I know Nintendo's official stance is that the 3DS is not for children with developing eyes, but are kids playing this? My son is dying for this for his 6th birthday, but don't want to do the wrong thing. My 4-year old is looking to get his first DS system, as well, and he naturally wants the 3DS.
No, it can damage their eyes due to the pseudo-3D effect, which places a strain on eyes of developing children. You should absolutely NOT give a 6-year-old child a 3DS, it can cause permanent damage since his eyes are still developing. And it goes without saying that a 4-year-old should not get one either, it would be a huge mistake.
The AOA has said that there is no evidence that suggests viewing 3D for prolonged periods of time would have any sort of negative effect in children or adults beyond simple eyestrain.
The AOA said that 3D technology like the 3DS could make for a wonderful diagnostic tool. Normal eye exams test each eye individually, but for 3D stereoscopic vision to work, both eyes have to be working together. Normal eye exams can miss certain symptoms that point toward a problem in communication between the eyes and the brain.
There's a lot of truth to what everybody has said so far: some people say it damages the eyes, others say it's fine, some say it helps the eye develop (I don't really believe that one, but it could be true). Either way, though, does it matter if MAYBE the 3DS does not ruin their eyes? There's no reason to risk it simply because it's the newest gaming device. Like you said, you don't want to do the wrong thing. If I were you, I'd just get them a DS and wait until they're older (by then, there will probably be something newer out anyway). Sure, they may feel left out because they aren't up to date with all the newest games...but at least you know they're not ruining their eyes over something so trivial. I could be completely wrong (maybe the 3DS is fine), but I just don't believe it's worth the risk.
We actually just went ahead and bought another DSi XL for the 4-year old. He will be thrilled, and you're right - it's not worth the risk. I hate that all the new games coming out are for the 3DS, though. Total bummer. The 3DS can wait!
You can turn the 3D feature off and play even the 3D games in 2D.. Just turn the feature off if you are concerned about your child's eyes. That way you have access to the new games that are only for the 3DS and all the games for the previous systems.
The 3ds has parental control options. All 3ds games can be played in 2d mode and you can set a password so that your kids will not be able to use the 3d function. That way you don't have to worry and can play all the upcoming 3ds games like Mario Kart 7 and Super Mario 3d Land.
Um, what's the point of buying the 3DS for a child, then disabling the 3D effect? Since the whole system is built around 3D, that's pretty much a waste of money. All the games are heavily designed to use the 3D effect, they aren't designed to be played in 2D. Lame solution, just stick with the older DS systems for children, there are plenty of good games for those.
if you don't buy the 3DS, you won't get to play any of the upcoming games .... support for the regular DS will phase out as the 3DS takes hold .... I would want to play Luigi's Mansion, even if only in 2D. there are also a lot of download games - in 2D ... even medical professionals are undecided about possible viewing impact, so it's unlikely the average poster here has some definitive insight.
The 3DS graphics look substantially better than the DS graphics even with the 3D slider turned off. Anyone looking to buy a Nintendo handheld should get the 3DS for all of the above mentioned reasons(backwards compatibility, graphical update,new games,phasing out of the old DS systems, parental controls for small kiddos). It's true too that the jury is out on 3D effect on eye sight but better to be safe then sorry! I'd be curious to know how many studies have actually been done or if it was just a statement made to avoid culpability in our litigious society.
You should just stop trolling. I'm wondering if you even played a 3DS system. It is much more than the 3D effects, I personally barely use the 3D to make my battery life longer. Besides the games that can only be played on 3DS systems, there are good software titles built in. AR Games and Face Raiders make good else of augmented reality programming (in 2d or 3d). Streetpass Mii Plaza has 2 compelling games included: the Find Mii RPG and Puzzle Swap. Plus, there is the eShop, with lots of new games and videos.
All of the features I mentioned are not available on DSi and DS systems, only the 3DS. Nintendo and most other developers have switched to making only 3DS games, so people without a 3DS will be unable to play the upcoming classics of future years.
I'm not trolling, just pointing out Nintendo's recent design problems. And I am really, really surprised by one of your statements about the 3DS, which is very surprising coming from you. You state that you "personally barely use the 3D to make my battery life longer". So, you bought a system that is 100% built on the 3D gimmick for all new games released for it, then you just turn off that gimmick and don't use it? Do you know how that sounds? You actually ignore the main feature of the system? Did you know there are levels in Super Mario 3D land that REQUIRE you to use the 3D effect, to get through?
Buying a 3DS and then turning off the 3D slider is like buying a blu-ray player and then only playing old DVDs through it, thus never seeing true high-resolution movies! It makes no sense at all, just sounds like you'll buy anything Nintendo puts out regardless of what "features" are included, even if you those features are integral to the product. That's not a good sign for the benefits of 3D on the 3DS . . .
I can tell that you read my post, but chose to ignore my main points. No 3DS game requires the 3D, it is optional, so the feature is not the end all of the system. I didn't buy it for the 3D effect, I bought it for the built-in programs (like Streetpass Plaza) and the many exclusive games that interest me. Another reason I don't play with the 3D on often is that it gets me headaches if it is on too long. It's not the system's fault, I am near-sighted enough that it strains my eyes to maintain the sweet spot. I use the 3D on occasion, but mostly only for cutscenes in Zelda, 3DS game trailers from the eShop, etc.
I haven't played Mario 3D Land, but from what I understand the 3D helps you solve puzzles and such (like the optical illusions and enemy cut-out boards). I'm sure it can be played without the 3D, it just might be a little harder.
I'm sorry that your vision makes it nearly impossible to use the 3D in the 3DS. That is indeed unfortunate, since it is the main feature of the system. But as I said, Super Mario 3D Land REQUIRES that 3D be used for some levels, and you're going to see this a lot more on future titles. Here's an excerpt from IGN's review (it got a 9.5 BTW):
"Certain parts of 3D Land, during which a small 3D symbol appears on the top screen, you'll find near impossible to pull off without activating the 3D. By relying on 3D as an important mechanic rather than a second thought to enhance the visuals, the developers achieved the most effective 3D I've ever seen in any medium, as well as the most brilliant use of it. From the clever platforming puzzles to the creative level design, every aspect of the game is heightened by the masterful use of an effect that up until now has essentially only been used as an optional visual boost. As Mario jumps off a bouncy mushroom and soars out of your screen - or pulls off a daring jump onto a tiny platform to nab a secret or hidden medal - it becomes apparent that 3D Land represents the kind of experience the 3DS was always meant for."
I found that the 3DS strained my eyes just from the times I played it in stores or at a friend's house. I just don't care for the effect, it requires concentration and causes fatigue/eye strain for me. I don't care about 3D games on home consoles either though, I just prefer to play the games on a regular TV and not bother with the glasses, a new TV, etc.
I can use the 3D, it just gets me headaches if it is on for more than 10 minutes. I will get Mario 3D Land soon and I plan to enjoy it. I am skeptical of the review that claims the game is nearly impossible to play in 2d mode. And even it is much easier to use the 3D when the 3D notice box appears, I can switch it on for a few minutes. It won't be that big of a problem.
Also, IMO most people had problems with the demo stations, simply because of the short height of most of the kiosks. When I tried Star Fox 64 3d in the store, I realized that most of the systems are not glued into the kiosk, so you can unstick it from the velcro and bring it up higher if you want.
Edit: I have tried Mario 3D Land in a demo kiosk, and despite some reviews, the game is not super hard without the 3D effects. If you have played a Mario game before, you should be able to play the game without the need of 3D effects, should anyone wish it.
I have Bit. Trip Saga, Star Fox 64 3D, and Super Mario 3D land. The 3d effect of Mario is pretty much necessary. It is possible to play without it, but it is much harder to figure out where to jump. The 3d effect of Star Fox is nice but not necessary at all, and it is simply a great way to improve the graphics. I like it. The 3d effect of Bit. Trip Saga actually hinders the gameplay. It is the only one I play with 3D off. It is an amazing game but the backgrounds are in trippy, distracting 3D and hurt my eyes. As well, some parts of the game have a framerate of probably 5 fps when 3d is on but 40 in 2d mode. BTW, I think Superchiller has no valid points and is being kind of rude. Not saying they couldn't make some valid arguments against the 3DS, he/she definitely (and easily) could, but she/he hasn't. Actually, they have only made 2 arguments. One, that you should stick with the old system for kids, and two, that the system is 100 percent built around 3d so if you shouldn't buy it unless you want to use 3D. Firstly, you could stick with a DS or DSi, but then you couldn't have access to new iterations of games like Mario Land, Animal Crossing, Luigi's Mansion, Mario Kart, PilotWings, Zelda, or Paper Mario and so on. Also 3DS is backwards compatible, and if you trade in a DSi for about 80-100 dollars, which you can if it's in good condition, you are only paying 70-90 dollars for the 3DS. Second, the system isn't built around 3D at all, as I said above it can be good or bad. It is simply a new idea. My favourite thing about the 3DS is the new power it has. The graphics are miles better than the DS and it shows. Look at the difference between a game like Super Mario 64 DS and Super Mario 3D Land. They are incomparable. Also, there is an analog stick and better R/L buttons, which all help. The 3DS is built around software, and it wasn't worth a buy before the price drop in my opinion, but now with new games, I'm so glad I got one. The 3D is more of an add-on then the main attraction. With your blu-ray comparison, it isn't like that at all. It's more like buying a PS3 and not using the bluray, instead just playing games.
The 3d is easy to turn off. My kids are 13 and 10 and love the 3ds. Both of them got their first DS when they were 5 (actually my oldest had a game boy first). I was worried about them taking care of it at their ages and was pleasantly surprised at how much they used it and how well they took care of them. They are a blessing to have on long car trips, plane rides, and waiting at the dentists office.