Watching anything in 3D sans glasses sounds convenient, but also unnatural. To me anyways.

I heard about the 3DS incorporating this technology. However, just the thought of having such a visual concoction beamed directly into my eyeballs would make me feel queasy. We’re just not supposed to be able to see stuff that way. Right?

Today I spent about a minute holding Nintendo’s 3DS. It’s safe to say I’ve now seen the three dimensional light, and it didn’t even hurt my eyes.

Since everyone in the audience for Nintendo’s massive press conference got to have their turn with the 3DS, my time was brief. The non-interactive demo ran through a number of short animation sequences featuring Nintendo royalty. Mario rode around on Yoshi, some Pikmin played in a garden, Samus strutted her stuff and Link swung his sword right at me. During each sequence, I was able to manipulate the camera around these characters. This was done using the 3DS’ new analog stick, which controls smoothly.

It’s quite hard to describe the experience of watching a 3D video game without wearing any glasses. It’s so hard, Nintendo brought out enough 3DS units to let hundreds of people immediately try it for themselves. All just minutes after the device was revealed.

All I can say is that it works. The images on the DS have incredible depth and pop right off the screen. In order to properly see the images in 3D, one has to hold it directly in front of them. Looking from the side won’t do, so fellow passengers on your bus will only get a menial view from their shoulder surfer’s perspective.

What doesn’t matter is how far your are from the screen. Even when holding it with my arms fully outstretched, Mario’s plump face maintained it’s adorable dimensions. The quality of the graphics would be just as impressive in 2D. Everything is so bright and sharp that it might be able to pass for a Wii game.

There’s no strain on the eyes or need to squint while using the 3DS, at least in the short amount of time I had with it. The feeling was completely natural, like reading a charming pop-up book. Unlike that form of children’s literature, people of all ages will likely want to give the 3DS a try.

Well done Nintendo. Now just deliver on the gameplay.

By Mark Melnychuk – 06/15/10

Screenshots for Touching The 3DS Future