Getting back to the games, Nintendo has certainly lined up some appetising titles for its latest console. First-party classics like Zelda 3D, Nintendogs + Cats, Pilotwings Resort and MarioKart 3D will whet the appetites of fans, while PES 3D, Dead Or Alive Dimensions, Street Fighter IV 3D, Resident Evil Revelations, MGS Snake Eater 3D, Super Monkey Ball 3D, Rayman 3D, Splinter Cell 3D, Asphalt 3D (and the list goes on, though the names don't get more imaginative) ensures there's something for everyone.
Admittedly many are remakes of older titles from a wide variety of consoles, but being able to experience classics in 'real' 3D without needing an expensive 3DTV (and the relevant console to go with it) may be enough to make even veterans want to pick them up again.
Graphically, some of these titles are very impressive. On casual viewing, some of the more detailed games looked almost as good as their Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 counterparts, though closer inspection does reveal where corners have inevitably been cut. The low overall resolution also means it's hardly eye-popping stuff, 3D aside of course.
Far more than with films, games lend themselves perfectly to 3D viewing, and the 3DS' small screen should ensure the experience isn't as tiring as it can be in the cinema.
At the same time, we must admit that we have some reservations about a handheld console that you have to hold at a certain angle to get the most from, and while in many games the 3D consistently impressed, in some titles (including, unfortunately, Zelda), viewing angles became far narrower and there were signs of flicker. However, based on our more positive experience with the likes of DOA we're hoping this is a software-related issue which will be fixed by the time games are officially launched.
The 3D camera system also adds a great deal to the possibilities. Aside from the aforementioned 'enhanced reality' potential, you can use it for avatars in games (though Nintendo's application of the photo system in creating your Mii avatar is a bit too basic to be impressive). However, the most interesting example we found of its use in a game was in Nintendogs + Cats. Not only will your pet recognise your face and shy away from that of a stranger, but if you bring your face close enough to the console your puppy or kitten will come up to the screen and lick it. Charming!
It's not just games where the 3DS appeals though, as Nintendo has now added a proper internet browser, and a selection of preinstalled applications.
Though of course we'll have to reserve final judgement until the full review, based on our impressions so far we're optimistic. If the 3D issues in some titles can be fixed, battery life is reasonable and the European price stays at £220 (or lower – how about a direct US price conversion?), the 3DS may well be just as big as its predecessor. Sony had better hurry up with the PSP2…