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I’ve never been shy about publicly embarrassing myself while playing video games. If you thought the Nintendo Wii was great for embarrassing yourself in front of your friends in your living room, the Nintendo 3DS will let you do that in public while on the go.
Emphasizing the silly side of the 3DS might actually be the right way to properly market the new handheld, which arrives on March 27. If Nintendo can show people how they will look silly playing this device, that might actually motivate a lot of people to give it a try while hamming it up with their friends.
There’s a lot of anticipation building for the March 27 launch of the Nintendo 3DS. The device lets you play stereoscopic 3D portable games and represents Nintendo’s big effort to keep sales of gaming devices going strong in the face of competition from smartphones and tablets. If it succeeds, then the hardcore video game industry will have something to cheer about, even as tons of free games take mindshare away from hardcore games.
We’ve played around with the device for a few days. I’ve already noted how eye strain is a big problem with this device. The stereoscopic 3D makes your eyes tired, and you really have to rest after a relatively short period of time. Nintendo recommends a 10-minute break every half hour and says kids under six shouldn’t play it at all.
Those are pretty big limitations. The battery life is also fairly weak and most likely shorter than the five hours that Nintendo says it can last. We can all overlook these limitations if the games are fun. In this video demo, we show a few of the possibilities. In the first part, I show you how to create a Mii, or cartoon character that serves as your avatar. In the second part, I do a demo of the Pilotwings Resort game that lets you fly around on Wuhu Island, which is familiar to players of the Wii Sports Resort and Wii Fit games.
As you can see from the third part of the video, Nintendo’s Face Raiders is where the embarrassment comes in. The Wii made us all make fun of ourselves in our living rooms with our friends. In a brilliant stroke of marketing, Nintendo’s ads showed how much fun people had with Wii games not by showing pictures of the game screen, but pictures of the people playing, as you can see in this photo.
Similarly, Face Raiders on the 3DS also lets you make a fool out of yourself by making you spin around and shoot balls at flying heads with your own face on them. Can you imagine doing this while riding on the bus or walking down the street?
Like the Wii, the 3DS can be social, particularly through multiplayer over a wireless connection.
Clearly I’ve made a fool out of myself in this video, but it gives you a good idea of the silly possibilities for fun with the 3DS.
Check out the video below.