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Nintendo Preps For 3DS eStore Launch

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All I have to say is thank the gods that my hotel while I'm at E3 has free WiFi, and so does the Los Angeles Convetion Center, because the evening of June 6, (Pacific Time, so middle of the night on the East Coast, I guess), Nintendo will finally be launching the first major system update for the 3DS.

The main addition to the 3DS functionality will be the Nintendo eShop, which will include a variety of downloadable content, including original 3DS games, classic games remastered in 3D (called 3D Classics), Game Boy and Game Boy Color "Virtual Console" games in 2D. Plus, the entire library of over 350 DSiWare games. There will also be trailers, screenshots and info for games.

And within the eShop, you'll be able to download the free Pokédex 3D application and start collecting data for more than 150 Pokémon from the new Pokémon Black and White. You can view each Pokémon in full 3D with animated motion and sound. You collect Pokémon by sharing data with friends and using the SpotPass feature, or by scanning special Pokémon AR Markers. You can even view your 3D Pokémon in the real world using the AR Cards and take pictures of it! Ooh! Tepig right there on my couch!

Upcoming Virtual Console content will include Game Boy titles like Super Mario Land, Alleyway and Radar Mission. New content will be added to the eShop on Thursdays. And to commemorate the grand opening of the eShop, Nintendo is offering a free download of Excitebike remastered in 3D as a free download until July 7. Like you'd wait that long to get the system update anyway!

There's also the free internet browser, which Nintendo says can display 3D images on special sites designed to show them. I'll believe it when I see it, but depending on how easy it is to program a site like that, I wonder how many there will really be. I do appreciate that you can pause your game by going to the home screen and then browse the web before picking up your game right where you left off. You know, for looking up cheats and walkthroughs... Oh, and you can also transfer previously downloaded DSiWare games to your 3DS from your DSi or DSiXL.

Unfortunately, the video service still isn't ready yet, and there's no word yet as to when it will be available. Probably once they've finally worked out when the oft-promised 3D movies will be coming to the system. Maybe we'll find something out at E3. The press release says that you can go into System Settings on your 3DS and under "Other Settings" you'll find "System Update," but I remember the last update you got a prompt when SpotPass detected that the update was available.

Oh, also, as of June 7, Nintendo's arrangement with Simon Property Group will give 3DS owners free WiFi access at nearly 200 Simon shopping malls throughout the US. There's also hotspots at more than 1,000 Best Buy stores. And then there's the deal with AT&T that will give 3DS users access to nearly 24,000 of AT&T's WiFi hotspots. This is cool, because not everywhere has free WiFi, and I remember how nice it was to be able to play my DS at McDonald's back in the day.

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