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Old 01-04-2006, 01:16 PM   #1
crisdecuba
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Nintendo DS: Has it Delivered on its Promises?

Looking at Nintendo's latest press release, we see that the DS has sold about 10 million units now... in Japan, it's reached the 5 million units sold mark faster than any other system ever (beating the PS2 and GBA by a few weeks). It's had 4 games (in Japan, I believe) sell more than a million copies (Mario Kart, Animal Crossing, Nintendogs, and Brain Training). It has thus far maintained a lead against the sleeker, more advanced PSP (all this, and they have not yet released the online Pokemon Diamond/Pearl - things are only going to get better).

So essentially, the system is a financial success for Nintendo, especially since they're probably making money on the hardware.

Looking back at when it was first announced, however, we see that there was this huge promise made of changing the way games are played... providing new experiences, etc. I see that certain games have delivered on this promise, with varying degrees of success (the surgery game, Meteos, Kirby, Nintendogs, Yoshi's Touch and Go), but I am not convinced that it's entirely resulted in the paradigm shift it promised to bring.

Of course, I don't know everything and havn't played many of the games, so - what do you guys think? Have you been provided with new ways of playing games that prove to be as enjoyable than the traditional methods we were accustomed to? Are its best games simply juiced-up SNES-style games with 2 screens? Have you seen the genuine benefits of dual+touch screens?
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Old 01-04-2006, 01:45 PM   #2
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Re: Nintendo DS: Has it Delivered on its Promises?

That's a good question.

Personally, it hasn't changed the way I play games, or any of that stuff. Quite honestly, the only game that I played that attempted to do anything different was Super Mario, and that control scheme totally turned me off.

To be fair, I haven't played any stylus-heavy game other than Meteos. And I don't see how that couldn't have been done with a traditional interface. Perhaps someone with a bit more experience on the DS would have better insight.
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Old 01-04-2006, 03:25 PM   #3
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Re: Nintendo DS: Has it Delivered on its Promises?

It's something that'll take a while I think. Nearly all of the games can be played with the traditional D-pad and buttons just fine.

The quality of the games is present, and that qualilty is pretty high. The innovation is taking it's time. Kirby, Pac-Pix, and Trauma Center are all steps in the right direction, but they're not quite there yet.

And IMO Pac-Pix of all things was the one that was closest to the mark. So close. It may've not been the longest or most fun, but I felt it ended up being significantly more deep than the others, stylus-interaction wise.

Brain Training is another that (might) showcase the potential well, but who know's when that's coming over here.
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Old 01-04-2006, 04:42 PM   #4
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Re: Nintendo DS: Has it Delivered on its Promises?

But also keep in mind that while it might not have changed the way you play significantly, they might have improved things in the gameplay. Rather than having to travel across screen with a cursor in Meteos, if you see it, you can touch it nearly just as fast. And in games like Nintendogs, sure they could be done with a normal interface, but the connection wouldn't be made nearly as well without actually being able to touch and talk to the dog.

Trauma Center is by far the best game involving touching tho, so far. Simply brilliant.

I think the key that we, or developers should realize is that its nice for a game to use the features, but they dont have to use all the features to be an awesome game. Dawn of Sorrow was typical awesome castlevania, and with the feature of a second screen, the game was made even better due to the constant map. What a godsend. Mario Kart DS is fantastic by itself, but with the feature of Wifi Connection, its made infinitely better. These games might only fully utilize one feature, but how wonderful the game become with even one feature realized.

I'll go ahead and say it delivered.
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Old 01-04-2006, 05:21 PM   #5
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Re: Nintendo DS: Has it Delivered on its Promises?

Actually, the second screen in Mario Kart really adds to the gameplay as well... when the squid squirts all over your screen, you can look at the second screen (the map) to maintain pretty good control of your kart. Further, you can see items being launched at you, which allow you to protect yourself if possible. Oh, and the touchscreen makes it much easier to design your own icons (this doesn't enhance gameplay, let's say, but it makes an extra feature easy to use).

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Old 01-04-2006, 11:25 PM   #6
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Re: Nintendo DS: Has it Delivered on its Promises?

I'm not sure if the DS really changes the way I play games, but the extra hardware features definitely add to the gameplay. Take Mario and Luigi for instance. I've just started to play it, and so far, it hasn't used the touch screen at all, and everything used by the dual screens can, in some form or another, be done with just one. But the fact that there's two makes just makes the game so much better without ever calling itself out for gimmickry.

Also look at Mario Kart. It's next to impossible to block red shells now without looking at the second screen to get an idea of which side it's coming from. And everytime I hear the winged blue flying up behind me, I immediately look down at the second screen to find the guy in second place so I can fall back next to him. Then there's battle mode, which you can't play without glancing down at the second screen every few seconds. Sure, all this has been done to an extent on the console versions of MK, but they just haven't been done as well.

And that's really the heart and soul of the DS for me: I can imagine all these games on other consoles, but I don't actually want to. And the fact that there's about a dozen quality titles out now that just wouldn't be nearly as good on any system but the DS is really indicative of success however you want to define it.
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Old 01-05-2006, 12:52 PM   #7
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Re: Nintendo DS: Has it Delivered on its Promises?

I think my opinion is pretty much in line with most of you. Very few DS games could not have been done on other systems, although the level of accessibility or convenience might be different. If the question is whether or not the DS changed the way we play games or brought a paradigm shift to game design in general through implementation of its hardware traits, then no, I don't think that has happened as of yet. In it may still happen, but it looks like most developers are still pretty comfortable in doing the same kinds of formulas with little additions or enhancements.

While I don't think this is a bad thing, I would like to see more games that are specifically designed for the DS and that leave a lot of old design conventions behind in favor of experimental formulas and a usual ideas. Trauma Center (as already noted) is clearly the best example of this, and I hope that more developers will put out unique games like that one.

However, I do think that it is a solid handheld and is home to many high-quality games, no doubt. If I had to choose between the DS and PSP to bring with me on a trip, I think probably eight times out of 10 I would take the DS. It may not be the "revolution" that it was sort of originally portrayed as, but it's proven is worth and I think that the games are only going to get better.
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Old 01-05-2006, 01:26 PM   #8
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Re: Nintendo DS: Has it Delivered on its Promises?

I just wanted to tell the brief story of Brad at the Nintendo Press conference at E3 this year. While they were announcing DS game after DS game, Brad leaned over to me and said, "Holy crap, I might just have to go out and get me one of those!"

If it can do that to Brad, then it's definitely pulled off a miracle.
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Old 01-05-2006, 02:05 PM   #9
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Re: Nintendo DS: Has it Delivered on its Promises?

On a side note, Nintendo has just issued an official apology on their Japanese website - the DS is sold out in Japan.

http://www.nintendo.co.jp/ds/owabi/index.html

I don't think I've seen an official acknowledgement of hardware being "sold out" from Nintendo before.

And again, all this is happening before online Pokemon Diamond/Pearl is released... I am continually impressed by its success - it should hopefully spur developers to take more risks on the system!

Another thought: perhaps looking for an entire paradigm shift isn't beneficial (yes, I know I was the one who originally brought it up) - perhaps trying to change everything is what results in games like Elektroplankton, which doesn't interest me at all... perhaps it's best if all these features are simply used to *enhance* the existing approach to videogames, with a few truly radical (yet logical) control/input implementations achieving something comepletely new...

Edit: Here's the text of the apology (a translation by Kobun on the GAF forum, which goes overboard on the honorific terms and what-not):
We heartily thank those who bestow their patronage on our humble company. Over the New Year season, demand for our portable game system "Nintendo DS" has vastly exceeded our predictions. It has gone out of stock, which we know has caused a great deal of trouble to our honored customers and retailers. For this we apologize from our hearts. We will begin to ship our product by air mail, as this will help it get to retailers a bit faster. We are shipping product every week, but as supplies will not be fully replenished until the end of January, we humbly supplicate ourselves before you and beg your favor.
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Old 01-05-2006, 04:28 PM   #10
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Re: Nintendo DS: Has it Delivered on its Promises?

First off, its interesting to note that grandiose promises of redefining and revolutionizing gaming coincide with all console launches and very rarely have they ever delivered. The PS2 was not the atomic computer that could pilot the B2 stealth bomber that the media had us believe it was. In the end, it was a great gaming machine. That being said, it could be argued that the DS has delivered more on its promises that any other system.

As to the issue of paradigm shifting issue, when the DS dual screens was announced, almost all media outlets said it couldn't be done and the our eyes would not be able to process two screens simultaneously. Touch screens have been around for years with PDA devices, but yet you rarely saw a game on PDAs with stylus touch that was noteworthy.

The greatest acheivement of the DS is that we now know we can process two screens and touching can be elevated to the highest levels of gaming. Even if the full potential has yet to be realized we now believe it can happen with touch dual screen gaming. If that's not a paradigm shift, what is? A revolution did happen. It just happened very subtly.

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Old 01-05-2006, 04:36 PM   #11
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Re: Nintendo DS: Has it Delivered on its Promises?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boy
The quality of the games is present, and that qualilty is pretty high. The innovation is taking it's time. Kirby, Pac-Pix, and Trauma Center are all steps in the right direction, but they're not quite there yet.
If Trauma Center is only a mere step in the right direction, what more are you expecting?

Feel the Magic was a bunch tech demoes and a lousy excuse for a game. But games that use the touch/dual screen/voice to seamlessly enchance the gameplay by my book is pretty damn innovative. Games like Lost in Blue, Trauma Center and Nintendogs, while not shockingly innovative, they are certainly more innovative than a majority of the games out right now, including the entire launch line-up of the Xbox 360.

You may consider these only to be steps, but what are you comparing it to?

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Old 01-05-2006, 05:23 PM   #12
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Re: Nintendo DS: Has it Delivered on its Promises?

Well what I mean by just a step is that Trauma Center, while effective in it's use of the stylus, just seemed like a very "duh" idea. It's one of my favorite games on the system, but that style of game seemed like a real no-brainer. I'm having a little trouble putting my thoughts into words, but, as I said in my post, I felt Pac-Pix (especially towards the end-game) was probably the game that came closest to that lofty goal, but it's not quite there yet either.

Maybe it's because Trauma Center felt like an evolution of Warioware. It's not that it wasn't fun, it just didn't grab me as a really new way to play games. And that's my problem. These are like, really advanced flash games I guess. Really good ones with some meat to them that I don't mind paying 30 dollars for, but flash games nonetheless.
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Old 01-05-2006, 09:16 PM   #13
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Re: Nintendo DS: Has it Delivered on its Promises?

Random Poster Alert:

Over the holidays, I, my sister, and the girl I had my first date with JUST last night ALL got DSes. My sis, who rarely plays games, is in love with Mario and Luigi, and we're both picking up Kart this weekend. Her in Seattle and me and Milwaukee, both with routers. For us, in a sense, it's not necessarily CHANGING gameplay per se, but damn my sis and I are both looking forward to our wi-fi interaction...

And that girl I dated? And hopefully again soon? (SWOON!) All about Nintendogs.

Also looking forward to the family transactions in Animal Crossing.

And my bro is soon to get a DS. Very much DS love here. Thus far.
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Old 01-06-2006, 12:20 AM   #14
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Re: Nintendo DS: Has it Delivered on its Promises?

For better or worse the DS is somehow able to capture the mind of the elusive female non-gamer.

My little stepsister loves Nintendogs, her friend loves AC, and they both love Mario Kart. My girlfriend, who pretty much chalks gaming up as a total waste of time, grabs my DS out of my hands everytime I fire up AC. It's just damn peculiar because they show no interest in every other form of videogamery. It was cute and cool for the first hour or so, but then it just got annoying. I want me my DS alone time.
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Old 01-06-2006, 12:40 AM   #15
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Re: Nintendo DS: Has it Delivered on its Promises?

Haha... guess you'll have to buy her one...

Nintendo DS sales +1

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