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Long read: The beauty and drama of video games and their clouds

"It's a little bit hard to work out without knowing the altitude of that dragon..."

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Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition

Vintage port?

The presentation by a charmingly exuberant Yoshinori Ono was the highlight of Nintendo's 3DS conference in Amsterdam last week, an event which was otherwise often dreary and overlong. And, despite a warehouse-load of competition, the Street Fighter producer's game was arguably the highlight of the entire event.

Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition makes a terrific first impression in three key ways: it retains the look and feel of the original commendably well; the 3D effect, while fundamentally superficial, adds a sense of immersion unique to the series; and its subtleties are handled with ease in a convincing demonstration of the system's excellent analogue control nub.

With 3DS pricing coming as a Spinning Bird Kick in the teeth to many, gamers will quite rightly expect an awful lot of bang for their buck at a John McEnroe-shouting-are-you-being-serious 40 quid a pop.

Happily, Capcom has clearly seized the opportunity of 3DS with the enthusiasm Ono displayed on stage, and is offering up what promises to be a pleasingly faithful translation of the masterful fighter.

What you get on 3DS is pretty much what you get on home console: 35 playable characters, all the costumes and stages, the cinematics and online play options. Plus there are enough format-specific tweaks and additions to show Capcom has treated this version with care and respect.

In Lite mode the lower screen features four customisable sections - delivering combos with a single touch.

3D will be a gimmick rather than a game-changer in many titles for the system, but it's a stunningly impressive one deployed artfully here - whether you're in-game or just navigating through menus.

Nintendo's new handheld is obviously a bit weedy next to beefcakes like PS3, 360 and, indeed, an SF arcade cabinet, so aesthetic sacrifices were inevitable. Backgrounds are static and while that effectively makes them cardboard cutouts, they're very pretty ones. The beautiful art style makes each stage a visual treat enhanced by the enticing depth of 3D.

As anyone who's seen a few stereoscopic 3D movies will attest, there's good 3D (Pixar's subtle use of it is particularly lovely) and then there's Clash of the Titans.

Clearly developers using the visual effect as an aesthetic rather than gameplay tool will be similarly artful/shamelessly ghastly. Fortunately, Super Street Fighter IV falls into the former camp as it sleekly sucks you into the action.

It looks knockout on the small screen with the glasses-free wow factor that's only possible on Nintendo's handheld right now. The only niggle I had with it was that during particularly furious play the console can shake and wobble in your hands as you smash out combos.