When you think of Nintendo and 3D the first products that pop into your head would most likely be the 3DS and the Virtual Boy – but according to the latest Iwata Asks, Nintendo has been stubbornly experimenting with 3D technology since the failure of the Virtual Boy – even implementing 3D compatible circuitry in the GameCube.
“Even though the company must have fully realized the difficulty involved in 3D products,” claims Iwata, “Nintendo kept trying again and again. Even before the Nintendo 3DS system.
“Making three-dimensional images that can be seen by the naked eye requires a special liquid crystal,” he continues, “so we tested it out by putting it in the Game Boy Advance SP. But the resolution of LCD was low then, so it didn’t look that great and it never made it to being a product.
“In order to make images look three-dimensional without special glasses, you display the images for the left and right eyes separately, and deliver each one separately. To do that you need high resolution and high-precision technology. We didn’t have that to a sufficient degree back then, so the stereoscopic effect wasn’t very sharp.”
As the conversation continues, Iwata also reveals that similar experiments occurred with the GameCube.
“To go back a little further,” he claims, “the Nintendo GameCube system actually had 3D-compatible circuitry built in… If you fit it with a certain accessory, it could display 3D images… Nintendo GameCube was released in 2001, exactly ten years ago. We’d been thinking about 3D for a long time even back then.”
Depending on your perspective, this shows either the tenacity or the stubborness of Nintendo as a company – to continue experimenting with 3D despite the failure of the Virtual Boy. This tenacity, it seems, was apparently inspired by former Nintendo head-honcho Hiroshi Yamauchi, and his desire to see something “jump out” of the screen.
“He liked it when things jump out,” claimed Miyamoto.
Well, Yamouchi-san, it’s taken a while, but it looks like your dream has come true!