The “Nintendo 3DS,” as it is currently named, will provide 3D graphics without the need for glasses, as stated in a Tuesday press release by Nintendo. The new 3DS will also be compatible with all existing Nintendo DS and DSi titles.
Nintendo declined to state more in the press release, saying that more details will become available in June at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles. There are no definite answers about the nature of the 3D display, with Japanese magazine Asahi suggesting that the 3DS will use a parallax barrier LCD from Sharp. Others speculate that it will use face tracking technology, which shifts the perspective of the game’s view according to the position of a player’s face, guaged by a front-facing video camera.
This is not Nintendo’s first foray into the realm of 3D gaming. Nintendo released the Virtual Boy in the USA on August 14, 1995. The system was never warmly received, and with continued price drops failing to revive sales, it was discontinued the following year. The Virtual Boy used two 1 x 224 linear arrays of red LEDs with rapidly oscillating mirrors employed to scan the image across each eye, creating the illusion of a full field of pixels. With two arrays and two mirrors, the images could be varied for a 3D view.
I currently own a Virtual Boy. It has a hallowed place at the bottom of my closet. Thankfully, I did not purchase at the full retail price of $180. I bought it on eBay several years ago for about $30. There are some very fun games for the system, including Red Alarm, but it never caught on enough for developers to pay attention to the system.
The DS remains a top seller, beating the Xbox 360, Wii, and PlayStation 3 for total hardware sales in February at 613,200 units.
Aaron is a Staff Writer Intern for [url not allowed] and an avid gamer. He graduated from the University of California Irvine in 2009 and has been playing games and writing about them since.