News Article

3DS Gives Stereoblind Man a Window to the Third Dimension

Posted by Tim Latshaw

“I had never known it was possible for reality to look this way”

The technology that allows us to perceive depth on the 3DS top screen is easy to take for granted, or even to dismiss as a gimmick. But for George Kokoris, a senior designer at Rare Ltd., the handheld granted him his first taste of what most of us can view naturally every day.

Kokoris is stereoblind, unable to perceive depth. Both of his eyes function but he is slightly cross-eyed, leaving his lines of sight to diverge about a foot away from his face; as he puts it himself, "I have double vision all the time."

That distance, however, is just fine for holding a 3DS, and in a touching account, Kokoris describes the first time he slid the 3D slider up on Pilotwings Resort:

[T]here I was, holding this little chunk of plastic and silicon in my hands, tears streaming down my face because I had never known it was possible for reality to look this way—for things to look as solid as they feel. I couldn't look away. I got a 3DS of my own the next day, and later replaced it with an XL. I revisited Hyrule in Ocarina of Time 3D, stopping and staring at every piece of architecture. I still spend more time running aimlessly through Super Mario 3D Land's gorgeous environments than I do trying to beat the game.

Wouldn't anyone, if it were the only place where things had volume?

The team behind the design of the 3DS may never have considered their technology could have such a powerful effect, but you never know what a “gimmick” to some can truly mean to the right person.

Has a game or system ever brought a meaningful experience like this to you or someone you know? Feel free to share in the comments.


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User Comments (52)



NintyMan said:

Wow, good for him. The 3DS really is special and the 3D effect should be more appreciated.



Knuckles said:

Just like a sibling of mine. They said they can't watch 3D movies, but were able to play the pilotwings demo in full blast 3D, claiming to see it in 3D. Now I know it was the truth.



MeWario said:

I love the 3D effect and I don't think it gets enough praise. I'll be very sad if Nintendos next handheld doesn't have it.



RikuzeYre said:

I've messed with the 3D ocarina of time puzzle quite frequently and I have to say the 3D on it is beautiful (and really it just goes to show you that the 3D aspect isnt always required to be fiddly or something you have to hold still to see, it works just fine so long as its not too far away ( IE 3 feet from your face)

The stereoscopic 3D offers an unparallelled addition of depth, which is something Nintendo themselves have stated, its here to stay Wario



XFsWorld said:

Zelds:Ocarina of Time & 3D Classics: Urban Champion [first 3DS games] had me in "AW'' when I had first got my 3DS. 3D effect is great!



DreamOn said:

I love the 3DS' 3D I don't care what anyone says about it. It's never lost its appeal much like my appreciation for HD and retina displays over SD res for my TV/phone/tablets.

I hope 3D can in someway survive with Nintendos next handheld/console.



Gioku said:

I wonder if he could just walk around with the camera turned on and look at the world through the 3DS? It might be a bit inconvenient, but he would be able to see the world in a brand new way...



idork99 said:

This is a great story!

@MeWario I'd also be sad if Nintendo stopped doing stereoscopic 3D in the future.

Although I always play and enjoy my 3DS with the 3D turned up, I also have siblings that unfortunately can't stand the 3D for long periods of game play and just decide to keep it off. In this case, the person benefitting the most with a 3DS is the one with a clear vision and tolerance for long 3D play periods. Otherwise, it's just like a dual screen PSP.

Since Nintemdo does Surveys on almost all their software, they should have a good idea of how much people actually play with the 3D on vs. off (I'm very curious to know that number).



tsm7 said:

Good for him. It's nice to see in the comments other people who like 3D instead of bashing it. I don't think it is the selling point Nintendo hoped but I greatly enjoy it. It's like HD. You are playing the same game but it's that much better.



OptometristLime said:

I don't think the tone of this article serves to amplify as much as distract from what should be an overall uplifting message. The 3DS has been referred to negatively in past discussions, but only to establish its merit with specific game applications. It is my feeling that in this particular article the 3D effect is being undersold as a "gimmick" in order to lend further emotional weight. It's a trivial vision trick? Well look how it changed a man's life! Surely those of us who leave the 3D slider firmly ON can also appreciate this unforeseen consequence.



Cotton said:

@Gioku maybe he could have some sort of helmet that moved with his head at the perfect distance from his eyes



steamhare said:

I usually find the 3d effects to be quite impressive, myself. It adds a sharpness to images that I find quite fetching.



ianmage1 said:

There's two things Nintendo can never get rid of in their future handhelds: Double Screens and 3D!



Megumi said:

Now that I think about it, I think my uncle said something about having depth perception problems with his eyes too, and that he was able to see the 3D when I showed him my 3DS.



ShortSleevedNook said:

Definitely not a gimmick! A really cool feature that really adds that extra "oomph!" to games, and after playing games in 3D for so long, you really start to miss it when going back to a 2D game.



Ralizah said:

The 3D really is neat on this system. Nice to see it could impact someone;s life in that way.



WaveBoy said:

Anybody who says 3D is a gimmick is a complete geek burger. Really, break away from your computer screen and take a glorious look around you. It's just a little natural thing us humanoids have from the day we were born in Eternia, called 'depth percpetion'. If somebody is going to label 3D a gimmick than you might as well say HD is a gimmick. yeesh, I can't stand the word gimmick, it's just so....Gimmicky.



kenzo said:

If you want to see 3D that will make you cry in joy, go to Luigis Mansion 2 in part D - the Secret Mine. Be blown away by the winter scenes - no spoilers here !



Zach777 said:

Cool article. It's neat that he could experience depth in his vision through video game technology.



Hunter-D said:

Lovely article! He should try the 3D in KI:U and LM2 like Kenzo mentioned. Amazing stuff!



dizzy_boy said:

I don't care too much for the 3D on my 3DS, but it's nice to see people get positive use from it.



iphys said:

This guy needs to get a Fujifilm 3D camera, so he can snap quality photos of the world around him. Even for someone that can see 3D normally, I think these pictures surpass the normal experience of 3D vision, because it shoots everything in the foreground and background in extremely sharp focus, and then even if you can really only make your eyes converge to overlap the images for one depth at a time, you're still simultaneously seeing a sharpness to everything else in the foreground and background because your eyes are really only having to focus light that is all coming the same distance from the screen.



HunteROB said:

George "Kokori"s played Ocarina of Time? A prominent employee of Rare is talking about how much he loves the 3DS? Irony overload, man.



Lalivero said:

Love the article. Hopefully he'll stick around for the rest of the 3DS' lifespan because games are going to be able pull it off even better as time passes.



dumedum said:

Nintendo's products always seem to make the world and humanity a better place.



milojica said:

My brother recovered from depression with help of DS. Nothing helped but when he started to play games on my DS he started to smile again and now he is fully recovered and he still plays it YAY for Nintendo!



Alienfish said:

There are a lot of people who can't see the 3D and they complain, but I have perfect vision so it's a huge plus to me. I do prefer using the 3D in perfect darkness though since any glare on the screen can offset the effect. Under a blanket at night and using headphones is like entering another world, depth included.



Omarsonic9 said:

Sounds like me when I tried the 3DS for the first time in a gaming shop in Germany. Man.... That was cool. I was like: WHOA ITS 3D. My brother was trying the Vita, then he came and tried the 3DS. Lawl



BetweenTheTrees said:

wow. This brought a tear to my eye. i'm very happy for him.
my brother had something wrong with his hands when we were young, i can't remember what but by playing the SNES. super mario world to be exact. it fixed his hands because of the way he held the controller and how often he would use his hands. Nintendo helps people not just themselves. and i take pride in being a Nintendo consumer because of it. My already high respect for nintendo just went up again.



tanookisuit said:

Touching. It's as the old saying goes the 'tetris effect' where someone with a physical or psychological problem can overcome it through a video game, or in this guys case the device on the whole.

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