Tuesday, November 23, 2004

News: As far as the DS is concerned...
Posted by Shocker :: 7:30 AM

To my knowledge, no one here at AC went out and got a DS at launch. For that matter, I don't know if any of us are actively pursuing one. I can't speak for my colleagues, but I will give you my opinion on it:

Before I saw a video Matt showed me, I thought this was a disastrous idea. I personally don't really use handhelds that much, but even beyond that, it seemed like superfluous design that was incapable of having any real support from developers due to its limitations (Yes, two screens can be a limitation, it's a liability to have to have something on the second screen to begin with). Not that this would be a new thing for Nintendo. Does anyone remember the Virtual Boy? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

But the video I saw changed all that. What I saw was, heads and shoulders, above the level of design that I'd seen in many games. Nintendo's got some whacky minds in their R&D, and I have a feeling that as they were pitching the system, they were giving some hints on where to take the DS, because for the year or so between its announcement and its release, most gaming publications, sites and players couldn't figure out what the hell they were going to do with the thing. The video answered a lot of that. I saw games that used the touchscreen to draw independent paths for a character to speed through. I saw incredibly handheld graphical potential and a vast array of new design avenues to wander through.

Here is what I think of the DS now: I think that it will ultimately not succeed because most designers are incapable of designing for it. A review of Mario 64 DS I read stated that the second screen was used primarily for a map of the area. The reviewer correctly pointed out that he'd never needed a map in the N64 version of the game. And this is Nintendo's development. I have a sinking feeling that a lot of the crazily-designed games I saw in the video (This is an open call to Matt to please track the video down, by the way) won't make their way stateside for fear that they'll be rejected as being too weird (Sadly, American audiences have a pretty poor track record with supporting fringe titles). More likely, developers will take advantage of the power of the system and scrap use of the second screen, except in the most necessary of cases.

In leiu of being able to provide my our own coverage right now (unless you want to buy a DS for me, and a couple of games. If you do, hit the email link over at the side), I'll give you guys a link to an article with more hands-on info than I've got now.

I'm also wondering what you guys think of the DS? Destined for greatness, or destined for failure? Are you planning to get one as soon as possible, or are you waiting for Christmas? Inquiring Dans want to know.

Here's the link to a Gamespot article detailing a lot of the features and launch titles for the Nintendo DS.

- Dan

Alls I know is, that I won't be getting one until I see a bigger game catalogue. So Dual Screen or not, I'm gonna wait this one out.
I'd think it's safe to say that I'll end up buying two within the next 3 months. Mainly because Mrs. Hogie will demand one for Animal Crossing DS and Harvest Moon DS. And I can't let her have a new shiny console without me owning one as well!

I do think Dan hit on an excellent point: Most of the developers just won't know what to do with the dual/touch screen. That being said, as soon as someone writes a tunneling application for the DS *cough*porting-over-Firefox*cough* I think you'll see sales shoot up considerably.
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