Nintendo unveils 3DS handheld games console

By Daniel Emery
Technology reporter, BBC News, Los Angeles


Nintendo has unveiled its new 3D handheld gaming system at a briefing in Los Angeles at the E3 games show.

Called 3DS, the system has two screens and can display 3D images that can be seen without using special glasses.

Nintendo said the novel handheld is designed to replace the existing DS and is scheduled to be on shop shelves in late 2010.

The gaming giant said it had overhauled the graphics system on the DS to bring it into the 21st Century.

Playing Mickey

The 3DS handheld has two camera lenses which enables owners to take and view photographs in 3D.

One difficulty Nintendo faced in creating the gadget was the incompatibility between creating a 3D screen and a usable touch-screen interface.

Consequently on the 3DS only the top screen displays 3D while the lower screen is a functional touch screen.

To create the 3D effect it uses a device called a parallax barrier.

This is a second LCD screen that sits over the main viewing panel that creates a series of fine lines across the screen that allows the user to see a different set of pixels, creating the appearance of a 3D view.

This works well providing the user sits in a fixed point in front of the image but does not work when viewed from an angle.

Nintendo has added a slider which can increase or decrease the depth of 3D view, or can be taken right down, disabling the parallax barrier view and turning it into a 2D image.

At its briefing Nintendo showed the first game that will be released for the 3DS called Kid Icarus Uprising.

One other feature new to the 3DS is an always-on wi-fi connection that will automatically feed levels and updates to players. Nintendo said the net service behind the always-on updates will be free to use.

Nintendo said several 3DS titles were in development including DJ Hero 3D, Saints Row: Drive-By, Resident Evil Revelations, Batman, Assassin's Creed Lost Legacy and Metal Gear Solid.

At the event Nintendo also showcased a number of new titles that included Donkey Kong Country Returns, a new Legend of Zelda called Skyward Sword, Mario Sports and, after a 13-year gap, Goldeneye 007 for the Wii.

Veteran game developer Warren Spector was also at the event to show off his new game Disney Epic Mickey - a 3D action adventure with a heavy Role-playing element set in the Disney universe.

Gamers play as Mickey Mouse who travels around a dynamic 3D world in which he can use paint or paint thinner to create or destroy the environment which will have a direct effect on how the game plays out.

Mr Spector has developed a number of classic gaming titles in the past such as Deus Ex and System Shock.

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