Nintendo consoles are coming to the Louvre, and they won’t just be in the hands of bored ten-year-olds trailing blindly behind their parents.
The legendary Paris art museum recently overhauled its audio tour guide system and replaced it with a set of Nintendo 3DS devices. Preloaded with 700 commentaries on various works of art and interactive maps of the Louvre, the consoles will be the new digital tour guides—helping museum-goers figure out exactly where they are and what they’d like to see.
The new guides were designed with the museum’s young and international customer-base in mind, reports the Los Angeles Times. Of the Louvre’s 8.9 million visitors last year, more than half were under the age of 30 and two thirds were foreign. With commentary available in seven languages, the tool should help the museum become more accessible to all.
The handheld, smartphone-sized devices have two screens: a 3D screen on top and a touch screen on the bottom. Like with other museum guides, people can punch in a number to hear specialists talk about a work’s history and significance.
But unlike most other audio guides, the Nintendo 3DS adds a visual element. Viewers can virtually float over statues for a look at every possible angle and can zoom in to examine tiny cracks or flaws in certain pieces.
In a museum as massive as the Louvre, it’s also critical to know exactly what you’d like to see and how to get there. The device helps by providing a specific search of the museum’s 50 most popular works and plots paths of how to get to each from a user's exact location.
The guides are available now and can be rented for $6.50 each.