Nintendo 3DS: Everything you need to know

Get the latest on Ninty's glasses-free 3D marvel

For information on the Nintendo 3DS release date and price, games, features and more, read T3's essential 3DS guide on the 3DS games console

Announced out of the blue in early 2010, Nintendo's 3DS gives you 3D visuals without the need for glasses. Not only that, but new control options – motion sensing, a PSP-style analogue nub – and greatly Improved graphics are also in the offing. Holding the impressively slim device close to your gaze produces a fantastic illusion of depth, with bullets and insects appearing to fly out of the screen and the horizon stretching deep into the 3.53-inch widescreen.

The effect is achieved via a parallax barrier LCD produced by Sharp. The technology works like a lenticular image come to life; The screen directs light in two different directions, one for each eye, Thus tricking your brain into seeing depth that's not there. Nintendo's prepping its biggest franchises for the 3DS and each feels like it has had an added layer of depth – pun intended – unlocked by the 3D functionality.

In Mario Kart you can judge your corners and banana throws accurately, while flying through hoops in Pilotwings feels far more real, and easier, as you can accurately judge their approach. There's also a great batch of third-party games incoming, Including Metal Gear Solid and Resident Evil titles.

Nintendo 3DS: Features

1/ Nintendo 3DS: Spot Pass

Located at the top right of the console, 3DS users will able to pick up data via Wi-Fi hotspots to get news, video and trade Mii characters on the go. Nintendo has been in talks with BTFon with Spot Pass access set to be available in BT Wi-Fi spots.

2/ Nintendo 3DS Street Pass

Taking an innovative new approach to console communication, the 3DS can detect other 3DS consoles even as your device sleeps letting you swap multiple game information. That means data can be transferred from more than one title even if you are not currently playing that particular game. The new notification light will turn green to communicate that Street Pass is in action.

3/ Nintendo 3DS Single Friend code

In a bid to make multiplayer gaming a little more simplified, Nintendo has opted for single Friend Codes, so unlike on the Wii and DS when you needed to input codes for different games, you now only need one code to indulge in enjoy some multiplayer action.

4/ Nintendo 3DS: Mii-Maker

Bringing the feature made popular on the Wii, you can create a console-style avatar using the 3DS cameras (two on the back, one on the front) to create the base of your Mii character. You'll then be able to trade data with other 3DS Miis via Street Pass to find out the last software they've downloaded, play games against them, and find out what country they come from.

Once you've finished making your Mii, you can upoad into a pre-installed game called Face Raiders which essentially lets you put your face in the game, and well, shoot at it.

5/ Nintendo 3DS: Activity log

If you need to keep track of how long you've been rattling away on Mario Kart 3D, or how many steps you've taken with 3DS in tow, a series of graphs helps you to keep an eye on your 3DS habits and earn Play coins depending on your step progress.

6/Sky and Eurosport 3D content

Showing off its credentials as device that is not just about gaming, Nintendo announced that it's partnering with Sky 3D to make short-form content available to watch on the 3DS. Eurosport is also in talks to provide similar 3D sport content, while more child-friendly content arrives courtesy of a deal with Aardman Animations who will make one-minute episodes of Shaun the Sheep available to download.

7/ Nintendo 3DS e-Shop

Here's where you can get your virtual hands on digital download content for the 3DS and most crucially, access to original Game Boy and Game Boy Advance titles which includes the original Super Mario Land.

8/ Nintendo 3DS Accessories

A 2GB SD card will be bundled with the portable console, while a charging cradle which keeps your 3DS in sleeping mode, will also be included in the box.

9/ Nintendo 3DS: Augmented Reality games

AR certainly has a big part to play in tech in the immediate future and beyond, and the 3DS can also show off its AR capabilities with a series of pre-installed AR games that uses a series of cards to display 3D effects and mini-games.

Nintendo 3DS games

Nintendo says there will be around 30 games available from launch up until June, just in time for E3 2011, where we are likely to hear from more 3DS game developers. Here is what the publishers who were present at the 3DS preview event had to offer to kick things off.


Super Street Fighter 4 3D edition is bound for the 3DS offering gamers a choice of 35 characters and the ability to fight in versus mode against other 3DS owners anytime, anywhere and immediately. Using fighter figurines in place of your Mii in the Street Pass settings, once you've crossed paths with another gamer with the same settings you'll be able to do battle. There's also multiplayer over Wi-Fi and Spectator Mode that means fellow 3DS gamers can link up to watch your fight.


We managed to cast our eyes on the trailer under the name PES Winning Eleven 3D as it's more commonly known over in Japan, and know we know a little more detail about the footy sim on the 3DS, notably the new 'Player Cam' camera angle which Konami hopes will make you feel like you are little closer to the on-pitch action.


From the publisher that brought us Just Dance, Ubisoft unveiled eight games for the 3DS which will be available in the launch period outlined by Nintendo. The eight titles are notably led by the return of Rayman and also include Splinter Cell, Combat of Giants: Dionsaurs 3D, Asphalt 3D, Rabbids 3D, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars, James Noir's Hollywood Crimes and Driver Renegade (picture above). Combat of Giants: Dinosuars 3D will be another game to incorporate the Nintendo Street Pass system, leting you virtually fight dragons with fellow 3DS gamers you just happen to stroll past.

Nintendo published games

The 3DS makers of course has its own raft of titles which include Pilotwings Resort, Paper Mario, Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Kid Icarus: Uprising, Nintendogs and cats, and Steeldiver. Nintendogs and cats cleverly uses facial recognition so that your virtual pets will recognise you, while Steeldiver uses the 3DS's gyroscope for an added dimension to the gameplay.

More Nintendo 3DS games to look out for:

Mario Kart 3DS

Assassin's Creed: Lost Legacy

Lego Star Wars


Resident Evil The Mercenaries

The Sims 3

Ridge Racer 3D

Metal Gear Solid Snake eater

Animal Crossing

Dead or Alive: Dimensions

Nintendo 3DS: Expert opinions

Nintendo 3DS Expert view

DR Neil Dodgson, Cambridge University imaging Expert on why too much 3DS could be
bad for you…

“An eight-hour gaming session is already hard On the eyes, as your eyes Are focusing the whole Time at a single distance. The 3D experience causes extra strain over and above what gamers already experience from long gaming sessions.

“The extra strain occurs because your eyes normally converge and focus at the same distance. When viewing A 3D TV your eyes converge naturally at the correct depth for the object you are viewing, But your eyes must still focus on the screen.

“This disconnection between focus and convergence is one cause of 3D eye-strain. I do not see that the Nintendo 3DS system is going to be any more or less likely to cause problems compared to glasses-based systems, As both types of display cause the convergence/ focus conflict.

“Game designers Need to be careful about pulling things too far out of the screen or pushing things too far back.”

Nintendo 3DS T3 view

Luke Johnson on the merits of the 3DS

“For me, the fact that glasses aren't necessary to view games in 3D is the nintendo 3DS's most exciting innovation. I was shocked by the depth Of the images and loved the ability to adjust the Intensity of the 3D effect. 3D movie trailers also looked impressive.

“There are imperfections – unless you hold it very still and directly in front of you, The 3D effect suffers and the games become pretty much unplayable – but the success of The 3DS has the potential to shape not just the future of gaming, but the future of 3D…”

Nintendo 3DS UK price: £229.99 (HMV (opens in new tab)), £219.85 (ShoptoNet (opens in new tab)), £187 (Morrisons (opens in new tab))

Nintendo 3DS UK release date: March 25th 2011

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Michael Sawh studied Journalism and Media Studies at Staffordshire University before joining T3 as a Feature Writer. You can find articles by Michael on the topics of Apple products, Android phones, laptops, bikes, games consoles, smartwatches and much more on, as well as neat retrospectives on classic tech products, events and game series.