Nintendo's 3DS is a case of déjà vu, déjà entendu

Nintendo had 15 years to perfect glasses-free 3D with the release of its 3DS.

15 years to get the marketing right, get the technology right, get the range of launch titles right, and to, crucially, stop giving people migraines. Users of the 3DS are still getting migraines, just like they did with the Virtual Boy – Nintendo’s doomed first foray into handheld 3D console gaming.

Granted, the 3DS is a giant leap from 1995’s Virtual Boy. For a start, the 3DS is quite nice to look at, as long as you can hold the puke down, compared to the awful visuals of the mid nineties 3D effort.

But there is certainly a feeling that Nintendo hasn’t learned from its past mistakes. Similarly, in the mid nineties, Nintendo put the Virtual Boy on a hype machine that originally crashed and burned, because no one was buying it – and those who were got dizzy and nauseous. It does sound familiar.

Nintendo’s boss Satoru Iwata apologised to existing 3DS users who shelled out on the console before the drastic price drop.  “Never before has Nintendo chosen to issue such a dramatic price drop less than six months after a system release,” Iwata said. There were price drops with the Virtual Boy before it was discontinued, thanks to abysmal sales.

The problem with 3D is there’s no ethical way to test how kids are going to react to the technology.

Putting it out for market testing and ending the session with a room full of sick children won’t go down very well with parents. Nintendo fanboys suggesting TechEye or any other publication is part of a media ploy to discredit the system should read testimony from children themselves.

There are quotes from the BBC’s children’s news channel, Newsround’s website. Roberta, 12, says: “I didn’t but my friend said she felt dizzy and couldn’t see properly,” while Tahina, 10, says: “If you play for too long you WILL get a headache.” Ama, 7, says: “I do not like it, it makes you dizzy! But it does wear off.” 

Like a tame Russian roulette with Street Fighter and headaches.

It’s a pity, because advocates of the console will agree developers are implementing 3D in an innovative way. Ocarina of Time has had rave reviews for those who can actually enjoy the 3D.

Unfortunately, it looks like history is repeating itself – but we’d be happy to see Nintendo do it right and prove us wrong. Meanwhile we eagerly await Atari’s Jaguar II.