My picks for launch title 3D Awards

Infendo

We’ve entered a new era, and glasses-free 3D is now a very real option for modern gameplay. Nintendo’s 3DS launch lineup presents a wide range of approaches in utilizing the new feature, with varying results. Based on extensive time with much of the lineup, here are my entirely subjective pretend-awards for best uses of the third dimension:

Most Realistic 3D – Nintendogs Plus Cats
Most Beautiful 3D – Steel Diver
Best Use of 3D to Enhance Gameplay – Pilotwings
Most Mind-Bending 3D – AR Games
Funniest Use of 3D – Face Raiders
Best Use of 3D to Revitalize a Classic Franchise – Street Fighter IV

And Overall Best 3D….

1st Place – Nintendogs Plus Cats (N+c). In 2D, N+c looks like an impressive videogame. With the 3D switched on, it looks startlingly real—even more so because we all know what a real dog in a real room looks like. The going-for-a-walk section features streets that stretch into the deep distance and fireflies that seem to hover off your screen. If you’ve picked a breed with a long muzzle, its nose will appear to reach beyond the frame, and when it tries to lick you…yes, dog-spit seems to fly directly at your face. The 3D in this title is extremely easy on the eyes, probably helped by the game’s leisurely pace and obvious focal point.

2nd Place – AR Games. Astonishing. Seeing your own environment warped and altered before your eyes in real-time 3D is an experience you don’t soon forget.

3rd Place- It’s a tie: Pilotwings/Street Fighter IV – The 3D in Pilotwings provides a thrilling sense of true altitude, and the depth allows for more accurate navigation around and through obstacles. The 3DS 3D experience is a bit different for everyone’s eyes, and in my case I sometimes have trouble maintaining the “Sweet Spot” in Pilotwings, mainly because my eyes try to keep shifting focus from the aircraft to the approaching rings and targets. It takes a bit more work for me to maintain the illusion in Pilotwings, but the payoff in thrilling gameplay is worth the effort.

Streetfighter’s use of 3D is unlike any of the other titles, as it takes familiar 2D animated characters and brings them to amazing 3D life without losing any of their unique art style. It truly is like stepping into a living, breathing cartoon.

Since I have not played every third-party launch game, I might have overlooked an underdog. What are your experiences with the 3D in the titles you’ve played? How would you award them?