Ready for two times the gaming fun? How about two times the headache? LG's Dual Play gaming glasses combine the 2D fun of multiplayer gaming with the difficulty of using 3D glasses!
These tangerine shades afford a fullscreen experience for two-player games; so instead of the usual split-screen view, each user enjoys the entire screen–and neither opponent can spy on the other (a big problem when gaming in the same room). This technology isn't limited to your new Xbox: "Dual Play works with most current gaming systems or even older consoles as long as it is a split-screen game." For $24.99 MSRP, will these glasses give you the edge during late-night gaming sessions?
How They Work
What do companies do with an overstock of 3D glasses? LG decided to swap the lenses and sell pairs with two left or two right eyes. They also dipped them in orange paint... y'know, for kicks.
We're teasing here, but in all honesty that's what the Dual Play glasses are. Any TV with passive 3D can use Dual Play by activating Side-By-Side or Over-Under 3D modes. By switching on Dual Play, the TV makes a "3D" image out of a 2D game by laying both halves of the split gaming screen on top of each other. The special lenses in the glasses let players view their screen and block out their opponent's. It's the same as closing one eye during a 3D movie–this time, the images are either of Player 1 or Player 2.
We took two pairs of Dual Play glasses out for a test ride by playing a few rounds of Gears of War 3, in cooperative and competitive game modes.
The Bad: The game's resolution was stretched without mercy. If we were originally playing in 1080p, then Dual Play puts each player at 1920x540 pixels and stttrrreeetches that vertically to fit the TV. Gears of War's visuals were blurry and there were jagged edges everywhere–this modern shooter looked like 1997's GoldenEye. Speaking of the N64 classic, using Dual Play on that legendary multiplayer title means each player's screen would be at 320x120 resolution. "The name's Bond... Mosaic Bond."
It may seem obvious, but the TV transmitted the audio of both players, which spoiled the immersion. LG should take a note from the competition: Samsung's active 3D MultiView technology uses glasses with built-in earbuds to play separate audio signals.
There are a few other obvious issues that LG overlooked: Menus, cutscenes, and subtitles are chopped in half or limited to one player's screen. Both screens were cut off on either the top or bottom as well. Not enough to detract from gameplay, but if you've spent the money on a 3D TV (and $25 glasses), we're guessing you'll want the full experience.
The Good: The list is short but sweet: The Dual Play experience is liberating (before the headaches set in), and fullscreen gaming with a friend in the same room is a blast. Set up was a breeze–easy as clicking once from a menu. There's virtually no ghosting. For what it promises, Dual Play delivers: We couldn't cheat no matter how hard we squinted.
Dual Play is a cool idea on paper, but feels like a college student's final project–not something you'd want to put money down on. If you want to play with other people, you're better off gaming online or trusting that your friend's eyes don't wander. Yeah, right.
Where will companies go from here? Sony half-heartedly offers SimulView technology to give two players full 3D views, but the tech requires both the Playstation TV and a SimulView compatible game, of which there are eight. Honestly, with the leaps and bounds made in online play, we believe that Dual Play is as far as we're going to go with screen sharing.