Nintendo 3DS: $249, March 27th

Nintendo was very eager at a special media event today to convince consumers that the 3DS handheld gaming system is more than a one trick pony. “3D gaming without the glasses” is certainly the headline talking point, but there’s a lot more under the hood of this thing than just the fancy screen.

First up, the big news: The Nintendo 3DS drops on March 27th in North America, for a lower-than-expected price of $249.99. It arrives a couple days early in Europe, on the 25th, for £229 in the U.K. and €249 everywhere else. More than 30 titles are expected between the launch date and E3 in June, and the hardware comes in two pretentiously-named colors: “Aqua Blue” and “Cosmo Black.”

Inside, the 3DS has a motion sensor and an accelerometer, which is said to allow for Wii and iPad-style gameplay. There’s also a healthy array of built-in software, including a Mii Maker that works with the front-facing camera, an activity tracker, a built-in pedometer, “AR Games” for augmented reality fun, “Face Raiders” which lets you shoot things with your Mii face (meheh?), a Web browser, video player, and audio software. The already-announced 3D outward-facing camera was heavily hyped as a potential draw to the system for non-gamers.

The pedometer is a nice touch, you have to admit, as well as the motion sensor and accelerometer. I also like that the 3DS’ Home button is no longer for quitting your game. Nintendo has taken a page from the iPhone and other smartphones, turning the Home button into a pause button, even allow you to multitask while your game remains paused.

Another welcome change: each 3DS uses just one friend code, which only has to be registered once. No more of the blasted things for every single game! Nintendo also says that GameBoy and GameBoy Color “greatest hits” titles will be available as downloadables sometime after launch, along with 3DSWare download-specific games. You can also expect plenty of 3D game demos and videos.

The announced launch titles include:

  • PilotWings Resort: fly a plane over a very familiar island — the one from Wii Fit and Wii Sports Resort
  • Nintendogs + Cats: uses the front-facing camera for facial recognition, so your pet will know you when you call. If a stranger tries to play with your pet, he or she may bark at them in fear!
  • Steel Diver
  • The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time
  • Kid Icarus: Uprising
  • Dead or Alive: Dimensions
  • Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D
  • Madden NFL Football
  • Street Fighter IV 3D
  • Asphalt 3D
  • Combat of Giants: Dinosaurs 3D
  • Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D
  • Ridge Racer 3D
  • LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars

More titles in the works — any of which could wind up as launch window titles — can be glimpsed in this first “3DS Games Trailer” that was shown at today’s media event.

What do you think? Does the $249 price point make you more likely to plunk down for a 3DS of your own?

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Robin Parrish

Unathletic, uncoordinated tall man with endless creativity stampeding through his overactive brain. Comes with beard, wife, and two miniature humans. Novelist. General blogger and main Gaming Geek for ForeverGeek. Lead Blogger, Apple Gazette.

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