Hands-On Preview: Nintendo eShop AR Cards

Hands-On Preview: Nintendo eShop AR Cards

Nintendo is starting to finally push the AR (augmented reality) feature on the 3DS now that full-on 3D is no longer the face of the portable. Starting today, Nintendo will be selling $10 eShop cards that include an AR Card, which pairs nicely with their Photos With Mario app. The cards will be available in any and all retailers that already carry the basic eShop card, starting today.

For those not privy, AR is the modification of real world images (often seen through a camera) by a computer. In Nintendo’s case, they use AR Cards to superimpose franchise characters in camera images, which can give you some pretty trippy stuff.

As noted before, it pairs with the PWM app, which released in Japan last month and finally came Stateside just recently with zero promotion (for those in Canada, the app has not released in that region yet). You can locate the app by either searching under “Applications” in the eShop or by directly searching by name. The app can also be downloaded on smartphones, but that seems to be a Japanese-only feature as of now.

I was recently sent three of these AR eShop cards from Nintendo and decided to test run how they look. I was advised to try an combine certain cards together for different effects. (Note: All pictures posted below are my own, taken through the 3DS camera and then badly with a second camera. I apologize for the quality.) The photos taken originally on the 3DS are very high quality, I’ll note.

Photos With Mario (1)

If you place a “?” card next to Mario or Peach, Toad appears!

Photos With Mario (2)

But put a Goomba there and a Piranha Plant shows up instead.

Photos With Mario (3)

Mario and Princess Peach wave to each other when they’re near (she also waves to you when alone).

This is where I’ll add that other cute things can be done with the pair. After a while Mario will doze off while Peach looks on lovingly (or creepily depending on your view).

Photos With Mario (4)

Peach is surprised to see a Goomba appear, if the cards are together.

Finally, if you place Mario near a Goomba, you get this exchange:

Photos With Mario (5)

The Goomba charges…

Photos With Mario (6)

…Mario jumps, then stomps…

Photos With Mario (7)

…and poof goes the Goomba. Don’t worry, the Goomba reappears after this.

Not gonna lie, I had a blast with these cards. There are also plenty of other features to try out, such as editing the pictures’ colors, adding different lighting and adding effects like confetti. You can also use the face camera and take a picture with Peach or one of the others standing on your shoulder. There’s even a timer feature for varying lengths. It’s a fun feature that’s great for children and nicely coincides with the launch of Mario Kart 8 on May 30th.