Thousands flock to Nintendo 3DS premiere in Japan

Thousands of Japanese game fans flocked to an exhibition hall near Tokyo as Nintendo let the general public try its 3D-enabled DS console for the first time.

The new-generation DS machine which allows users to play 3D games without wearing special glasses — missed the Christmas season but will be released on February 26 in Japan and in March in the United States, Europe and Australia.

Thousands of gamers on Saturday converged on the hall as Nintendo kicked off an admission-free, three-day event for the 3DS in Chiba, east of Tokyo.

Nintendo declined to say how many people had gathered, but hour-long queues did not deter those waiting for a trial lasting just a few minutes.

“It’s fun, I want it,” Reika, 12, declared after she visited the event with her parents. Her 48-year-old father was also impressed. “It was surprising that images come out like seeing images on 3D television with special glasses,” he said, adding his daughter would get a new machine, despite the family’s already having a number of consoles.

However, he said, his daughter’s gaming time would likely be limited. “I don’t think she will play 3D games too long as they tire you more” than conventional video games, he said. Nintendo has warned that children under the age of six should not use the 3D console because of possible damage to their eyes.

The machine allows the illusion of depth to be increased or decreased so that games can be played in both 2D and 3D, while built-in cameras let users take 3D pictures. Masatoshi Sakazaki, a 24-year-old student, said it had been “worth waiting” 30 minutes to try a battle game.

“The game looked so brand-new with realistic, 3D images,” he said of Sengoku Musou, which features characters wielding swords and guns. But, he added, it had taken its toll. “I’m not accustomed to seeing 3D images. Even playing for 10 minutes tired me.”

The gaming gadget features the trademark DS dual screens, with the upper screen providing 3D images and the other controlled by touch with a stylus. When in sleep mode, the console can still locate other nearby 3DS devices, exchange data and receive game challenges or other invitations automatically.

More than 20 titles with 3D capability were set up at the exhibition, ranging from a peaceful game in which the user has to pet dogs to football matches and fighting games. Many lauded the picture quality. “The movie quality was good and images came out of the screen more than I expected,” said Genki Arakaki, 19, who was among the first group of people to see sample scenes for the Metal Gear fighting game.

Arakaki said he will buy the machine, which will sell for 25,000 yen ($300). “As games become more dynamic, I believe it’s worth making them 3D,” he said.

The hugely popular Nintendo DS has sold more than 130 million units worldwide and its new 3D version has drawn keen interest from media and gamers.

The 3DS will go up against Sony’s PlayStation Move system, which enables users wearing special glasses to play 3D games using wand-shaped motion controllers. – Bangkok post