The Home Screen
Nintendo’s DSi expanded the dashboard from the original DS, and now the 3DS has taken it a step further. Things are a bit odd though at this stage of the game because things like web browsing and an online store are disabled. The icons are present - but clicking on them merely says - “This item will be added via a software update.” Something tells me Nintendo got ahead of themselves.
Along with these things you’ll find some new tools at your disposal - a 3D camera tool, some Augmented Reality Games, a Sound Player, a Mii Hub, Street Pass and a more.
3D Camera - While the quality of the pictures aren’t that great, the ability to take 3D pictures and share them with your friends is really slick. Nintendo was smart and used a standard 3D file format that’s not only viewable on any 3DS, but viewable on a PC with the right hardware as well. Just don’t mess with the file names.
AR Games - There’s actually two sets of AR games available, ones that require cards and one that uses pictures of you and your friend’s faces. The former is really impressive, creating a virtual environment wherever you place the cards to enjoy some mini games.
Sound Player - You can load up your SD card with MP3s or record your own sounds and mess around with them with some gimmicky tools. Its a good way to show off the speakers of the system though.
Mii Plaza - This is where you’ll create your avatar, see your friend’s avatars that are shared, or any avatars you gathered through Street Pass.
Street Pass - By walking around with your 3DS in your bag or pocket the system can contact other 3DS systems and exchange info. This can be your Mii, or info about any game that you registered with Street Pass. Its hard to say how developers are going to utilize this - so far its basically for item exchange or mock battles between characters, but the potential is there to be something really unique.
Tied to this functionality is a set of mini-games based on credits you earn from Street Pass, Walking with the system, and playing games. There's a mini-RPG of sorts where you have to rescue a king - in it you can bring other characters you've met via Street Pass, or purchase henchman with coins from other activities.
It's strange, but I found myself bringing the 3DS to social events and stores just to see if I'd pass another user. While I've only managed to "pass" one person so far, I can't wait to see the green light glow at conventions later this year.
Friends List: Your friend code is now universal and you now have a friends list that lets you see other people when they are online. There's no way to chat or send messages, but its still a step in the right direction.
Enough with the mini-games - lets talk about the real games.