So the concept of 3D tech has never been an easy one to negotiate for home markets. At the theater, it's easy—put on your glasses and just enjoy the show. But, given the examples above (and even with today's fairly cost-prohibitive technology available for public consumption), 3D has never made the transition home very well. The question about 3D, then, still remains: is it worth it?
Even the 3DS has its problems—I suspect its 3D screen uses a similar image overlay system in which your eyes are viewing to slightly different images (which would make sense, given the way that "turning up" the 3D effect with the system's slider seems to push the image layers further apart, giving the effect of more "depth"). The result is that often times during play it's inevitable that you'll nudge or turn the system slightly off in your hands, forcing your eyes to quickly re-adjust, or momentarily screwing up the focus on the depth perception.
Still, the effects 3D gaming allows for can be interesting. Aside from the aforementioned hyper-depth perception, it can be fun to watch something explode off the screen towards you (Resident Evil 5's blood splatters on a 3D-capable PC are a good example), even if it doesn't add anything to the gameplay. After all these years, though, 3D is largely still a gimmick. Not to mention something of a misnomer—we've been playing games in the "third dimension" since the early '90s, at least at home. The difference, if there is one, is that given its novelty as a different visual paradigm, it seems to be a new (and therefore exciting) way to play around with that third dimension, whether out of a yearning for greater realism (unlikely), a subconscious yearning for the conceptual "true" virtual reality, or the path down which both of these ideas go: a deeper immersive experience.
While I personally refuse to throw any financial support towards any type of 3D that requires headgear, the 3DS is an interesting machine, even with its demands for exact balance on the part of the player (an odd choice for a handheld, but still). However, it's still up to the developers to make use of the new technology—Steel Diver actually has an underused but neat 3D torpedo dodging mechanic, for example—if 3D is ever going to make the successful leap from gimmick to legitimacy. As for 3D's future, it seems unlikely that that leap will have any hugely important impact. Nintendo has already said it's unlikely that their next home console will be in 3D, and until glasses-free 3D televisions actually exist in any kind of working order, the road to relevant immersion is probably still a long way off.
CCC Freelance Writer
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*