Details, Suprises

Some random thoughts on the DS thus far:

The mini games on Mario are really nice, all designed to show off some
of the different control routine libraries you can use on the touch
screen. There is a very funny version of missile command, but you fire
cannonballs using a catapult, which you draw back and aim with the
stylus in one fell swoop. 8 of the mini-games are unlocked to begin with;
I read somewhere that there are something like 36 in all. Quite a mixture,
some are card games and spot the Mario, others look like they have a little
more depth to them.

Menus and letter entry are a breeze with a touch screen. I’ll
tell you something for nothing, Advance Wars will be ace on this,
speed up the the move process massively. And taking the d-pad typing out of
Animal Crossing will improve the game by about 50% alone.

Double screen is nice for gameplay. I’ll confess, in Mario so far, you
are mainly looking at the top screen, but it is useful if you are ever
lost just casting your eyes downwards slightly, and seeing your map
and your objectives. And again, some of the mini games use it so that
gameplay is across both, what you are controlling is in the bottom
screen, but what is coming towards you is in the top. That gets quite
frantic actually, may take a little getting used to in action games.

The backlighting is nice, but you need to see it without, that is
funny. I should do a couple of photos for the comparison, but so you
know, I think they will be titled “lit” and “fuck knows, I think
something is on the screen, but it may as well be turned off”

Finally, I did try out the Pictochat. You can sit in a room on your
own (which is handy for testing it out when a max of 3000 people in
the country have one). Works really well, text and drawing together. I
don’t see it being used much at all, but it is nicely done.

I’m not going to pretend I think it is a PSP beater, but
then I think going on its design spec it was never going to be. I do
think though it is bringing some much-needed innovation to the gaming
table, and I am keen to see how that gets used.