we were shown a video of Jonathan ‘Wossy’ Ross, who waxed lyrical about the 3DS and the games that he has played on it. After he had finished his spiel, a compilation video of some of the forthcoming games on 3DS was shown, from Zelda and Pro Evolution Soccer to Paper Mario and Star Fox. The footage was quite impressive, and the graphics were probably on a par with the Wii; but none of it was in 3D, so it lost some of the impact of actually seeing it on the console. An announcer then told us that we were now going to be some of the first people in the UK to actually play on the 3DS, as we were ushered into the next room.

The temple of 3DS.

We entered another darkened room, with loud electronica music banging in the background. If only we’d brought our whistles and glosticks! In this room there were several rows of pods where we could finally get our grubby gaming mitts on the new console. The 3DS is about the size of the DS Lite, with the new Circle analogue nub on the left hand side. It feels pretty solidly built, as you would expect from Nintendo. The screen at the top has a widescreen ratio which looks larger than the previous DS models, with the touch screen on the bottom, as per the original DS. The first game we got to play was Resident Evil Mercenaries, and we’ve got to say the 3D effect was spectacular. The level we played was the Resident Evil 4 village, and the depth of field effect was extremely impressive. Your eyes take a while to adjust to the 3D, and if you tilt the screen too much you lose the effect. But once you hit that sweet spot the effect is tremendous. The 3D is more into the screen than the cinema effect which has images coming out at you as well, but the sense of depth really adds immersion to the games. The new Circle nub works well, and should make controlling third person games a lot easier.

The staff were always on hand to help you out.

Each of the pods had a 3DS set up with a different game. We moved on to play Zelda Ocarina of Time and that didn’t disappoint either, with the 3D being well used to add depth to the surrounding environment. The new character models looked fantastic as well, and this is shaping up to be stunning remake of arguably the best game of all time. We also got to play Steel Diver, which was a side-on submarine game, where you steered your sub with slide controls on the touch screen. The 3D was more muted here, although the coral reefs on the ocean floor were really well rendered. Pro Evolution Soccer was the next game we played, and had perhaps the best use of 3D that we saw. The pitch and players looked fantastic, and the animation of the players was extremely lifelike. It looks like a game that is a must-have for the new console. We then moved on to Super Street Fighter IV, which only used the 3D effect subtly, but the character animations and graphics were very impressive indeed. The 3DS graphics are a big step up from the DS; but the screen resolution is not a patch on the latest iPhone, which was a bit disappointing. The time we spent at these booths was brief, and there was a lot that we didn’t get a chance to play. However the girls who were on hand to help were really friendly, and knowledgeable about the console and the games we were playing.

Some impressive tech demos were on show.

We were then ushered on to the final room. In this room they demonstrated the new AR card, which was perhaps the most impressive thing that we saw. Basically there was a card sitting on the table beside the 3DS. We then scanned it into the console using the external camera; after which boxes started appearing on the table, which opened to reveal targets to shoot using the crosshair on the camera. Finally a dragon burst out of the table in front of us and we had to shoot various parts of its body to defeat it. This was done by walking around the real table, and using the camera to shoot the hidden parts of its scaly hide. This was extremely effective, and we look forward to seeing what Nintendo do with this feature in the future. Also in this room were demo booths of Nintendo Cats and Dogs, which looked quite similar to the original DS game; a 3D camera demonstration, which we didn’t have time to look at; and demos of Raving Rabbids: Travel in Time, along with consoles set up with video demonstrations of upcoming games in 3D. Star Fox looked fantastic, as did a new Paper Mario game. While we were trying out Raving Rabbids, which looks to be a fairly typical 2D platformer with 3D effects, there was a cameraman going around interviewing people playing the new console. A man beside us was asked if he wanted to do an interview about the new console, which he agreed to do. It transpired that he had come all the way up from Leeds, and he was quite happily talking about the 3DS, and how blown away he was by it. You’ve got to admire the guy’s determination to test out this new piece of tech.

And now the wait begins until 25th March...

As we left the event we were asked if we wanted to pre-order the console, but we politely declined – not because we weren’t impressed, but due to there being cheaper buying options online. The event was well run, and the Street Fighter and Resident Evil sections at the start were uber cheesy, but good fun. When it came to our hands-on with the console, we’d have liked more time with it, as we just didn’t have enough time to play all the games on show. Overall we were mightily impressed by the new 3D handheld, and the potential is there for some truly groundbreaking games. We just hope that third parties support this device better than they did the DS, and consumers don’t just think the 3DS is a regular DS with 3D effects. Upon leaving the building two guys in front of us were talking about the console, unaware that they were covered in hay from the Resident Evil section of the experience. We can only imagine what their girlfriends/wives will think when they walk through the door. They were playing with the 3DS honestly!

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Written by Kevin M

I've been addicted to gaming since my parents bought an Atari console way back in the 70's. I progressed to the iconic Speccy, Amiga, and all the Playstation platforms. Having seen games evolve from single pixel bat and ball, to HD constructed environments, gaming has changed much from my early years. Having defeated the rock hard R-Type on the Speccy, the biggest challenge I've faced so far is putting up with the hordes of American teens spouting abuse in the current generation of consoles, noob indeed!

6 comments

  1. Jaykray /

    I notice in one of the pictures (the one with a woman standing next to you) you’re playing it with your left hand on the circle pad and your right hand using the touch screen. Is this how left handed people are going to have to use games that require both the circle pad and the stylus, seeing as it’s almost impossible for most of us to use a stylus accurately with our right hands (believe me, I’ve tried on the DS to practise for the 3DS)

    • You’ve asked a good question there that I’d never considered. I’m also left handed and trying to use the stylus in my right usually results in it falling to the floor.

      • Jaykray /

        I expected Nintendo to have released some sort of information about the subject, especially since Shigeru Miyamoto is left handed.

  2. Jaykray /

    I just realised you’re using the stylus in that picture, pretty worrying.

  3. KrazyFace /

    Good point JayKray, I’m a right-hander so I’d never have thought of that. Ah well, I guess that’s it for left-handed-colour-blind-people then eh!?

    • Jaykray /

      Can’t colourblind people see it either? I knew that people with certain eye problems (slightly or fully blind in one eye) wouldn’t be able to use the 3D, just like at the cinema, but I didn’t think it would affect colourblind people.

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