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Nintendo 3DS: Futuristic Handheld, Retro Battery

Augmented Reality: AR Cards and Face Raiders

One of the marquee features of the 3DS is its use of Augmented Reality (AR) in gameplay. There are two AR games that ship installed on the 3DS: AR Cards and Face Raiders.

Face Raiders is a pretty simple shoot ‘em up game with one fairly large AR twist. You start by taking photos of your face, as well as your friends and coworkers. Those faces are then grafted onto small, helicopter-powered spheres that you need to destroy (or in some cases, rescue). Using the cameras on the back of the 3DS, the level is…well whatever room you happen to be playing in. The spheres can break through the walls of the level, which exposes a black space of sorts (it’s all very Langoliers-ish). The level is 360-degrees, meaning you actually have to turn yourself and the 3DS around to see what’s behind you (thanks to the accelerometer and the gyroscope). Face Raiders is only six levels, but for a free game that (in a very odd manner) involves your friends, it’s both creative and fun.

AR Cards work in the same way – using your own environment as the level. Nintendo includes a pack of AR Cards with every 3DS, and these cards serve as the foundation for the level. You simply aim your 3DS cameras at the card, and after a few seconds of calibration, the game begins. The first card we used, which had a picture of a Mario Bros. Question Block on it, turned out to be an archery game. Moving around the desk where the card was placed, we had to hit different archery targets to complete each level, with the boss being a giant dragon with targets all over his body. There are six cards in all, each with its own kind of game, and we’re positive Nintendo will start selling new packs of cards as time goes on.

  • Ok
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  • tapher
    I am Yoshi's Great Partner!
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  • MULTITAKSING!
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  • septembrium
    Anyone know what the specs are on the QR Code reader features of the Nintendo 3DS? It's pretty hard to find information about it. Can't wait to get my hand on it by the way!
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  • dconnors
    septembriumAnyone know what the specs are on the QR Code reader features of the Nintendo 3DS? It's pretty hard to find information about it. Can't wait to get my hand on it by the way!
    Are you looking for something specific? To read QR codes you use the camera on the back of the 3DS, but beyond that Nintendo has been pretty tight-lipped on things.

    -Devin
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  • shqtth
    Not an untested technology. Most of the samsung LCD displsys had this 3d technology at the Vancouver 2010 (winder olympics).

    I seen it when I visited the Ontario Pavilion. It was quite cool. And it works !
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  • Nexus52085
    Nice review. Thanks, Toms. I really don't think I'll be able to get one on day one, even though I'd really like to. That being said, I played this thing at the demo station in Grand Central, and it is a whole lot of fun.
    Reply
  • arlandi
    Speaking as a father of 2 girls:
    The short battery life issue may be a good thing for children playing this gadget. since sometimes they can be glued to their games for a very long time. short battery life will force them to take a break and do other things (like study, do their homework, etc).
    Speaking as a gamer:
    i hope this thing will autosave whenever battery power is drained...
    Reply
  • dconnors
    arlandiSpeaking as a father of 2 girls:The short battery life issue may be a good thing for children playing this gadget. since sometimes they can be glued to their games for a very long time. short battery life will force them to take a break and do other things (like study, do their homework, etc).Speaking as a gamer:i hope this thing will autosave whenever battery power is drained...
    Auto-saving is usually a game-side feature. There are two battery indicator lights that flash red once the battery is close to drained, so you should get plenty of warning so you can plug the 3DS in.

    -Devin
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  • I was really impress with this write up. My oldest was starting to get all starry-eyed about this. But I think that we can wait for the next generation and see if the battery life improves. Here in Southern Cali... 2.5 hours is a typical car ride (stoopid traffic)... and the DS lite can easily get us there and back.

    Thanks for the article!
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