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Nintendo 3DS could be hazardous to children under 6

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Nintendo's 3DS video game system might be hazardous to the health of children younger than 6, according to a warning posted Wednesday on the Japanese video game company's website.

"Vision of children under the age of 6 [is in] the developmental stage," Nintendo's warning said, according to a Google translation of the website. "Nintendo 3DS, 3-D, including 3-D movies and television, delivers 3-D images with different left and right eye images," which "has a potential impact on the growth of children's eyes."

The 3DS is the gaming giant's latest version of its DS line of handheld video game consoles. The feature of the 3DS that separates it from Nintendo's popular other DS systems: It can handle 3-D gaming and movies, displaying the depth-adding effect without requiring users to wear 3-D glasses.

Although Nintendo is advising that only the preschool crowd refrain from using the new system's 3-D feature, it also recommends in its note that all players -- children and adults -- should take breaks from its glasses-free 3-D gaming every 30 minutes, or whenever a user feels sick.

The 3DS will also have a "3-D volume" sliding button that will let users tone down the level of depth of 3-D images, the notice said. Nintendo Virtual Boy

It also said the 3DS would have a parental control feature that could restrict the console's screens to traditional 2-D images. Games, movies and other media displayed in 2-D will be safe for gamers younger than 6, the Nintendo warning said.

There is "enough for everyone to enjoy," it said.

Nintendo is set to release the 3DS in Japan on Feb. 26 for about $300. The 3DS is to arrive in U.S. stores in March, the company has said; a price hasn't yet been announced.

The 3DS isn't Nintendo's first try at 3-D video games. In 1995 the company released the Virtual Boy, which had two LED screens that displayed black and red 3-D effects in a viewfinder-like device.

The Virtual Boy didn't catch on. It was discontinued in 1996 and is one of Nintendo's few console failures.

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Top photo: Satoru Iwata, president of Nintendo, introduces the Nintendo 3DS game device at the E3 expo in Los Angeles on June 15. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

Bottom photo: Nintendo Virtual Boy handout art from 1995. Credit: Nintendo

 
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