Thursday, March 17, 2011

3DS and Pilotwings Resort Hands-On Impressions!

The Nintendo 3DS is less than 2 weeks away from release here in America, and the excitement is palpable. Nintendo is on the PR war path, hiring a security escort in a black SUV to deliver a 3DS unit to Kevin Cassidy of GoNintendo, then strapping 3DS's to a bunch of female models in matching white pantsuits and having them strut into the Gametrailers offices and present the nearest white male with a 3DS. These are just two of probably HUNDREDS of outlets getting their review systems.

Every one of these hundreds of gaming outlets has also done an "Unboxing" video. Now, don't get me wrong... There is nothing inherently wrong with "unboxing" videos. The problem is, though, that the contents of GoNintendo's 3DS box WILL DIFFER IN NO WAY from the contents of Gametrailers 3DS box, so if you've seen one "unboxing" you've seen them all.

That's where your good friend BitNick comes to the rescue! Rather than watching YET ANOTHER person unpack their 3DS and talk about how they're going to play games on it later, I wanted to give you some actual footage of the system in action!

This would require some ingenuity, I knew. I am, by no measure, popular enough to receive a 3DS demo unit of my very own, but armed only with my intrepid spirit, and directions from the bespectacled guy at the entrance of the Best Buy, I have tracked down a 3DS, played with it, and taken video evidence of my exploits!
Our first video is a quick walkthrough of the menus and features on Pilotwings Resort, the game in the demo unit:


"Hey guys! This is Nick with 'The 8-Bit Variety Show' giving you a quick look at the menus in the Pilotwings Resort demo version."
"You choose a guest... Choose your mode - Mission Flight, Free Flight, Options... Your MEMBER CARD! Whichoosiatswitcha (exact transcription.. Even I don't know what I said there), I'm wondering exactly what that means." 
"Oh! It's like a little card that tells all the stuff that you've done. That's pretty cool. OK! We'll back out of "Member Card" there..." 
"Options! Let's see what options are available... We have music, effects, setting, etcetera..."
*I touch settings* "The touch screen is actually pretty good. I was worried about that from some of the pictures (I meant videos) I've seen where people were just poking at it and never getting anything done."
"OK. Change your flight controls... Let's choose "Free Flight." Planes, Rocket Belts, Hang Gliders... Pretty cool!" Well, that's your basic idea of what it looks like. You can set up times and everything like that... Hope you've enjoyed that!" 
"This is Nick with 'The 8-Bit Variety Show'! See you guys soon!"

First, allow me to apologize for the camera work. I wasn't expecting to find a 3DS demo unit when I did, so these videos are taken with my phone. That doesn't account for the shaky-cam, but I'm pretending it does to feel better about it.

Second, I like the "Member Card" idea... Perhaps it will be used in some Streetpass functionality?

As you can see, the user interface is clean, and responsive. I didn't expect anything less than that from Nintendo, but it's nice to have my faith rewarded. Also, try as I might, I couldn't access anything other than the Pilotwings Resort menu system. The "Home" button was deactivated to keep people like me from poking our noses where they don't belong.

Also, one of the areas I was most worried about, the "Circle Pad", felt quite responsive and intuitive. To find this out for myself was a huge relief.


" It looks like these are the controls for the airplane... Tips! Try to follow the orange guide balls..." (I know the screen says dots... I don't know why I said guide balls in the video.) 
"Fly through a trigger ring to..." *incomprehensible mumbling to convince you I'm reading the tips*
"OK! Doable... Doable. By the way, the 3D does look fantastic. They really... Well, I'm astonished." 
"Let's give this a quick whirl!" 
"Sorry, I'm just doing this with one hand, so... it's a little more difficult. It really does control really well. With me doing this with one hand, as you can see, I'm switching between buttons, giving myself throttle and whatnot." 
"Check out a hard bank! Alright, let's crash. I'm going to crash into.... that mountain right there. Get aimed at it, and... HIT THE GAS!" *'Sproing' sound as my Mii ejects from his plane, narrowly escaping what must have been one of the most harrowing experiences of his life. 
Me: "Heh heh heh ha ha! Well, that was pretty fantastic. Hope you guys have enjoyed taking a quick look at the Nintendo 3DS, and Pilotwings as well! This is Nick for The 8-Bit Variety Show!"

Having watched this video after the fact, one major item sticks out to me: Why, when set loose upon the wild blue yonder... when the manacles of gravity no longer burdened me... when I could fly anywhere in the world, having finally broken into the domain where once only winged things held sway... Why was killing myself the first idea that occurred to me?

Well, my probable mental illness aside, I hope that you've enjoyed  this quick video walkthrough of the 3DS and Pilotwings Resort! Thanks for reading!

If you'd like to ask any questions, leave comments, or present tribute to my bravery, do so! I will reply/obtain your home address so I can send a signed photo in the comments!


EDIT: Here's a more polished Youtube version of the videos above. Thanks for watching!


  1. I've been by one of our area Best Buys, for the last 3 days...and no luck at all!

    I've even been toting my Zi8 with me, so I could possibly record footage like you, but no 3DS.

    Kind of a bummer about not being able to access the main menu of the system though, as I wanted to poke around on it, and see how the game-play data is shown, if it's just for one person, or regional like on the Wii's Nintendo Channel.

    Was the 3DS really a "WOW" factor for did it do anything really great for the game-play itself?

  2. @Coffee

    Yeah, I had called our local Best Buy last week to see if they had a demo unit out yet, and they told me it would come in sometime this week. We haappened to be driving past yesterday, and I asked the wife if I could drop in and see if they had it, and luckily they did!

    I was disappointed that you couldn't access the menu system from the demo unit, but I suppose there's an outside chance that the "Home" button on mine was (already) broken! Give it a try when your Best Buy gets theirs in, and let me know!

    Regard the "WOW" factor, I walked away pretty impressed. The graphics were great, and the 3D was especially helpful for gauging distance when I was playing the "Rocket Belt" game. In having to land on targets suspended in the sky, it was nice to not have to rely on guesswork like you do in 2D. Does that anwer your question?


  3. I called two of them, and the first girl had no idea what the 3DS was...and had to go ask, so I received an answer that was basically not informative.

    The second store I called, a guy answered and after I asked if they had the 3DS demo unit...he had to ask what it was again, and then said, "Well, if it's not releasing until later this month, that's when the demo unit will be up."

    I start to say, "Okay, thanks for your time..."

    "Oh, wait sir, we do have it on associate next to me just informed me we do have it on display."

    My son and I may be driving over there in a little while, before too many people mess with it. I prefer to play it before the buttons are, if not tonight, then probably tomorrow.

    Yea, that answered it as for Pilotwings, I'm just wondering if the 3D effects will soon wear thin, and people will just play the games in 2D...perhaps to save on battery life, or just because they don't see it as a big deal.

  4. I loved the second-to-last article. Another one of your biggest gaming sins...or mental illnesses?? Maybe that should be another feature on the variety show!
    Good work, darling! Worth every minute of our son screaming in the car. :)

  5. @BitNick:
    Oh SNAP! Getting called out and guilt tripped about the crying baby...all because of a VIDEO GAME SYSTEM...

    BUT, there's a very logical reason to have left your son in the car, and your wife may not even know it...the 3DS isn't recommended for young children, so you made the right call IMO.
    I know my son would be trying to look at the 3DS if he's in close proximity.

  6. @Coffee
    Ha ha ha! See? This is why I keep you around. It's obvious that it was important to the child's health to keep him away from the 3DS until I could ascertain the effect it would have on him.

    I was, in fact, only looking out for our child's best interest. :)

  7. I had the chance today to demo the 3DS today.

    I'm going back tomorrow, and hopefully I can spend more time with it, and won't be interrupted as I was today!

    Anywho, I'll be doing a write-up with my thoughts on it, probably tomorrow evening.

  8. @Coffee

    I'm looking forward to it! I'll be interested to see if your thoughts line up with my own...

  9. great read! im glad you and scott both got to try it out.

    my son and I are dying to try one of these babies out. everywhere i've called says they don't have a demo station yet :(.. i really hope it doesn't mess with either one of our eyes.. at least the 3d can be turned off and put under parental controls.

  10. best buy has one now! we are going tomorrow sometime to check it out! wooooooo!

  11. @My Little Gamer

    I was hoping you'd find one! When I went to the one at our local Best Buy, they had it hidden on the backside of an aisle (for reasons I cannot fully understand because it will be a HUGE product for them this year), and there was no line whatsoever.

    Let me know what you think, if you have time! I'll be interested to hear Daemion's thoughts as well!


  12. we will post our thoughts about it on our blog for sure!
    oh, and look who has been added to our "favorite sites" section on our blog :)

  13. @My Little Gamer

    Impressions will be up on your blog? Well, I'll keep a lookout for it!

    Also, thanks for adding us! It's really nice to know that people are reading and enjoying, and it's nice to know you have friends out there on the net who are... in the same line of work, so to speak :). I'm thinking of doing something similar soon, and rest-assured, when I figure out how I want to integrate it, My Little Gamer will be on there!

  14. Nice comments - this is one of those systems I really wanted to get, couldn't justify the price tag, so I'm taking a 'wait and see' approach to all of it. Since the DS seems to re-iterate every year or so anyway, who knows how long untli there's a 3dsiXL-something or other, but in the meantime I'm taking in peoples' impressions of the unit before I go laying down any money of my own. :)

  15. @ Chalgyr

    Yeah, the price was a difficult point for me as well. I haven't upgraded my DS harware since the Lite, so I felt that I personally could justify it this time because of the graphical and online upgrades, to say nothing of the 3D effect. That said, I have been saving since around Christmas to make sure I had the money :).

    I totally agree with your thoughts on new DS models, though... Nintendo's tendency to iterate has been as bad as Apple's with the Ipod, lately. :)

    Thanks for commenting, Chalgyr! Glad to have you at 8BitVS!


  16. I've been contemplating taking advantage of the Toys R Us sale again, and have been considering Pilotwings, Nintendogs, and/or Steel Diver. I've heard mixed about all of them, though.

    Honestly, I want Nintendogs because it has more AR Cards, and I'm becoming really interested in this feature. Have you unlocked more of the features with it? It's surprisingly deep, more than I would have imagined.


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