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I am a bit beside myself right now. Today I am seeing in 3-D and not wearing any glasses. And I am loving it. It seems that 3D and gaming is meant to go together but for years gaming companies have experimented with 3D and until today have failed every time. It’s weird because 3D isn’t a new concept in gaming. Way back in 1983 Vectrex was the first to offer a pair of 3D glasses (then called a 3D Imager) to be used with only a few games, 3D Crazy Coaster, 3D Minestorm and 3D Narrow Escape. These glasses were huge and bulky and required spinning two colored disks in front of your eyes to make the images on the Vectrex screen pop out. These came out at the end of the systems life cycle and thus were not available for very long and are quite rare today. The second company to offer 3D games about four years later, was Sega on its Sega Master System. Again, special games including Missile Defense 3D, Space Harrior 3D and Zaxxon 3D were combined with some special glasses that plugged into a card that plugged into the card slot of the master system. Again, these are somewhat rare and never really took the gaming world by storm.
Enter Nintendo and the NES. Nintendo surprisingly didn’t experiment with any 3D glasses at the time although some publishers did give it a go with Rad Racer and 3D World Runner. Neither of which were noteworthy 3D games. Next, Nintendo surprises the gaming world in 1995 with the introduction of the first true 3D gaming system, the Virtual Boy. Now initially, this piece of gaming gadgetry was quite impressive. The Virtual Boy didn’t use 3D glasses; the system was the glasses. Gamers peered in to the system like they would use a pair of Binoculars (why do we say that?). The Virtual Boy really did, for the first time create some of the best playing 3D games to date, however, many reported to get headaches from the whole experience and the Virtual Boy scarred both Nintendo and the previously impeccable genius reputation of it’s creator, Gunpei Yokoi (creator of the Game & Watch and Game Boy).
Fast forward to 2011 and Nintendo once again releases a 3D gaming system, but this time things are different. With loads of handheld gaming experience behind them and previous failures to learn from, they have figured out the impossible - a 3D system that doesn’t require any glasses.
March 27, 2011 - Nintendo 3DS U.S. Launch
Now I was never one to buy into this whole 3D gaming thing, especially growing up with it’s horrific past, but I was willing to give Nintendo another chance. After all, they have been on a roll lately with successful introductions of new and ground breaking gaming technology. I first saw and played the 3Ds at E3 2010 and I knew after getting my paws on one for only a few short minutes that Nintendo once again was knocking at the doors of gaming genius. It was so hard to believe, especially for one that grew up in the dawn of the industry playing the Atari, Intellivison and Colecovision, that gaming had come so far as to offer amazing graphics in a handheld, and in glasses-free 3D. It was a life changing experience for me, in a gaming sense. And I knew I wanted to be apart of experiencing this new technology the first day this little gaming marvel hit the streets.
Well, that day was today. A day that I had anticipated for nearly a year. A day that for an adult gamer felt like Christmas morning. I tossed and turned all night, sleeping off and on and counting the minutes so I could jump out of bed and bolt off to the nearby Walmart and try and get a jump on everyone else. Much to my surprise I was the only one in the gaming department after they opened. I had my pick of the two launch day systems, black or aqua. And I had a fresh box of games all to myself. So to accompany my system I picked up Pilot Wings Resort, Super Street Fighter, Bust A Move, Steel Diver and Samurai Warriors. All of which I have clocked an hour or so with throughout the day. And yep, Nintendo got it right this time. And unlike the doomed Virtual Boy, the 3DS is backed by a wealth of 3rd party developers waiting to explore all the exciting ways of using this new and unbelievable technology. Nintendo once again has worked a miracle and I hope to be amazed by this magical little device for years to come until the next big gaming breakthrough falls upon us. Could it be Virtual Reality? Hmmmm.
Look for our offical 3DS system review and game reviews coming soon!
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