Welcome to Objection! This is where we take the time to go on-depth on current gaming issues, and let you guys continue the discussion in the comments section. This week, with the 3DS fast approaching, we're discussing 3D gaming and the way in which it seems to be encroaching on our gaming experiences. Is this a positive or negative thing for gaming?
Joining us this week is Erin Marcon, Editor over at Black Panel and contributor to many an Australian rag.
MARK: So Erin - what's your take on 3D - is it something you enjoy? Is it something you want in your video games?
ERIN: If you'd asked me that question six months ago, the answer would have been a firm 'no'. The recent crop of 3D movies generally had me nursing a headache of Scanners proportions or at the very least massaging the bridge of my nose. The effect was often quite impressive, but the size of the screen, weight of the glasses and elongated running time combined to make me a non-believer. However, about six weeks ago I attended a 3DS preview event and my opinion began to... evolve.
MARK: My experience has been a little different. I enjoyed Avatar - because I'm not an elitist hipster movie critic - and I enjoyed the 3D. Shoe-horned 3D has wound me up on several occasions, but it never gave me headaches and the bridge of my nose remained unmassaged.
When I first heard news of the 3DS, however, I lost my mind. In my humble opinion the Nintendo DS is one of the best consoles ever conceived, with an incredible back catalogue of innovative, fun titles. The thought of repeating that experience in glasses-less 3D seemed, in my mind, an idea that could not - under any circumstances - be anything less than a spectacular success.
In real life, however, I was a tragic victim of my own hyperbole. I felt a little underwhelmed. This is absolutely no fault of the device itself - which functions exactly as advertised - it's just that, once you become accustomed to the 3D effect, it ceases to be interesting. None of the game mechanics depend on it - it's simply a visual addition - and that exists in stark comparison to the DS's touch screen which, when it was first released, genuinely transformed my gaming experience.
ERIN: Historically, Nintendo has been very good at demonstrating the scope and potential of a new feature. Mario 64 sold polygonal graphics to a generation of gamers. Wii Sports instantly demonstrated the potential of motion controls. As you've alluded to, however, we don't have a killer app for the 3DS, a game that convinces us that image depth can dramatically enhance the gameplay experience.
Still, I'm already sold on the 3DS. On the other hand, I'm far from convinced by the current crop of 3D televisions. I can tell you right now that I won't be playing Killzone 3 in 3D on a 50 inch screen. Nintendo has spoiled me and I'll be holding off until all televisions allow me to turf the glasses and easily alter the intensity of the 3D effect.
It's also worth considering whether the addition of 3D is meaningful enough to justify a halved frame rate. What do you think?
MARK: I think that most are waiting until the glasses are binned before completely succumbing to the charms of 3D - especially when it comes to home consoles. That's a given. I suspect that most who have bought a new TV rarely even use 3D as a result of lack of content, and the inconvenience of it.
As for the problem of performance when it comes to 3D, I think it's a real issue. Most of the games I've played in 3D adjust for the hardware suck by scaling down the resolution and that is a visual sacrifice I'm not ready to make. I was sold on my plasma with the promise of HD content and now I'm being asked to buy a new television and not enjoy the crisp images I've now come to expect from gaming. What is this foul merry-go-round! And how do I get off with my wallet intact?
ERIN: Agreed. They’re giving with one hand, taking with another and slapping us in the face with a mysterious third hand. Setting aside the issue of aesthetic preference for a moment, a lower frame rate also has the potential to effect online multiplayer games. I wouldn’t even consider playing in 3D unless my bitter rivals on the other side of the world agreed to do the same. I die often enough as a result of latency without ceding yet another advantage to the gamers of Uzbekistan. There’s also the fact that I boast the reflexes of a 93 year old coma patient, but that’s neither here nor there.
While the new 3D tech arrived in cinemas with a great deal of fanfare, I feel like 3D gaming has crept up on us a little. Avatar brought the concept to a vast audience and convinced many of its merits. We’re yet to see something comparable in the gaming space. Despite this, I get the feeling that 3D is slowly but surely becoming the standard. Is it just a matter of time?
What do you guys think? Are you still excited about the 3DS? Are you getting one? What has your experience of 3D been like so far? Let us know in the comments below.