Forget mirrors. Looking at your own face in boring old 2D is so last decade. What if you could see yourself the way others see you? What if you could capture multi-dimensional images of the world around you? What if you could make 3D porn?
Nintendo was keen to answer all those questions, except the last one, at its 3DS showcase in Amsterdam last month. As you'll know if you followed our coverage, there were plenty of games to play on the show floor, which helped cheer everyone up after the press conference about Shaun the Sheep.
There was also a special area where visitors were invited to try out the 3DS's camera functions. There are no less than three lenses on Nintendo's new handheld - one on the inside, between the top and bottom screens, and two on the outside.
The inner camera is just like the one featured on the current DS. It lets you take self-portraits in ye olde 2D and that's about it. Still, nice to have and all that, for the old folks.
The two outer lenses enable the 3DS, as Nintendo puts it, to "see the world in 3D, much like the human eye". They also allow you to capture 3D images. It's not yet clear how you'll be able to share these. Seems logical you might be able to transfer them between 3DS units using the StreetPass function, though.
Taking photos with the 3DS is as easy as snapping away with the old DS - you just point and click. Disappointingly, the quality of the resulting images also seems to be the same.
The pictures I took in Amsterdam were a bit grainy and not too crisp, despite being produced in the brightly lit controlled conditions of the 3DS Photo Booth. At least the 3D effect worked well. There were clearly layers of depth within my snaps and they definitely drew the eye in more than a normal digital photo.
I wasn't able to do much artistic experimentation as the unit I was using was attached to a Nintendo representative, and I was unable to photograph anything other than the show floor. However, I can confirm 3DS is ideal for taking 3D pictures of men in suits in charge of entertainment software purchasing for Asda.
Luckily, given the subject matter, 3DS allows you to jazz up your photos with some neat effects. These include funky frames and daft objects you can superimpose on your subjects' faces. You can also blow into the microphone to make virtual bubbles, stars and confetti whirl around the image, a feature which will delight small children and easily pleased grown women.
Along with those fancy cameras, the 3DS comes complete with a new bit of software titled Mii Maker. According to the theory, now there's no need to spend hours fiddling about to create your perfect avatar - just take a snap of yourself and the Mii Maker will use the photographic image to automatically generate a Mii which looks just like you.
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