The Nintendo DS
So it had begun. Sony and even Microsoft, the newcomer, were in the
leads. Again, they were behind. The enemies had a slew of technology
at their hands—CD and DVD players, connections across the Internet,
more 3rd party support…it seemed hopeless. All they had
was a gaming machine and a small handheld device, which was soon to be
challenged anyway. So, it was up to their R&D chiefs, Jay and Jere,
to figure something out. Something, ANYTHING, to grab the public eye
and put them back on top.
Then one day, it came.
Jay came rushing through the double doors holding a giant binder.
“I’ve got it mate!” he said ecstatically. “I’ve got our
brainchild! This thing here will crush the competition!” He set
the folder down.
Jere looked through it as a smile grew on his face. "You’re a
genius man! This is it! I smell a raise, fame, crushing Micro—"
“I smell lunch,” Jay interrupted. And with that, the two happy
R&D engineers skipped off to tell their boss the news over a nice ham
Other workers in the room checked to see if their chiefs were gone.
With the all clear, they rushed back to the golden portfolio. The
Portfolio of Power. An enchanted item. Was this enough to give them
a first place spot again? The worker’s hand trembled as he opened the
There was no CD player. No DVD machine. No remote, hard drive,
drier, or solar powered unit. Instead there was a screen. Two
actually. The caption under the sketch was read aloud.
“Meet the Nintendo DS.”
Hmm, I dunno what to say. Everyone
was waiting for big news from Nintendo, and we got this. This…this
two-headed thing. We know that it’s portable, is not going to
replace the GameCube or Game Boy Advance, and that it has…ta-daa! two
screens. What a wonder device!
Come on Nintendo! What are you
thinking?! In a world of combining multiple technologies into one,
you go with combining one console with two-screens? On top of that,
it’s a separate, handheld system. What’s wrong with the GBA? Why
would anyone want to carry around two portable devices, one with an
extra head? In my opinion, this DS would have made more sense as an
If I was in that R&D room, I would
have been thinking about successful additions to the ‘Cube or GBA.
For example, GameCube is behind partly because it was immediately an
archaic device: it only played games. The modern console plays music
CDs (an obvious necessity!), DVDs, and can work through the Internet
to play multiplayer with people across the world. A more practical
investment would have been to make an adapter to do one or more of
those things. Or, remember that Panasonic Q? Ninty could have
released something similar to that (and cheaper.) THAT would have
surely competed with Sony and Microsoft.
The DS. The dual screens. This
feature is advertised as a way to see multiple views at once, stopping
the need to manually switch between views. For example, we all know
about that soccer game, where you can now watch your player and the
entire field simultaneously. With an RPG, one screen will probably
show the normal field view while the other shows the map. Ok, neat
idea, but honestly, WHO CARES? Personally, I’ve never had a problem
with toggling screens. The lower screen (the map, full view, etc.) is
never important enough to have up all of the time anyway. Like, in
FF7, not only was the map transparent and in the bottom right hand
corner, but you could enlarge it at will. No big deal. Geez, imagine
racing games: one screen from the view inside the car and the other
from the track. Wouldn’t that cause headaches trying to get things
Let’s talk about another time Nintendo
had this explosion of creativity. Let’s see, it was 1995. The system
looked like a pair of red binoculars on a stand. It was innovative,
because by looking through the eyepiece, you could play the games in
3D. I’m talking about the one and only Nintendo Virtual Boy. And we
all know how THAT went. The thing is, the Virtual Boy had a more
interesting premise than this DS, brought something new to the market,
and existed in a more, hmm, “intelligent” gaming era. Something tells
me that the mindless mainstream gamers of today won’t be too impressed
by a handheld system with two LCD screens.
Don’t get me wrong, the DS is a unique
idea, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s 1) here at a bad
time, and 2) completely random. Nintendo should be focusing on ways
to get on top, not ways to diversify their stuff for the heck of it.
Honestly now, how will adding an extra screen do anything to
Perhaps I shouldn’t be so quick to
judge. Nintendo has said little so far, and more will be revealed at
E3. Back in the day I never would have doubted Nintendo, but all I’ve
been seeing recently is one poor decision after another, so I really
don’t know what to think. I cannot comprehend with how this
“dual-screen” business could be anything amazing, but only time will