Glasses-free 3D and other new features make the Nintendo 3DS a significant step forward for the video game industry.

Well, for my 16th birthday, I got a shiny new Nintendo 3DS. And I am pleased to say that the new console is a blast to play.

Graphics: 10/10
Of course, the main attraction of the Nintendo 3DS is the widescreen stereoscopic 3D top screen. This screen is capable of producting a 3D image and a sense of depth without the use of 3D glasses (think of those holographic bookmarks). For the most part it works. There is a certain "sweet spot" where your head has to be in order for the 3D to work. Your eyes must be a certain distance from the screen and directly in front of it for the effect to be clear. If you move your head even a few inches from this zone, the screen blurs and darkens and the 3D is gone. However, after a few days, you'll get a feel for where the sweet spot is. Unfortunately, a small percentage of the population will not be able to view the 3D at all. It may be best to try out a friend's 3DS or a store demo to see if the 3D works for you. The 3D can be a little nauseating and headache-inducing, but thankfully there's an option to turn 3D off.
The graphics are the best I've ever seen on a handheld. Polygons are surprisingly detailed, and animations are smooth. Even normal DS games on the 3DS are enhanced with a pixel blending effect to smooth out rough edges.

Sound: 8/10
Sound is more crisp than the Nintendo DS's. The new "3D" sound feature effectively replicates surround sound.

Button Layout: 6/10
The relocation of the Start and Select buttons and the D-Pad take some getting used to. You will probably hit the Power button accidentally several times early on. The stylus is in a strange spot. The shoulder buttons are a little jiggly and clicky.

Shape: 7/10
The 3DS is smaller and more compact than the DS Lite. However, it's sharp edges and rectangular corners make it somewhat uncomfortable to hold, especially in games which use mostly the stylus. Holding the system in one hand is awkward. It's also heavier than the DS Lite.

Built-In Software: 10/10
An upgraded Mii Maker, Face Raiders, AR games, Streetpass, Find Mii Quests, puzzles, a 3D Camera, a sound editor, an Internet browser, and more give you plenty to do before even popping in a game.

Games: 5/10
The Nintendo 3DS currently has an extremely small and limited library. Nearly all of its games are either ports or lackluster first-party titles. However, in about a year, titles like a new Super Mario, Super Smash Bros., Mario Kart, and Kid Icarus will be available. The 3DS's release was premature, and there are going to be hardly any good new games until next summer. Those who wait will be rewarded. Nintendo, what gives?!

Overall: 9/10
The Nintendo 3DS is a pretty nifty new gadget. New features and glasses-free 3D make it a worthy addition to the video game market. It may be a good idea to wait, because the $250 price tag is a lot to ask for, and there are hardly any good games for the system. However, if you're dying to have it, go ahead and buy it. It really is a great system.