Holding a 3DS and looking into its top screen didn't blow my mind. Instead, some pieces of the puzzles just clicked into place and I felt the same way I did when I first played the Nintendo DS. Of course this is the next logical step in portable game technology. What else would it be?
It's a natural. The moment you lay your eyes on it and see what 3D is like without wearing glasses or crossing your eyes you're all set. The first game I played was Nintendogs + Cats and having that depth really made it seem like there was an adorable puppy trapped in the DS. I actually felt kind of bad for it.
Kid Icarus wasn't playable, but I did get to see the video from the press conference in full 3D. As you might expect, it looks pretty damn good and was one of the few titles on display clearly pushing some serious graphics compared to most DS games.
I saw more tech demos than I could list here, but one of the simplest and most striking was a cat on a pogo stick. Something Satoru Iwata said at the conference had left me scratching my head: Would the 3D screen really make things like platform jumping easier? Playing this silly little game where you maneuver a cat on a pogo stick from one platform to another really showed this to be true. I could slide the 3DS into 2D mode and get by fine, but sliding back up to 3D really made judging those jumps easier. Thanks, cat on pogo stick.
I also played one demo where you could jump between various 8 bit Nintendo games like Metroid, Mario and Tennis, only they were converted for the 3D view. Surprisingly, it actually worked pretty well. Suddenly the blocks in Super Mario Bros stood out and had depth against the backdrop. The odds of Nintendo triple dipping on a ton of old games (now in 3D!) are high.
The unit itself is not radically different from a DSi. The inclusion of an analog nub is a big plus and the slider on the side of the DS that allows you to adjust how strong the 3D effect is really impressed me. Some of the demos made my eyes strain a bit because the effect was so extreme -- Harvest Moon being one of them. By sliding the 3D effect down a bit, I was able to maintain the 3D look without bothering my poor eyes.
Without a price or firm release date it's hard to speak to the value proposition here. 3D is not going to magically turn bad games into something worthwhile. What it does is gives the game you're playing some more bam. It's a little extra something that you can live without -- but why would you if you had the choice?