The 3DS Is 4D? 5D? Bwah?

When the Nintendo 3DS was first introduced, there was a trailer showing Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto shaking a dog’s paw that popped out of the 3DS, and Nintendo of America honcho Reggie Fils-Aime getting his faced burned off. Easy to understand!

Since then, Nintendo’s enlisted the likes of popular boy band Arashi to make o-faces while playing the 3DS. Not so easy to understand.

Even harder to understand are the latest Japanese television ads in which the boy band members are asked to explain the 3DS’s glasses-free 3D effect. There are demo set-ups in Japanese retailers and public places (pictured), which helps convey the 3DS’s appeal. But not everyone has access to them. And since Nintendo cannot show the effect on regular television, it’s relying on less than eloquent descriptions from famous people.

“Here, on here, here real things are happening,” says Arashi leader Satoshi Ohno in one ad. “No good?” he asks, as the announcer asks for a more concrete explanation. Another member Masaki Aiba says that it’s less 3D and more 4D or 5D, before pausing and asking, “What’s 4D?” Another member, Jun Matsumoto, points out that the 3DS has two cameras and that it’s probably possible to take 3D pictures. He adds that the 3DS is moving beyond a game machine.

The members of Arashi are generally amusing, and in these ads, they are being amusing. But compared to the straightforward simplicity of the original Nintendo DS and Wii advertisements, the 3DS seems a bit more convoluted. Real things are happening? It’s 4D or 5D? It’s moving away from being a game machine? Huh? Just tell people it’s 3D, you don’t need glasses, and the handheld will have Mario on it.

The Nintendo 3DS will go on sale in Japan later this month. It will sell bajillions.

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