Seeing Double with my Dual Screen!

It has Dual Screens (DS) mounted on top of one another and the lower screen is touch sensitive. The touch screen has brought an entirely new way of interacting with video games into the fray. There is also onboard WiFi support, a stylus pen and a bulit in microphone! Nintendo’s addition of WiFI was a big surprise to me. The company has always pussy footed around the subject of online gaming. The DS to me is Nintendo’s official step into the world of wireless network/online play. We don’t call Nintendo “the innovators” around here for nothing folks. Don’t be fooled though, the DS is not as flashy as its competitor the PSP, but it also has some massive power under its hood. The DS’s graphical chip can churn out two different displays at once; impressive stuff! You could say the DS is a little more powerful than the Nintendo 64.

The DS is about 6 x 3 inches in diameter and is about 2 inches thick. It weighs very little, much less than the PSP in fact. This is a negative in my eyes; little weight demeanors the quality of a product in my mind for some reason. The DS feels more like a toy than an actual electronic device I think. One thing Nintendo did get right though was the flip screen developed from their previous handheld system, the Game Boy SP. The flip screen provides much needed screen protection making the DS a very durable device. PSP is at a clear disadvantage without proper screen protection; it almost defeats the purpose of a portable gaming system. With my DS, I can just throw it into my pocket in order to run for a bus or from the cops (closing the flip screen pauses the game and puts the system into a sleep state).

Over here in the west the DS is clearly falling to the PSP which has been picking up steam steadily since its release a year ago. However, over there in the east the DS is smashing sales records! Famitsu (a popular Japanese gaming magazine), has reported that 1.5 million units of the DS were sold in December 2005 alone! This accounts for more than a quarter of the total units sold in Japan since its launch in 2004. This is not a surprising statistic though, considering the kind of games coming out over there. Japanese gamers have the privilege of discovering games like Square Enix’s Slime: mori mori, the latest in the dragon quest franchise based off their popular slime character. Not to mention a whole stash full of RPG’s most of which may never see the light of day over here in North America. Sigh… I got to stay positive. Word is Ubisoft has struck a deal with Korean Sonnori Company to bring Astonishia Story for the PSP to North America! Maybe Nintendo fans will get just as lucky with some similar type of deal between another game developer and a publisher here in North America.

Contributed by: Cain
Sources: Game Spot , Famitsu
Ubisoft , Sonnori , Square Enix

- February 18, 2006

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