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01/21/2004

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» Nintendo DS: Definitely Stupid from Clickable Culture
The folks over at Nintendo must be dipping into Mario's magic mushrooms. In what sounds like an April Fool's joke, they've announced the Nintendo DS, a new handheld gaming [Read More]

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Mike

The question for me isn't the viability of the new DS system. Then again, I still own my Virtual Boy I bought on the first day, and there's a NeoGeo Pocket in my desk drawer still, so my judgement is a bit on the stupid side.

However, my question is about the whole "third pillar" ideal Nintendo seems to be promoting. It's a portable device, yet they don't want to replace the GameBoy. Are people going to be willing to have two portable devices from the same company? Especially in light of the Sony PSP?

Frankly, I'm pretty skeptical. While two screens for seeing stats and maps in a game sound good in theory, hitting the start button to get that information never bothered me before. To me, it just sounds like an expensive gimmick.

Jake of 8bitjoystick.com

I dunno. They thought the Virtual Boy was a good idea.

Snowmit

I'm going to wait for the games before I pass judgement. But it's an interesting idea to say the least. Hopefully the genius designers at Nintendo have come up with some really cool uses for the two screens.

Off the top of my head:
-A Tank game where you can see both what the gunner sees and what the driver sees. On one screen you're careening through the battlefield, on the other you're frantically rotating the turret and popping off rounds.
-A squad based tactical shooter where you can only see what your (two) squad commanders see. You navigate them through tense tight corridors and set up crossfires.
-A standard first person steal/shooter where you have access to mini spy drones that you can send out and use to scout and plan your moves. As you sneak through the level, you can monitor your drone cameras and see what happens.
-An adventure game where the real world and the spirit world overlap. One screen shows you the spirit world and the other shows you the real world. You have to do clever things and solve puzzles that involve poppingf back and forth between them.
-Any tactical turn based combat game that involves a lot of stats. Fire Emblem and Final Fantasy Tactics Advance both involve a lot of cycling through menus. How much better would it be if that information was available immediatly? A lot better. I spend a lot of time in Fire Emblem wishing that I had better access to information.
-A adventure game where you control two characters simultaenously. Genuinely simultaneously. And they can move independently.
-All of the applications of the GBA/GCN connectivity (except for PacMan Vs, I guess).

Walter

I assume its lameness until Nintendo can actually announce a cool use of the screens. At best I can only think of an incredibly rapid Wario Ware, and co-op games that benefit from each player knowing where the other is and what they're doing, without forcing them to stay on the same screen.

Ben Sawyer

There are too many remaining questions on this device to make me pass a ton of judgement. It also important to keep in mind third-party developers still aren't raking it in on the catridge based GBA platform so it will be interesting to see how much play Nintendo gets on this device from third-party developers.

As for the two screen thing - I would say it could be very cool and I applaud Nintendo for doing something out-of-the-box like this. It's not virtual-boy by any means and anyone who's had two monitors for their PC knows how different it just feels let alone works to have.

My hopes are this is a very cool playing device and the gameplay it can create is very new and refreshing. I think if it does that then it can have a nice lifetime. Don't also underestimate the power of key franchises like Pokemon to create big things here although I agree with the comment above that how this fits with the GBA and GC and works from a product positioning standpoint is going to be very interesting.

The good thing is we only have a few months for the details to come out fully to a point we can more decidely pass judgement.

- Ben

Bowler

While I'm all for multi-screen gaming, I worry that it's going to be like the "camera buttons" or "camera stick" of the past systems (Virtua Boy was already mentioned).

It seems that Miyamoto comes up with a hardware idea for one game and it's forced with a shoe-horn into the rest of Nintendo's lineup.

Also, I'm a bit worried that they're coming out with too many portable systems too fast. This will be what, three portable systems in six years? They're about to shoot themselves in the foot.

Draigon

I think it's great even if it doesn't get anywhere. I could care less about profits and sales, I'm a consumer. :) I want to be dazzled with innovation not stock reports. I'm more interested in people who take chances and fail than those who don't and succeed like everyone else.

Immediately after I heard about it, ideas started popping in my head. Anything like that, successful or not, is good for creative artforms. Whether or not it'll stand against other portable devices, I don't think anyone has heard enough but PSP or DS to say. Brand names and gimicks only get so far.

weckman

Think back people, a two screen portable gaming device from Nintendo? Now there flies an old hat, landing on the dust of ages. I owned such a device 20 years ago. Mario and Luigi were busy loading trucks with boxes running wild on several conveyor belts. With Mario on one side of the belts and Luigi on the other, catching the boxes before they fell and lifting them up to the next belt was a eye-crossing load of fun. Left, right, left, right, left your eyes went, always in a hurry to keep up with your fingers pushing the little buttons below the screens.
When closed, both screens safe on the inside, it looked quite a bit like my GBA SP does, now that I think of it.

Sure, we're talking black on gray LCD displays here with all moving elements 'printed' into them, but even back then the concept fascinated me.
I even had a similar device once which featured three widescreens on top of each other, though that seemed like a step to far. Two screens like in two eyes and two hands seems just ideal.

Well, as I own every Gameboy ever released I will no doubt continue the series and enjoy the new 'double feature' just as much as all my previous precious little gaming gadgets.

Dan

And WHY does the scene need large screens instead of a Game&Watch 2000 clone? Becuase in the days of G&W, the average user was a pre-teen, an early teen at best. Nowadays, mobile gaming is more acceptable, the gamer can be much older and he is used to goodlooking games on the TV or even better on a PC monitor at close range. That means he expects a large screen image. Fill my eyes! The PSP will deliver that , the .....you name it... will not.

Dan

What the gaming scene needs is not a 2-screen device, but a device with a LARGE mutha of a screen - think PSP. Sony is cheering right now, they now their PSP will wipe the floor with this one.

Robyn

So you're sitting on the bus, bored, crammed in there like sardines, with a million other people. You pull out your gameboy SP and it's like instant suprenerd magnet. You're on the bus. You don't want to talk about what game you are playing with the smelly kid beside you, and you REALLY dont want him looking over your shoulder and giving advice.
Now imagine the screen is BIGGER and harder to hide.

The idea behind the portable game systems is not only can you put them in your pocket, but only you see what's going on, it's private.

Additionally, how would you port about a larger screen?

Maybe if it was all spaceage and u could fold it like paper....

;)

Kahn

Toejam and Earl
Adventures of Cookie & Cream

Kahn

Toejam and Earl
Adventures of Cookie & Cream

nowak

I don't understand the assumptions that every gaming machine is in direct competition with another. Gaming is becoming saturated to the point where you can have machines with "game related functions" not actually competing with each other for mind-share or market-share -- instead, having games is just another feature.

Everyone seems to be of the mindset that the DS is meant to compete with the PSP. Which is silly to me as they are obviously completely different in focus and function. If Sony can make high-end do-everything cellphones, without worrying about it undermining their camera or gaming or portable music divisions; why can't Nintendo have different gaming devices for different functions?

If there is room for Sony to establish a niche with its MiniDisc format, in a sea of portable discmans and hard-drive mp3 players and flash-memory mp3 players and portable radios and other audio format players; why can't there be room for, obviously, niche gaming devices? Gaming is becoming ubiquitous, just like digital music.

And hey:
Phillips has a CD player coming out that has embeded java games
does that immediately put it into competition with the PSP?

LDS single

Two screens. Really. Why, I must ask, don't they just make a BIGGER SCREEN? They have a name for such things -- they call it a "widescreen".

Two screens is not clever, it's not impressive. If they want to impress me, they should project the images onto glasses you wear, and give you two golf-ball sized wireless controllers so you can play discreetly -- even with your hands in your pockets. The technology exists - they just need to get with it.

Jodi

I think what's important to remember is that we know fuck all about this, apart from that it has two screens and that they will be in a vertical configuration.
That's it.
There's more to it, I'm sure of that. Give it some time.
I think Nintendo just wanted to get the news out in the open, before rumours started spreading about this and that Megaton and hats and penguins with trampolining snowboards or whatever.

Fabricated

This would be the third portable we've "had" to buy from Nintendo.

I don't really care how awesome it will or won't be, it's a rip off. Hello Sony PSP!

T1nman33

I'm writing this on a PC configuration that has 3--count 'em--3 monitors hooked up to a single computer. That's after about 2 years of working with dual-screen configurations.

You can never have enough screen real estate. So I understand what they're trying to do; frankly, it's a no-brainer, given that every game since the original Zelda has had a "sub-screen" of some kind or another.

That said, yes, this could easily be another "Virtual Boy" disaster.

I've given Nintendo the benefit of the doubt before, and I'm going to do it again. Hey, Apple decided to release a computer without a floppy drive, and it didn't change the whole universe. But Apple started releasing computers that weren't "beige boxes" and now we have PC cases made of exotic metals and gemstones. Win some, lose some.

All I'm saying is that the IDEA is sound.

C. Foust

'Two screens. Really. Why, I must ask, don't they just make a BIGGER SCREEN? They have a name for such things -- they call it a "widescreen".'

Agreed. Then if a developer wanted two separate displays, they could just utilize a split screen.

'Two screens is not clever, it's not impressive. If they want to impress me, they should project the images onto glasses you wear, and give you two golf-ball sized wireless controllers so you can play discreetly -- even with your hands in your pockets. The technology exists - they just need to get with it.'

I don't know about you, but I'd rather be seen as a guy playing a gameboy, than as a guy wearing funny glasses and moving his hands in his pockets while staring at nothing. :D

Pumpkin

3rd portable that we HAD to buy? Have you no patience? I skipped over the GBA and waited for the SP. Games are cheaper when you wait. Hardware is usually either cheaper OR better when you wait. We don't HAVE to buy this. It's a WANT not a NEED.

And yes, I'm a gamer. I just have enough common sense to wait a bit and see how things go before I pick stuff up - less money wasted=more enjoyment.

Walter

The problem with a widescreen is that it structurally deconventionalizes whatever aims Nintendo has in evolving gameplay. A widescreen makes normal games with a widescreen view the convention, and developers will immediately ignore the creative prospects of split screens (incidentally, the word is that the screens are aligned vertically, not horizontally). The physical and technological split acts as a kind of filter for design approaches.

ZipperBoyy

Perhaps we really aren't thinking wide enough here folks. 2 screens, 2 processors. What is it that we could have 2 of to make a concept like this really work? 2 players, along with 2 sets of controls. This way, you could have el-neato 2 player games (ala 4 Swords) and only have 1 cart, and 1 machine. The top screen could be flipped (software) and it could be really neat.

Cpt Biggles

I've gotta go with the "maybe" sayers here. I fully admit to being a portable gaming afficionado, (seems to be the only time I get in gaming these days is on the go...), and I've more Game Boys lying around than I'd care to admit. And in so far as this DS goes, I've got to wait and see. We've nothing in so far as designs or real world specs about the machine. Throw whatever numbers about giga-this and mega-that at me, I could care less; give me a real world reference and I'll make a real decision. Just as with the GBA - Mega-whoonow in the Hertzy-gibnub? Ah, power of a SNES in a handheld. Ok - I'm game.
Time will tell with this one.

And say what you want about the crummy press release and piss-poor information being given to us - It's got us talking, hasn't it?

MasterFugu

First of all, it seems Nintendo has a sadistic sense of humor. They like toying with our minds. I'm not saying this is not real, just the opposite in fact, it's just that they probably find seeing everyone throw a hissy-fit over a miniscule and vague announcement just as amusing as I do. It's too early in the game to make any real judgements on the DS. It could turn out to be an ill-conceived, awkward device that causes blood vessels in one's head to explode from over-stimulation, just as easily as it could rock gamers' socks off. The basic premise of the system sounds promising, but seems that it will be a very difficult task to pull off successfully. There's a lot of room for them to screw this up, I'm just hoping they know what they're doing. This is going to sound more than a bit cliche, but even a broken clock is right twice a day [unless broken means said clock doesn't have hands, has been smashed into unrecognizable bits of scrap or has been melted into a puddle of hetergeneous slag]. With so much information concerning the DS up in the air, Nintendo could still pull the proverbial rabbit out of their collective asses.

One other complaint I have [this doesn't just apply to Nintendo], is the way everyone seems to be into using acronyms in naming things, such as the Gameboy SP; the billion and two products with XP in their name; models of cars such as WRX and H2, as well as different versions of most cars [luxury/power upgrades and such] with names like LS, LX, etc.; you get the idea. Nintendo needs a good, original, non-cliche name [X-Box, please, enough with the corny X already] like Bad Mutha..., Chipmunk Edition Blood-Crazy Killbot, SeizureToy or Spanktron.

MasterFugu

Maybe Nintendo will go the politically correct route, as well as stick to tradition, and name it the AndrogenousGamePerson Improved XUGJUFBXYTHECVMSAFCGVLLVIEWOSDCBJ. They could try for a more risque effect and title the DS the Interactive PleasureToy.

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