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More Than Meets The Eye: The Built-In Features of the Nintendo 3DS

by: Benjamin Sell ; edited by: Michael Hartman ; updated: 5/25/2012 • Leave a comment

Sure, everyone knows about the stunning 3D graphics offered by the 3DS, but there are also a host of amazing built-in features. Check out full details on the system's ability to augment reality, take 3D pictures, communicate with other systems, create Miis, and more.

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    Nintendo 3DS   The Nintendo 3DS is so much more than a handheld console that plays games that come on cartridges. Did you know that the system can take 3D pictures, play music, browse the internet, and augment reality? It’s true, there are so many awesome built-in features that you could literally spend hours enjoying yourself with the 3DS without purchasing a single game.

    I didn’t realize just how many cool things the 3DS could do until I actually purchased one for myself. It’s true that Nintendo has spent some time promoting all the features of the system, but these additions seems to get lost as people find themselves mesmerized by the system’s glasses-free 3D graphics.

    If you’re on the fence about whether or not to buy one of these little wonders, or if you just want to learn more about everything the system has to offer, our quick guide to all the built-in features of the Nintendo 3DS is for you.

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    3D Camera

    You can use the 3DS camera to take 3D pictures and save them to the included SD card. Sure, you can only view them on the 3DS, but how cool is it to actually be able to store and view images in 3D?

    The camera has several built-in features, as well. You can add stamps and draw on your 3D images, or you can use the merge lens to combine the faces of two people, similar to the classic Conan O’Brian bit, “If They Mated."

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    Mii Maker

    mii maker   Borrowing a page from its older sibling, the Nintendo Wii, the 3DS features a Mii Maker. You can use this software to create avatars of yourself, your friends, celebrities, or whomever you wish and they will appear in certain 3DS games.

    The handheld version of the Mii Maker has increased customization options. If you’re not great at creating Miis, you can also take a photo of whomever you’d like to convert into Mii form and the system will create one for you.

    You can transfer Miis from your Nintendo Wii. You can also convert Miis into QR codes that can be scanned by the 3DS, instantly adding that Mii to your collection. Several websites have already popped up where you can download Mii versions of your favorite characters and celebrities.

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    Streetpass

    streetpass   Streetpass enables you to passively share information with other Nintendo 3DS users you come across in the real world. By keeping your 3DS with you in sleep mode, you can send and receive Miis with others who have activated Streetpass.

    You can also send information from certain games, like Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition. Simply set up Streetpass inside the game and you can automatically battle anyone you come across who also owns a copy of the game.

    Chances are you won’t run across a ton of people who are randomly carrying their 3DS with them in daily life, but what a great feature to enable if you’re attending a gaming convention or any other event where gamers gather.

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    Augmented Reality Games

    ar games   Your 3DS system will come with a set of AR Cards which, when viewed through the lens of the 3DS, create a virtual gaming experience wherever you are. 3D images will appear on top of the cards, and you can interact with them through your 3DS. You can play a shooting game on your kitchen table, for example.

    Certain games also allow you to scan cards or codes and view 3D images. Print out the QR codes from Pokedex 3D, for example, and you can place your favorite pokemon anywhere you like. You can take pictures of these virtual characters, interact with them, and more.

    Face Raiders is another game that is built right into your system. To play, you take a picture of a face (yours or somebody else’s) and that face is transformed into the villain of a shooting game, complete with sound effects and facial expressions. The game takes place all around you, and you’ll have to turn and look up and down to find the attackers coming from all sides, all while the room you’re actually in forms the background.

    AR games are a little hard to explain, they really need to be experienced to be appreciated.

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    Nintendo eShop and Internet Browser

    3DS Eshop   Once you’ve connected your 3DS to the Internet, you open up a plethora of new possibilities. Like the DSi and Nintendo Wii before it, the 3DS features a built-in shop where you can purchase and download games directly to your system. These downloadable titles are slim at present, but Nintendo has plans to expand their offerings on an almost-weekly basis.

    Your 3DS also features a fully-functional web browser. Use it to check email, news, or anything you normally view on the Internet anytime you’re connected to a wireless network or hotspot.

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    Music Player, Spotpass, and More

    These are just a portion of the 3DS’ built-in features. You also have access to:

    • A fully-functional digital music player.
    • Spotpass, which enables you to receive data and messages from Nintendo while your system is in sleep mode.
    • 3D Video capability: you can download and play 3D movie trailers and more, right on your system.
    • Activity Log: keeps an in-depth log of everything you do with your system, from most frequently-played game to total time spent on the system.
    • Built in Pedometer: You can automatically keep track of how many steps you take while carrying your 3DS in sleep mode. These steps are used to earn Play Coins which can be used in various games in the system’s Mii Plaza.

    All of these features are available to Nintendo 3DS owners right out of the box. All of them are built right into the system, and can be played before you purchase even a single game. With the 3DS, it’s clear Nintendo wanted to stuff in as much value as possible for the purchase price.

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    References

    All References from author's own experience and Nintendo.com

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