# Nintendo 3DS: Impressions from OFH's autostereo engineer

Published on by Optics for Hire.

Hello,

I just returned from the neighborhood Best Buy, where I finally tried the Nintendo 3DS. I simultaneously feel like the first kid on the block and the last kid on the block, seeing as how it’s only now available in the US, and my field-of-interest has long been stereoscopy.

### Environmental and Retail Conditions

• 3DS tethered to a strong, heavy pullchain that let me get about 10” (25 cm) away

• The 3DS’s point-of-sale setup included: a large flatscreen display, presumably for a promotional video but today as on previous visits was black except for some error messages bouncing around, several 3DS systems still in inventory available for purchase, and one pre-loaded game on the demo 3DS

• Pilotwings Resort 3DS

• About 5-10 minutes of playing, ahead of other people who wanted a turn, and getting tired yanking on the security pull-chain

### Impressions

• Not only does the 3D look good, the gameplay and system design are up to Nintendo’s usual excellent standards. I found myself competing between a desire to just enjoy the game, and “be scientific” about analyzing the imagery

• The 3D slider adjusts stereo disparity. Muting 3D makes disparity = 0.

• I found the 3D very compelling for the flight simulator. I perceived about 1 inch of depth beyond the display, and maybe 0.5 inch in front. The game relied primarily on positive horizontal disparity (“far” depth), and this looked, for lack of a more expressive word, really great.

• I continue to agree that handheld applications of 2-view autostereo (like the 3DS) are best, for now, because you automatically orient the screen properly.

• The 3D effect added realism, excitement, and playability to the flight simulator game - these were diminished greatly in 2D mode.

• Aside from 3D, the Nintendo 3DS has a range of improvements over prior DS systems: the screen is brighter, there is an analog controller, there are multiple cameras, internal sensors, etc.

• The US$250 price is steep for me. This is on par with advanced systems like the PS3 or XBOX. At US$150 it would be more of a no-brainer.