August 23, 2006

It Has Twice As Many Screens

Filed under: digital — mhoye @ 12:56 pm

Partly because it’s a remarkable piece of technology and mostly because I’m weak, I am now the proud owner of a Nintendo DS-Lite. And I’ve got to say, holy crap; the DS-Lite is just a recklessly, irresponsibly awesome piece of portable fun.

Let’s review.

  • Touchscreen: hot. Totally natural gameplay after you’ve played with it for a few minutes.
  • The two screens: also hot. They’re both nice, bright and crisp, and put to very good use in the games I’ve tried.
  • Being able to play your old Gameboy games, with no problems at all: hot.
  • The wifi: way hot. People who sell DS games will probably also have a demo station set up, and you can download demo versions of games from within thirty feet or so of the store just by opening the thing up and clicking yes. And the Wii, when it’s released, will be able to do the same thing as the demo stations. The real killer is that a lot of games will actually let the device act the same way for multiplayer – one person has the cartridge, and your fellow players can join up to that game wirelessly, and without needing their own copy of the game. Which is so goddamned hot for a piece of inexpensive pocket-portable technology that it’s difficult to believe.
  • Close the lid to pause, resume exactly where you left off, seamlessly. Entirely expected, but nevertheless hot.
  • The DS is also going to be an accessory for the Wii in the same way that the GBA was accessible for the Gamecube: hook them up, and you get an entirely new game experience. Tres hot. Hotter still is the fact that you don’t need to “hook them up”, per-se; that’ll all happen wirelessly.
  • And, it’s worth saying, it’s going to do all of this for around half of the price of everything else in its space. It’s also worth saying that the feature-set we’re talking about here isn’t even on the horizon on any other system – the PSP doesn’t add any value to the PS2, and there isn’t an Xbox-related portable at all.

Verdict: awesome.


  1. More importantly: New Super Mario Brothers: hotter than a whore’s bottom.

    Comment by Mike Kozlowski — August 23, 2006 @ 7:22 pm

  2. I’ve got Metroid Prime: Hunters almost wrapped up, and New Super Mario Bros is next on the list.

    I’m a little ambivialent about Hunters the longer I play it. It’s clearly a Pretty Good game, but it’s also clearly not a great game. Not in terms of gameplay, but mostly because the game’s writers (not “programmers”, mind you: writers) just don’t have the same good taste that the people at Retro Studios do. A lot of the things you scan read “untranslatable” or something dumb. A lot of the stuff you want to scan, you just can’t, and sometimes it wanders off into that bad-sci-fi realm of too-much-information-to-make-sense.

    Like, in “Echoes”; Light energy? Dark energy? Sure, whatever – I can get behind that, this game is about light versus dark. But in “Hunters”, it’s stuff like “a beam of supercooled plasma”, which just doesn’t make sense at all. A BB-gun fires a ball of supercooled plasma; that sort of thing reads like a sci-fi story written by a ten year old. The story just doesn’t hang together or have the elegance that the large-screen Metroids did.

    Also, the fact that you keep pounding down the same chumps over and over again doesn’t help much. That’s true in lots of games, but one of the nice thing about Prime and Echoes was that it didn’t feel that way all the time.

    The gameplay is pretty good, but the rest of it is only OK. I mean, I liked it quite a bit, but it’s not super-great. I’m going to have to see how the multiplayer looks.

    Comment by Mike Hoye — August 23, 2006 @ 7:57 pm

  3. Ah! Welcome to the world of the DS-Lite. I’ve had mine for a few months now. It’s crazy fun and the deivce it self is way cool (the pause and power down on closeure of the unit is such a simple, good idea, its one that most people wouldn’t think of). Let me know when your around and I’ll get Mario Cart up and running – pwnage time. :)

    Comment by Jamie — August 31, 2006 @ 12:33 pm

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