The 3DS will launch with some built-in software for users to enjoy beyond that of the launch titles. The system will also come packed with 6 AR cards, as seen to the right. AR means Augmented Reality; basically, the cameras on the front of the 3DS will capture the card, the 3DS will process the picture and project an object onto the environment. Your movement and interaction from the cameras perspective translates to movement on screen. This is certainly not new tech for gaming as it's currently being used by Sony, Microsoft and even mobile platforms.

Sources have gone to WIRED and delivered some details on five of the six AR games included with the 3DS. Here are their details:

AR Shot

This game is described by our source as a sort of combination of pool and miniature golf. You aim at the ball with a cue stick and hit it around the course, hoping to sink it in the hole at the far end. You can walk around the surface of the table to take shots from different angles. This game was also described in a forum post by a British journalist with a 3DS.


Your table becomes a fishing pond, and you lower and raise your rod into the water to pull out bigger and bigger fish. Eventually, a shark might pop out of the water (and out of your screen using the 3-D effect). Our source was quite impressed with the control of the fishing rod and the visual effects that transform your surface into a pool of water.


A 3-D drawing application in which you can use several different paintbrushes and other visual effects, including fire. You can then manipulate the resulting 3-D image, using the 3DS buttons to make it spin around or bounce.

Star Pics

Many of the AR Games, including the one that Nintendo demonstrated to, are played using a card with an image of a yellow question mark. Star Pics is played with other cards in the package that feature famous Nintendo characters: Mario, Link, Kirby, Samus Aran and Pikmin.

When you point the 3DS' cameras at these cards, 3-D models of the characters appear on your table. You can pose them in different positions, then save pictures of scenes you create.

Mii Pics

Very similar to Star Pics, but it uses Mii caricatures that players make of themselves. (You can import your Miis from your Wii console into your Nintendo 3DS.) Nintendo made an oblique reference to this game in its official 3DS literature, calling it "an interactive photo shoot with your Mii characters."

Smartphones have been AR capable for some time now, and here's an example of AR in motion.

The Nintendo 3DS drops Stateside on March 27th.

[Info via WIRED, AR Card Picture via GameMemo (Warning: Japanese)]