2 Weeks With the Nintendo 3DS: The Software

2 weeks ago, I came into possession of a brand new Nintendo 3DS for a mere $70 through a combination of the new price drop, a sale, and the trading in of some games, and I don’t regret a thing. I also picked up Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, but I won’t be talking about that in this post, just the system in question.

The system is fantastic, and part of the reason is how much free stuff comes in the relatively small package that is the 3DS. Practically all of the programs that come pre-installed on the system are essentially tech demos of what can be done with the system, but they are actually exceptionally fun to play around with. One of these programs are the AR Games. 6 AR Cards come with the system (one that is a basic AR Card and allows you to play most of the games and 5 Character Cards (Mario, Toon Link, Pikmin, Samus, and Kirby) that can be used to take very silly pictures.) Within the AR Games, there are 6 different games, two of which are just ways of taking pictures with the different AR Cards and one (Graffiti) that allows you to make 3D graffiti on various surfaces. It can be very entertaining, and can be much more interesting with other people playing around with it along with you. The other 3 pieces of software are actually games and they come in 3 varieties: Archery, AR Shot, and Fishing.

Fishing is, well, fishing. It’s kind of boring, but the other two are fantastic. Archery is a game in which various structures pop out of the card and you are forced to move around the various structures in order to hit the targets, all of the different levels culminating with you fighting a freaking fire breathing dragon! AR Shot is a kind of mini-golf game that becomes more and more fantastical as the courses get weirder and weirder.All of the games are amusing, but won’t last more than a few hours of gameplay at one time.

Another game is Face Raiders where your face is stolen by monsters and you are forced to get it back by shooting at the monsters and taking all of them down. There are multiple levels that get progressively harder and the enemies do weirder and weirder things, and that’s really saying something considering that within the first level, there is the distinct possibility that you can be kiss attacked by your own face. The game uses the accelerometer and gyroscope in the system to track where you are moving the system to aim your tennis ball launcher at the evil hoard. The game can eventually go into the pictures that are saved on the SD Card (a 2 gig card surprisingly enough comes with the system) and can take pictures from there. The game eventually gets very hard and is easily the best game that comes with the system.

The other pieces of software aren’t really games. There’s Nintendo 3DS Camera and Nintendo 3DS Sound, the latter is a straightforward MP3 player and a method to record and play around with sound. The Camera is rather fun as it is able to take pictures in 3D (the system can also view pictures online in 3D if they are taken in 3D. For you Disney fans, check out Theme Parks in 3D in the 3DS Browser).

The system also comes with a Mii Maker and StreetPass Mii Plaza. The Mii Maker is a slightly improved version of the Mii Channel on the Wii, but adds the ability to take a picture of someone with the 3DS cameras and have the Mii Maker make the Mii for you. This particular feature requires a lot of light in order to use it, but that is more a problem with the cameras on the 3DS than it is a problem with the software. StreetPass Mii Plaza allows you to interact with other 3DS’s without actually interacting with them. When you bump into another person using StreetPass, you can get puzzle pieces from them to finish a number of different Nintendo themed 3D images in one game and in the other you can hire the Mii’s you bump into to save your Mii from an evil castle. It’s very amusing to open up the system and find that you have met three other people who have a 3DS without actually seeing them playing it.

The 3DS has multitasking, but not with everything (much to my chagrin when it comes to the 3D Pokedex). You can access your friend list (which is now just tied to 1 Friend Code per system rather than a different Friend Code for every game. This is a step in the right direction, Nintendo, but you should just allow people to use Usernames instead of Friend Codes), write notes about whatever game you are playing, read notifications, and access the internet.

I was going to talk about the hardware as well as the actual software, but I’ll talk about that sometime next week as this article is getting a bit lengthy.

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