April 16, 2012 at 4:46 PM ET
At many museums, one can rent audio devices that act as tour guides, to help lead the way and explain what one is looking at. The Louvre, easily one of the famous museums in the world, was one such place. Recently, they replaced such devices with something more interactive: the Nintendo 3DS.
The partnership between Nintendo and the Louvre was announced in December, and finally went live on April 11. The handhelds come preloaded with an interactive map, which lets visitors know where they are at all times, and more than 700 commentaries, provided by curators and lecturers, on the works of art the museum houses:
Through this partnership, we wanted to bring together heritage and the innovative world of interactive entertainment through a system many people are already familiar with. We feel that the Nintendo 3DS is perfect to achieve this goal. Nintendo has brought over 35 years of experience in games and game console development, and we believe that the new audio guide is a valuable tool that will help visiting the Louvre a more dynamic and rewarding experience, particularly for those that are not so familiar with a museum environment.
The 3DS also allows one to view 3-D models of major works, which might seem a bit redundant to some, given that one can actually see those same things, right there, in real life. But it's designed to view parts and angles that might be otherwise impossible with the naked eye. Individualized tours can also be assembled, based upon one's tastes.
Additional features are planned, including commentaries designed for disabled visitors. For the hearing impaired, the 3DS will be able to serve commentaries that are presented in French sign language. And those with visual impairment will be able to visit a special "touch gallery" according to the press release.
Matthew Hawkins is an NYC-based game journalist who has also written for EGM, GameSetWatch, Gamasutra, Giant Robot and numerous others. He also self-publishes his own game culture zine, is part of Attract Mode, and co-hosts The Fangamer Podcast. You can keep tabs on him via Twitter, or his personal home-base, FORT90.com.