Matt, Justin and Brett are currently playing their way through a whole bunch of 3DS games on both sides of the Atlantic, so while they're busy I thought I'd take the time to fill you in on all the sexy details I have from the press conferences they've just seen.
Games, release dates, prices, multimedia content, all the extra tricks, bells and whistles of the hardware itself... There's a whole lot you don't know, but now if you'll allow me, I'll happily splurge it in your direction.
The 3DS itself
- There will be but a single, solitary, universal Friend Code for all games. Praise the mighty lord Zeus!
- It appears to have an iPhone-style Home button to allow multi-tasking while you take a break from a game.
- It has a built-in gyroscope for motion control. Justin is currently having a whale of a time using it to aim his slingshot in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and it's also been confirmed for use as a periscope control in submarine shooter Steel Diver.
- It comes with a 2Gb SD memory card for removable storage.
- The new Nintendo e-store will sell Game Boy and Game Boy Color games for download.
- The 3DS is backward compatible with "most " DS games.
- The built in cameras (one for standard photos, one set of two for 3D pics) will allow you to automatically build a base Mii from a mugshot. Though it didn't seem to work very well even in the trailer.
- It uses a built-in pedometer to record your activity, Wii Fit-style.
- It has built-in augmented reality games, which look to put monsters in environments as you observe them through the camera. It uses AR cards, like in PS3 game Eye of Judgement.
- It has a built-in shooter called Face Raiders, which lets you put your face (and presumably those of your friends) in the game as targets.
- It will come in blue and black. No sign of that nice red one we've seen at previous events.
- It will be released in Europe on March the 25th and in the US two days later on March the 27th. The US RRP is $249.99. There is no European RRP. Nintendo is allowing retail to decide, but the current average as of the time of writing is £229.99. Game prices in the UK are currently quoted at £32.99 (GamesStation) and £39.99 (GAME). Seriously, GAME.
- Eurosport is signed up to deliver 3D sports content via the 3DS' background download service.
- Sky 3D is onboard too.
- Aardman Animation, creator of Wallace and Gromit, will provide a series of 3D shorts based on Shaun the Sheep before the end of the year.
An absolute shedload of hardcore and casual titles have already been announced (with the balance swinging more towards the former, wonderfully). Matt, Brett and Justin will be bringing you fuller reports when they get back from their respective events, but the new tidbits that took our interest at the conferences today were:
- As well as allowing you to have passive, automatic battles with passers-by using the 3DS' background connectivity features in order to win unlockable figurine trophies, Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition will have an online spectator mode similar to that seen in the home console versions.
- Ubisoft has a side-scrolling Rabbids platformer, Splinter Cell, Combat of Giants (a dinosaur fighting game, which probably has Meiks trembling with excitement), Asphalt 3D, Ghost Recon, James Noir's Hollywood Crimes (no, us neither) and Driver: Renegade on the way.
- Team Ninja's Dead or Alive Dimensions has been made of a 'best of' edition of the whole series. Optional touch screen controls make specials and combo strings easier, but you don't need to use them. Justin reports a "nasty" frame-rate drop when you play in 3D. He states around 20 - 30 FPS, guaged with his world-renowned robo-eyes.
- Pro Evolution Soccer 2010 uses a new roving over-the-shoulder camera to put you right behind each player you control. Could be amazing, could be confusing. Justin says it's "gorgeous".
- Pilotwings Resort has you flying over the same Island seen in Wii Sports Resort. SNES staple line-up of hang-glider, rocket-belt and plane confirmed.
- Nintendogs + Cats features more variation within a species than in the previous game, meaning that not everyone's raging pitbull will look, bite and slobber the same. And the animals will react to your proximity (presumably using the 3D cameras). If they like you, they'll lick the screen. If you're a stranger they might go for your nose. Which will be exciting in 3D.
- The following were shown in brief trailers: Super Monkey Ball 3D, Resident Evil: Revelations, Samurai Warriors, Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars, Paper Mario, Starfox 64 3D, Resident Evil Mercenaries, The Sims 3, Ridge Racer 3D, Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater, Animal Crossing and Mario Kart.