British Tabloid Slams 3DS, Fools Stupid People

The Sun has published a number of stories regarding Nintendo's new 3DS system, in an apparent attempt to convince its key market of cataclysmically retarded-but-literate individuals that the device is a biohazard. The 3DS is blamed for making people dizzy and sick, with scientific evidence accrued from Twitter. In one particularly awesome paragraph, the site states: "Some even reported seeing web pages in 3D after switching from the console to a PC." Under the circumstances, we're amazed The Sun didn't report on the overwhelming majority of people who, after playing on a 3DS, saw the entire world in 3D as well.

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So eager was the publication to add its scientific opinion, it acquired a guinea pig. Said small mammal was then tasked with playing a 3DS while his pulse rate and blood pressure were checked. Amazingly, the act of playing and walking (as opposed to sitting) raised his blood pressure slightly, while playing in the back of a car made him nauseous. Luckily for the world+dog, scientists have previously classified this as being "car sick."  

The Sun's doctor, Carol Cooper, is quoted as saying: "“Technology can make a plain 2D picture look 3D by bombarding different images into each eye. It may be a clever trick, but it's not at all natural and can cause problems. In normal life, each eye gets images that are only very slightly different. The human body works best when all the senses receive compatible messages.”

The Human Body: Now With Amazing Unnatural Powers of Depth Perception

If zombies couldn't see where our scrumptious brains were located, they'd have no idea how far to reach. Given the abysmal test scores of your average zombie (not to mention the terrible performance of poverty-stricken urban zombies), we're pretty sure depth perception is a bargain-basement brain ability.

Our ability to perceive three-dimensional space is based on a variety of visual cues. Some of these cues are available even if a person has just one eye (monocular cues). Cues that require both eyes are called binocular cues. These tricky devils are created by the brain's ability to merge two slightly different images. 3-D films/effects take advantage of the natural process of stereopsis.

That's not to say that 3-D effects in gaming or on the big screen can't cause nausea. As with car sickness, nausea can occur when visual input indicates that the body is stationary (i.e., inside a car) while the inner ear registers bumps in the road, hills, and curves. This creates a cognitive dissonance. Interestingly, it's thought that what we think of as motion sickness is actually a protection against neurotoxins. The resulting nausea encourages vomiting, which aids the body in expelling the offending substance. If the unchanging environment of a vehicle is sufficient to cause motion sickness in some, it should come as no surprise that focusing on a specific non-changing image or surface (while things speed by in one's periphery vision and the inner ear reports movement) can make things much worse.

A significant percentage of people, including myself, have trouble either perceiving 3-D properly or watching 3-D movies for any length of time. The idea that this is caused by 3-D's "unnatural" qualities, however, is laughable. Some customers may have trouble with the 3DS (and we recommend they be given refunds), but Nintendo has strongly refuted any claims that the handheld is being returned at an abnormally high rate.