Staff Discussion: The New Nintendo DS

Donkeythong:
It really pains me to see people already writing off the DS. Nintendo stated in the press release that the dual screen was just one of the many features it will have, and all would be revealed at E3. Why do people find the need to go on about how bad an idea it is, or it just won’t work, when they know nothing of what this thing is actually capable of?

Namco and Konami have said they will develop for the system which is quite a big thumbs up to it as they already have a lot of projects on the go. EA have now said they are also looking to develop for it as well. I’ll be interested to see what Nintendo do with it, especially with Miyamoto-san working on a new game for it (which is always a good thing). I really cannot see Nintendo making another Virtual Boy as they know how much it would hurt them to do so.

I’d like to see this system in action and find out what it is actually capable of before passing judgment. At least they are trying to release something different from the norm. Giving people an opportunity to try something different, which isn’t what anyone else wants to do. Nintendo are innovators, and know what it takes to get people interested. I mean the GBA isn’t exactly anything special compared to the far superior systems its been up against in the past. It’s just worked, and you never know, given a chance so might the DS.

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Space:
Although I have been unable to follow the talk surrounding the new Nintendo DS as much as I would like, it is sad to hear people writing it off already. In today’s world people are too quick to judge and I think Nintendo deserve a chance to show what the DS can do. Nintendo has been slow to innovate since the N64 and hopefully they have learnt that the same old formula just won’t give them the same success as it has done in the past. The number of rehashed GameCube sequels (Wind Waker, Mario Sunshine, Waverace and Smash Bros to name a few) has really got to me and i really want to see something new and exciting to bring back the magic.

However I feel that a new piece of hardware is not the way to go about it. I would rather Nintendo announced that a whole new range of games was on the horizon with the aim of reinventing certain genres and moving them forward to the next level. Also i think that having two screens will raise the cost considerable and people are less likely to pay the extra for something that, unless proved otherwise is simply a gimmick.

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Surrealist:
The Nintendo DS eh? Well, this looks to be one of the most innovative (if not THE most innovative) games systems on the market. Yes, I know, not much info is out and there aren’t even pictures yet but the concept is great! Two viewpoints sounds spiffing to me (if a little confusing at first)! The ability to, for example, control two characters at once (Mario and Luigi?) or view a battle map and control the troops with another is just brilliant! Obviously, Nintendo would be the leader in this new type of gaming (seeing if other companies try to emulate it will be interesting to say the least). Bloody fools writing off this already….. We shall see…….

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PowerSlave:
I’m looking forward to the DS a lot, don’t get me wrong but two screens simply isn’t that revolutionary. Consider the Nintendo 64, that was a revolutionary console, it brought the power of 3D to the market and nothing has been the same since. The reason that the N64 was so revolutionary was also because of its games, Mario 64 changed platformers forever, Zelda OOT did the same with adventure games and (shock! horror!) Nintendo made golf fun with Mario golf. What im trying to say is that games also contribute to the new-ness of a console. No matter what i will buy a DS….. unless they release a backlit version a year later

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Johelian:
The suggestions for the dual-screen use that I have heard floating around the net (allowing for two alternate views to a game etc) sound interesting, but at the moment just sound too gimmicky for me. I have my eyes set more firmly on the next generation of handheld, with what the PSP and new Gameboy will offer to really lend too much thought to this project; which may seem a little narrow-minded, but hey – perhaps when theres a little more information about it (ie games and adverts of the hardware running) I may lend an ear.

The problem with so few details being released – and the ones that are just leading to confusion – is that a lot of people are going to judge it purely on what has been offered. While this isn’t exactly the right thing to do, its not really surprising given the announcement Ninty have chosen to release. When the whole kit and caboodle is out, then no doubt there will be some interesting innovation worthy of attention (which is really Nintys forte) – so its just a matter of waiting and seeing. Just I’m currently more eagerly anticipating the next generation of hardware.

Though just a closing thought; innovation doesn’t always equate to quality. Just the final thought from the cynic in me!

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Scorpio:
The announcement of the DS surprised most people in the video gaming world. We were told that the new mystery machine would not be a successor to the GameCube or GBA, but a dual-screened portable came as a shock.

Nintendo had to do something in the handheld market I believe. Since there has been no competition in this market for the company, I feel they haven’t innovated as much as they could have. It is true we are seeing connectivity between the GameCube and GBA; something Sony will probably copy with their upcoming handheld – the PSP and the PlayStation2. However, we have had to wait for ages for a lit-screen GBA, being told the technology wasn’t viable due to poor battery life. We are then given a GBA: SP with no technological advancements over the original GBA except for the lit-screen.

The DS can be and should be a success – Nintendo know the handheld market like the back of their hand. They have the game licenses and knowledge in the market to ensure the DS’s success – something Sony don’t. The PSP will sell millions though due to fact it’s called a PlayStation.

Nintendo have created a product that should intrigue even the casual gamer – it’s success will not just be down to Nintendo’s in-house games – we know they will be quality – it will also be determined by the support of third-party companies.

I believe if it was the Nintendo “GameBoy” DS there would be any debate as to whether it would succeed. GameBoy is a massive brand and practically everyone has at least one, whether it be the original, color, or advance etc.

The DS won’t have GameBoy in it’s name however that is the point I’m making. Sony has created a brand in PlayStation that almost guarantees it success – casual gamers around the world will want one. Many people even now are saying there going to buy one even though we know little about it or the games it may have. Where Nintendo will have the upper hand (apart from their knowledge of the market of course) is in it’s exclusives – Mario, Zelda and Pokemon games in particular – the games that usually sell the best on the GBA.

I don’t think the GBA will be beaten off the top spot by the PSP or DS however unless Nintendo shift their focus from the GBA to the DS, then it could get interesting.

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Rizz:
The Nintendo DS? Why not the Nintendo GameBoy DS? DS I assume standing for dual screen. Nintendo handheld consoles have always been a sure success, but this one I’m not too sure about. Mainly because the name lacks the words ‘game’ and ‘boy’. For 15 years (I think) GameBoys’ have been one of, if not the most popular games system on the market. Along with technical improvements, the GameBoys’ popularity to both hardcore and casual gamers has also improved. I am thinking that people recognize the name ‘GameBoy’ and think of great gaming worthy of it’s price tag, but when they see ‘Nintendo DS’, they’re not going to be sure. Less informed people may think ‘sure it’s a Nintendo handheld, but, it’s not a GameBoy’.

I myself am not sure about the whole thing myself. The cheap batteries from my corner shop (ones that i can afford) will power my original GBA for around 3 hours. How long are they going to last when I have two screens and therefore two sets of backlights to power. I’m far too tight to go and buy some good Duracell batteries. Although I’m glad the extra screen hasn’t pushed the price up ridiculously, as I’ve heard that the retail price will be around £100.

Although a gaming machine mostly relies on it games, so I am waiting to see the games before I make any final decisions.

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FEF:
The DS. I’m not as sure as most people are on this… But I am one writing it off personally. I really see absolutely no point in having dual screens. I would love to see it work, but I really doubt it will. The whole point of having network capabilities being incorporated into the GameCube, X-Box and PS2 nowadays is to have the idea of multiplayer with neighboring screens or split screen eliminated, I’m sure. And also to gain revenue for the companies, of course.

I’m sure there will be some great games coming out for it, and the obvious multiplayer ability will boost it’s popularity I’m sure, but that will still not sway me to buy one. There just seems to be something surrounding the DS which makes me seem skeptical of it’s possibilities…

I still hope it all goes well for Nintendo, as they are as a good company as their competitors, but I will not be swayed from buying a PSP, and will almost certainly not be buying a DS.

As Johelian has said, it’s a doubled edged sword. You can’t presume the PSP will succeed, nor can you presume the DS will fail – that’s what’s great about our gaming world, variety.

I just think that the PSP will deliver, as it is everything in one which I want, and that the fact that dual screens does not appeal to me in the slightest.

And Scorpio, just cause the PSP has the word PlayStation in it will also work for Gameboys. If they call it the Nintendo Gameboy DS, brand name will insure more sales than just calling it the Nintendo DS. Gameboy is already the leading handheld console, we all know that, and brand name means a lot in todays world, which is why the PS2 has succeeded.

I would love to see it work, I truly do, but somehow I just don’t see it happening. I don’t think Dual Screen is a good enough innovation to be the next step in handheld gaming, however I think the PSP being everything in one will be.

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Dark_Link:
What I don’t understand is, that Nintendo expect the DS to be around alongside the GameCube and GBA, but have made it too similar to the Game Boy. However, I do not think that they would release a console that is almost identical to one that is already out. The only explanation I can give for this, is maybe they have a few things up their sleeve, (actually I am sure they do), at E3 2004. The problem, is that I don’t know what these ‘up the sleeve’ things could be. The fact that Konami and possibly EA are supporting the DS, does give me some confidence. I just hope that the DS doesn’t go the way of the Virtual Boy. Considering that Nintendo are such an innovative company, I think, and hope, that they will make a success of it. As long as it has a good number of in house games – including Shigeru Miyamoto’s creations – then I am sure it will be worth it’s salt. All that is left to do now, is wait and see. Onwards to E3 2004!