It’s always fun to imagine how old games could look with modern graphics. It’s become the foundation of our era of remakes and remasters. Going in and giving pixel art a graphical upgrade seems impossible, but voxels make it a reality. In 2019, Geod Studio released 3DSen VR in Early Access. It allowed you to play specific NES games in 3D and VR! Today, Geod has just released a new version of the emulator that is designed for any regular computer. I was provided a review code to check this out, but all thoughts below are my own.
3DSen doesn’t just magically take NES ROMS and give them depth. Each game has a specific map that they use. It lets games truly look like they’ve been given the 3D treatment. 3DSen currently supports seventy games. The line-up features a decent mix of fan favorites and hidden gems. The line-up can feel limited, but each game has a unique look to it.
You can tilt the camera around the game in a ton of different ways. You won’t be able to get too creative with it, but I never felt like I couldn’t see what I wanted. 3DSen always turns flat textures into multilayered voxel models. You’ll be able to see Mario even if the camera is right behind him! I didn’t enjoy messing with the camera, but it might be the most fun for others.
Not every game benefits from the 3D treatment. I understand why Geod Studio would want some of the system’s most important games to be available, but I find it odd when they’ve barely changed. Arcade ports like Donkey Kong and platformers like the Mega Man series don’t benefit much from being in 3D. It is the top-down experiences like Zelda and The Adventure of LoLo that benefit the most.
Geod Studio does not own any of the titles supported by the emulator. You’ll have to provide your own ROM for each and every game. Selecting your ROM and launching is simple, but the U.I. just looks terrible. It’s basic and feels default. I think sprucing it up would go a long way to help the user interface in general.
3DSen automatically supports most controllers. The only controllers that I had to configure myself were the Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons. You’ll be playing the games with the D-Pad and moving the camera with the right analog stick. It works extremely well.
Providing your own ROMS means you can provide broken, or just completely different, ones. If an incompatible ROM manages to boot, you’ll most likely be playing the game with random elements popping out and colors extremely messed up. Here’s a look at what a corrupted Mega Man 3 ROM I tested did! If a ROM isn’t working right, it is easy to replace it with a different one.
3DSen is an interesting emulator. It has a lot of mystique and many draws. It just couldn’t keep my attention. I couldn’t find a reason to play Super Mario Bros. 3 specifically with voxel enemies. It is an extremely well-made program, but I think only the most dedicated NES fans should invest in it. I look forward to future titles added and hopefully updates to the U.I.