Nintendo DS

Alright I gave in and bought a DS. The newly bundled Mario 64 was too much for me to resist. I justified it as an early father’s day present to myself.

It became increasingly obvious after E3 that Nintendo does not have a plan for a next-generation Game Boy, and instead they are putting most of their resources into the DS. The Game Boy Micro is a sweet little device, though.

What can I say about the DS after a few days use? It is at the same time flawed and brilliant. So much more bulky than the GBA SP, and a single screen alone is no bigger. The huge win is in the touch screen, which encourages innovative games that let you tinker, explore, or control your character in a new way. This system is just fun to use.

I picked up Kirby Canvas Curse today and I’m loving it. As Nick from 4 color rebellion said: “I here and now declare KCC the first true DS killer app. Combining elements of some of the best games of all time, Hal has created something totally fresh that sets the example of how to make a DS game.”

Indeed. This looks like the first in a string of nice DS titles. Before now, I thought the PSP could actually do the impossible: beat Nintendo’s decade-long dominance of handhelds. But by the end of this year I think we will see quite a different story, with both DS and PSP clearly co-existing for some time to come.

And of course it comes down to the types of games that are being developed. The audience for Halo is not necessarily the same as for Nintendogs. But if you are trying to create for the hardcore and casual gamers, you need something from both on your platform.

From the Wired interview with Shigeru Miyamoto:

“What’s happening with video games is the same thing that happens with anything new and interesting. At the beginning, everybody wants to see what it is. They gather around and check it out. But gradually, people start to lose interest.

“The people who don’t lose interest become more and more involved. And the medium starts to be influenced by only those people. It becomes something exclusive to the people who’ve stuck with it for a long time. And when the people who were interested in it at first look back at it, it’s no longer the thing that interested them.”

I found this very insightful — just that a game company is thinking about these things at that level — and it brings into focus my own “return” to gaming.