After a year of promises, media events, and touring demos, the no-glasses 3D eagle has landed. The Nintendo 3DS finally debuted in the U.S. yesterday to tales of long lines, brisk sales, and roaring launch parties.
Nintendo passed around oldie blue and red cellophane 3D glasses at an official midnight launch event in Manhattan outside the Union Square Best Buy, enjoining line-idling customers attired in hats, coats, and gloves to toss them away as the clock struck midnight.
Not offered in trade for those glasses: Arm braces to keep the 3DS steady in your hands while viewing its finicky autostereoscopic 3DS (the screen requires that your eyes remain in a very narrow field-of-view for the 3D effect to work properly).
(More on TIME.com: Nintendo 3DS First Impressions: Great Potential, Partially Realized)
While it’s too soon for official launch figures or serious sales estimates, we know Nintendo sold around 375,000 units last month during the handheld’s initial 48 hours on sale in Japan, that it was Amazon UK’s most pre-ordered item, well, ever, and that in the U.S., Lazard Capital analyst Colin Sebastian believes pre-orders were about twice those for the Wii.
We also know it’s making the rounds in some pretty unusual places–like gas stations. Yep, oil magnate BP’s begun selling the 3DS at around 100 of its service stops in the UK, reports Brand Republic.
Rough impressions, scribbled around Twitter ’3DS’ hashtags, tell a partial tale of the user experience so far.
“WOW!!! I didnt think #Nintendo could pull it off but the new #3DS really is 3D! Simply #Amazing,” cheered Twitter user PunkyBrew4.
“Brought my #3DS to work today to see how much I actually walk in a day. Mondays are also our busy day. This’ll be fun,” wrote Drantis82.
“Of COURSE the first thing I play in my 3DS is a DS game,” wrote MrMattJay.
“Must say… #3DS is really motivating me to move more, the pedometer and coins I can earn work for me! Just need a way to spend some them,” wrote gcf_klaas.
Not everyone was as upbeat about the handheld, and a few grumbled about launch games lineup and efficacy of the 3D effect.
“I tried the #3DS at @Gamedigital & it didn’t work with me & I actually feel a little sick from it,” wrote Sulcalibur.
“Played the #nintendo 3ds at week, really not impressed. Big let down. Standard DSi is much better,” wrote DavePCampbell.
“It’s a shame. Such great hardware, such poor line-up. Need Zelda. NOW. (Oh and a 3D GTA maybe?)” wrote kklsid.
Microsoft’s own Larry ‘Major Nelson’ Hryb acknowledged picking one up: “My wife just got back from shopping and picked up a Blue 3DS. Charging it now.” Hybr later noted he was playing Crysis 2, because: “My wife Bogarted the #3DS tonight.”
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