I do consider myself a tech-savvy person but for some reason I had never tried a Nintendo 3DS before going to the Louvre, that mesmerizing, gigantic and sometimes overwhelming institution which introduced the famous console as their new audioguide system last April.
I must say that for the first 15 minutes I was way more impressed with the device itself rather than the dedicated guide and its user interface. Soon enough I got a hold of myself and started using it for what it was customized for, although I chose the free visit mode as I simply can’t stand guided visits… even if they’re proposed by a cute shiny gadget.
The Louvre is one of the biggest museums in the world and one does get lost no-matter how many times you’ve visited it. The Nintendo 3DS should help with this thanks to the geoloc system, much like with any smartphone it will find your exact position within the palace. The bad thing is that this system doesn’t work like on the ads and when looking for your next favourite artwork you may get lost because of a wrong turn… or because the 3DS didn’t realize itself you took the stairs to a different floor.
Still, rather than asking the room guard every 2 minutes or trying to decode the 6-page map this could be considered a slight improvement to locate yourself and escape alive from the Louvre before the mummies wake up at midnight.
First stop is the well-known Winged Victory of Samothrace. One click on the displayed artwork and the audio description begins. Depending on the importance of the work you may also have access to HD pictures or even a 3D representation of the piece. The 3D unfortunately doesn’t add much value to the overall experience…after all you’re visiting the museum to actually contemplate (and sometimes touch discreetly without anyone noticing) those pieces in real-life.
However many other features are handy in such populated art-cathedral. Like when visiting the Joconde for ex, the tiny-miny portrait is always too-surrounded and too-photographed to be appreciated; in this case my DS displays a good set of pictures with a good number of audio files to choose from… if you have time.
A collaboration that has really helped Louvre to improve its battered old audio-guide system and join the many other institutions that have been using more versatile systems like Apple’s iPod touch for years (Tate-London, Brooklyn museum, Berlin Jewish Museum….).
I do regret however that the Louvre doesn’t exploit all the capabilities of the Nintendo 3DS. A great device that should bring regular updates to the application and that for ex. has already planned to introducee a kids-dedicated guide very shortly. But how about adding some augmented reality features while taking advantage of the camera and some well-placed tags or codes… I miss a much better contextualized and real-time-synch between the artworks and the information that pops up on my screen…. this would really justify the extra 5€ and the potential is somehow lost if underground… with all that humidity… and all those mummies.
Oh, actually, those are on the upper-upper level, so feel no fear when walking 10m below the pyramid, it’s just rocks and the Old Louvre foundations.