The 3DS is the PR lie that tells the truth

Major hardware innovations and revisions come and go, often with promises that they will “change everything,” and “forever alter the way we see gaming.”  The Nintendo 3DS delivers on these nonsense PR phrases in a very literal sense, delivering a 3D visual experience without the need for glasses – we are now looking at games in a new way, one that was not previously possible.  It’s actually quite an amazing sight to see – but this wonderful new toy causes me great pain – because in attempt to describe it, I find myself echoing the same nonsense PR shtick I’ve been mocking for years – and I mean every word I say.

Take my first reaction to playing with the system’s 3D slider, a control that allows the user to adjust the 3D output to their own viewing preferences – after turning the dial all the way down and disabling the 3D, I was almost shocked, “Oh, It’s just a regular game now. How bland.”  In an instant, I went from being certain that 3D was just the latest consumer fad, to calling traditional handheld presentation “bland” and “regular.” Later, I described it to a acquaintance as the difference between a “regular game,” and a “whole new experience.” I found myself becoming a textbook of nonsense marking claims – but I believed it. Every bit of it. And I still do.
The device is hard to describe.  To use another overused phrase, you have to see it to believe it – but it’s true. The technology used to create the 3D display cannot be recorded and redisplayed properly – it’s effects are only visible to the naked human eye.  Try not to think of it as the gimmicky “pop out” 3D of yesteryear, and more like looking out a window. The images aren’t popping out at you, they’re begging you to reach into their world and grab them. The 3DS gives you depth perception, and gives a flat screen the appearance of a window.
Indescribable new experiences aside, the 3DS seems to be a solid system.  Even without the amazing 3D display, the system seems to be outputting gamecube or near-gamecube level visuals, and the announced lineup would be more than worthwhile on a traditional display.
The 3DS is said to be planned for release sometime in the next 12 months, but it’s been suggested a Holiday 2010 release is possible.  Either way, it’ll be worth the wait.