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Nintendo has said all along that people will need to see its new Nintendo 3DS to fully appreciate the glasses-free 3D effect. In fact, for some people, the effect can be too powerful, even with a built-in depth slider to control the intensity.

The device has already launched overseas, and the United States will get its opportunity to try the Nintendo 3DS starting Sunday, when Redmond-based Nintendo of America launches the new device here.

The reviews are somewhat mixed but generally positive. The Boston Globe calls the 3D effect “more of a gimmick than a game-changer,” but the Associated Press says it “lives up to the hype, creating a convincing illusion of a third dimension beyond its 3.5-inch screen.” Engadget knocks the three-hour battery life but says the 3DS will appeal strongly to avid gamers.

The big question: How many people will pay $249.99 — more than the price of some living-room consoles — for a handheld video-game device? In Nintendo’s defense, Joystiq previously adjusted the launch prices of past handhelds for inflation and concluded that the price of the 3DS is not that outlandish. CNet News reports that GameStop is seeing “very strong” demand.

But most of all, after being surprised by the size of the iPad 2 launch crowd, we’ve learned not to underestimate the willingness of geeks to trade their discretionary income for the next big thing, no matter the price.

See you in line this weekend?

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