Why I Hate my 3DS


Written by Chris Price
11 Monday 11th April 2011


3D without the comical green and red glasses is here – in the cinema, in your home and now in your hands. I feel 3D is very little more than a snazzy dressing on a traditional salad. Complimentary in small doses.  Too much and you drown any flavour or nutrition. 3D just can’t exist in isolation. You’re still relying on the quality of the basic ingredients to deliver an enjoyable experience.

A fully inclusive affordable format of 3D just isn’t here yet – no matter what 3D manufacturers say. Remember those nonsensical ‘Magic-Eye’ pictures from the 90’s? Awful things, responsible for sending a generation cross-eyed. (I could never get them to work - you try telling a twelve year old to ‘relax’ their eyes, see what quality of response you get). The 3DS tweaks that same area of squinty brain-disambiguation. Nintendo have been quick to state that if you watch enough of it, your eyes will adapt. Just like a life prison sentence I assume, where you adapt to rough non-consensual intercourse.

Here's a picture of the 3DS rendered as a magic eye pattern that we just made. If your eyes are strong enough to make it out, they'll almost definitely be able to deal with the system itself!

Shifting optics blight the 3DS experience. Stereoscopic 3D works by projecting a slightly different image at each eye individually to give the illusion of distance. Unfortunately, eyes are still bounded by their squishy organic nature – everyone focuses and reads data differently. Until holographic 3D comes of age, we will all be blighted by where we sit in relation to the image as well as the processing power of our ocular units. It just doesn’t look right.

If my eyes are tired, the illusion doesn’t work, constantly forcing a refocus to appreciate the effect. The problem is that, being a videogame, you have to concentrate on one particular element of the screen. The resultant effect is constant shifting of angles the 3DS unit and flittering my eyes over different elements of the screen – followed by blinking, and refocusing on the whole 3D render on the screen. The net effect detracts any element of immersion within the game experience. It also reminds me of my fallibility as a 29 year old man, with slightly shitty eyes. Not exactly an entirely inclusive experience.

Which I suppose brings me onto Nintendo PLC in 2011 as a whole. Back in the 90s, I fought for the honour of SEGA Megadrive. Why? It wasn’t the Motorola 68000 processor running at 7.67 MHz, which dwarfed the new Super Nintendo. It all came down to the risks they took. Nintendo’s wholesome brushed aluminium approach of micromanaging each license, eliminated the chance of any unique and inspiring ‘accidental errors’. A different business model, which hindsight proved to be commercial mana.

Nintendo 2011 is a place of family gamers – it’s Rio Ferdinand twatting about with his ‘mates’ in some spatially theoretical gaming room. A financially lucrative market, beckoned in by curiosity and accessibility – a congress of ‘casual gaming’ – the sprog plays Mario Galaxy, the mum uses Wii Fit. Until they both lose interest and move on. The Wii gathers dust under the TV – like the discarded toys in the toy box. This quick turnover will be generational. The art and the passion of video gaming that I love has all but been airbrushed out of existence for the sake a quick commercial turnover.

So why did I buy one? On recommendation. Even the most jaded skeptic seemed to have to succumb to its charms – quick to mention the adjustable level of the 3D effect if your eyes are taking a pummelling. A figurative and actual new dimension in gaming, with possibilities never before seen. I didn’t want to miss out.

So evolution… The 3DS interface is marginalised, ugly and unrefined. As is the unit housing itself. AR software? Just like Sony’s Eye of Judgement? (fnrrr…). The Mii Maker which will only accentuate the worst elements of your own face, and remind you how ugly you actually are. The releases I’ve played – Ghost Recon, designed by Julian Gollop (he who created the seminal UFO Enemy Unknown) it’s a jagged childish squint fest. Street Fighter 4 3D is a distracting, watered down version variant of its gallant 2D cousin.

I was promised a dream, yet sold a lie. The 3DS is combination of the remedial impersonal catch-all approach of Nintendo in 2011, with a reliance on a tacky visual gimmickry. On that just isn’t advanced enough to be effective in its current form. It’s the potato wrapped in tin foil a child’s party, studded with cheese and pineapple chunks on cocktail sticks. Attractive and accessible, but awkward and bittersweet. It sits there twinkly smugly, while its reason for being is that tinned pineapple chunks and cheese can be vaguely fit together.

I will continue – I feel I owe it to myself. But I certainly don’t owe it to Nintendo.

Don't Panic attempt to credit photographers and content owners wherever possible, however due to the sheer size and nature of the internet this is sometimes impractical or impossible. If you see any images on our site which you believe belong to yourself or another and we have incorrectly used it please let us know at panic@dontpaniconline.com and we will respond asap.