Article: DS Let Me Touch You!!

This year gamers and games developers brace themselves for the greatest leap forward in handheld gaming since Nintendo first released the original GameBoy all those years ago. On one hand Sony are pushing handheld graphics far beyond what anyone thought was possible. One the other hand Nintendo is giving us all something completely different, something we really never though was possible they are giving us a new way to play games.

The Nintendo DS was announced less than a year ago in the middle of a rather boring January when all the Christmas gaming hype was dieing down and now it will be in consumer’s hands in less than a few HOURS! Ten months from press release announcement to it hitting the store shelf, that’s something new for Nintendo, no delays, no long waits. The handheld world is most definitely changing, is the DS the beginnings of something very special?

Touch Here To Start

At the time of writing there is a total of 130 games in development for the DS, that’s a whole lots of games. Infact there are now more games in development for the DS than there is for the GameCube. For anyone that thought Nintendo’s self titled “Third Pillar” wasn’t going to be supported they should now have all the proof they need that Nintendo is putting is full force behind the DS. They believe it is something special and they want everyone within earshot of them to know that.

From these 130 titles in development around the world nine of them will be on store shelves come November the 21st when the console hits store shelves across America. After the initial release anther 25 – 30 games are expected to be available for consumers before the end of 2004. There is a lot to be excited about right now if you a perspective DS buyer and there is a lot to entice gamers still sitting on the edge wondering is it worth it.

The Facts

– Two backlit screens
– Dual processor technology
– Touch screen for use with stylus fingers or thumb-clip
– Built in microphone
– Wireless networking for up to 16 players
– Sleep mode than will “wake up” is it detects anther DS nearby
– Multiplayer though one game cart
– PictoChat built into the machine
– GBA compatible
– 8-10 hour battery life

System Specs

Size (when closed) 148.7 millimeters (5.85 inches) wide, 84.7 millimeters (3.33 inches) long, 28.9 millimeters (1.13 inches) tall

Top Screen A backlit, 3-inch, semitransparent reflective TFT colour LCD with 256 x 192 pixel resolution and .24 mm dot pitch, capable of displaying 260,000 colours

Touch Screen Same specs as top screen, but with a transparent analog touch screen

Wireless Communication IEEE 802.11 and Nintendo’s proprietary format; wireless range is 30 to 100 feet, depending on circumstances; multiple users can play multiplayer games using just one DS Game Card

Controls Touch screen, embedded microphone for voice recognition, A/B/X/Y face buttons, plus control pad, L/R shoulder buttons, Start and Select buttons

Input/Output Ports for both Nintendo DS Game Cards and Game Boy Advance Game Paks, terminals for stereo headphones and microphone

CPUs One ARM9 and one ARM7

Sound Stereo speakers providing virtual surround sound, depending on the software

Battery Lithium ion battery delivering six to 10 hours of play on a four-hour charge, depending on use; power-saving sleep mode; AC adapter

Languages English, Japanese, Spanish, French, German, Italian

It’s Good To Touch

Not only should gamers be excited but Nintendo themselves are no doubt counting down the hours until release to see what the world things of “their new baby!” I can imagine Iwata in is office marking his calendar counting down the days… well that might be taking it a bit to far but I am sure him and everyone else under the Nintendo umbrella are excited. Nintendo’s vice president off sales and marking Reggie Fils-Aime has already stated the importance of the DS to Nintendo. “The Nintendo DS is critically important for us on a number of parts” he says “it really backs up the message of any aggressive and new Nintendo. The Nintendo DS is significant to the industry” he continues “From our perspective it is the way forward; it’s the road map for the future”

Touch Of Genius

Nintendo made all the right moves to make it a success. The price is right for the technology it provides the player. The Ideas it offers are innovative if developers use them correctly. Remember, developers are in a kind of lull at the moment, there is nothing new the can do at the moment that hasn’t been done before by some one else, nothing special can be achieved with a gargantuan budget. The DS changes this is, it offers developers a chance to create a different kind of game from day one. If there is any innovation left it this great industry the DS is the catalyst to bring it forward.

Double The Fun?

Gladly the system is Game Boy Advance compatible, and GBA games can be displayed on either the upper or lower screen depending on the user’s input. Since the Game Boy Advance uses 240×160 resolution, and each Nintendo DS screen is 256×192, the image is slightly bordered. The GBA games look magnificent on the Nintendo DS screens as the DS back-lighted LCD screens instead of front-lighting as on the Game Boy Advance SP and the sound of GBA games is also improved on when played on the DS as they can be played in stereo without headphones thanks to the system’s built-in speakers.

First Killer-App – Wario Ware Inc

Mini-game madness plus a DS! It’s like a marriage made in heaven. Expect this to be a top seller come release. It expands on what gamers have seen it the two previous titles on the GameCube and GBA and then improves on the ten-fold. Wario Ware is all about instinctive gaming and this is what the DS thrives upon. Most gamers will know what to do when the see the mini-game flash up on screen and what could be better or more instinctive than touching the screen to do it yourself. Wario Ware could be the DS’s killer app if marketed correctly.

Within Touching Distance

Nintendo have hit the ground running with this one, there is lots of hype behind the DS as the hours count down to Nov 21st and the onward momentum will continue as the days get closer but will it continues after the hardware release or will the DS simply burn out mid race. It unlikely as Nintendo seems to know their handhelds but is 3 main consoles to much for a company to focus on at one time. I guess only time will tell.

Well there is not much more to say other than I have run of puns on the word “touch” and thus cannot make another heading so I must bring this article to an end. I really do believe the DS is the start of something special. The beginnings of a “Revolution” some might say!!