Additional thoughts on Nintendo DS

Ok, I have had a couple days to play with my ds now. And although my initial thoughts were very critical I am finding that they dont bother me so much any more.A little introduction on the DS. The DS is nintendo’s newest game console creation. Although it is backwards compatible with the Gameboy Advanced games, it is not named a Gameboy. The DS is a new hand-held gaming platform which from the name you might tell, has Dual Screens(DS). For most of us developers, dual screens apply to monitors positioned side by side. The DS however has two screens positioned one over the other. At first glance these appear to be just the normal GBA screens but once you start playing you will quickly notice the difference. I do not have any stats on the screens, but it is very apparent that the new screens are tops.

In addition to having two screens, the lower screen is actually a touch pad. When I heard this was in the plan I have to admit that I thought it very odd. In addition to allowing you to chat and draw pictures with other DS owners in your area, this acts as a dynamic analog control pad.

That may not seem like much but after playing the metroid demo, and the Mario 64 DS (thats right this handheld has 2 processors as powerful as the nintendo 64) I believe this will change the way we play games in the future. Currently all games are built based on the preset of a certian number of buttons. But as you can see from the metroid demo, this lower screen/pad can be configured to have as many buttons in as many places as a user would need. So for example (again in the metroid demo) this lower pad acts not only as a live updated map of your level with your location, it also has several buttons to activate your powerups. The upper screen always has your First Person View and player statistics.

I have for a very long time played more games on my pc than my consoles because of the configuration options that are available with my keyboard. However the new options that the DS brings to the table lead me to believe that we soon have a new breed of games that allow custimization and control previously only available after many hours of configuration on a pc.

Thats all for now, but stay tuned for more….

And before I go, did I mention the sound? Oh the glorious stereo sound?

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