Nintendo DS Photo and Article at USA Today

USA Today has an article up that includes a photo of the Nintendo DS. Among other things apparently the DS includes Bluetooth. Here is a link to the article and the Nintendo DS photo:

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/2004-05-11-nintendo-ds_x.htm

Looks better than I thought it would. I really hope this thing takes off because it will get game designers thinking in two screens. Hopefully this will show some people the value in having 2 screens for a game.

That’s the DS? Not just a mock-up? If so, wow, it looks marvelous, much less unwieldy than I could have guessed. Also shows Nintendo continuing to design systems that look less toy-like, though I’m not sure that really resembles today’s PDAs that much, does it? (I hardly ever look at them, but my impression is that they look like journalist pocket notebooks still.)

Four face buttons! Fighters thrive! Woo! :D I hope that the L and R buttons are there, just not very visible. And if its got the power for 3D, it really should have an analog stick, but I’m not sure how feasible that would be. We’ll have to see how Sony did it with the PSP (maybe it snaps in and out of place). I guess the stylus goes in the little area where the second screen flips up? Seems a little unwieldy, but without having tried, who knows?

In any case, with Square Enix supposedly having a launch title ready, Dynasty Warriors coming to the platform and it being said that there’s already 100 developers on board, looks quite bright for this platform. I’m really, really excited and glad it plays GBA games. I can’t wait to see more. Hell, wait until Sony unveils the PSP, can’t wait to see how sexy that looks. While I’m saddened that this does look like the end of 2D, its still not set in stone that either system will approach the market share of the GBA…I remain unconvinced that some 3D games (platformers, action games, sports games and so on, obviously it would probably be fine for fighters, FPSes and racers) will be able to face the problems of a small screen and the usual lack of concentration that comes from gaming on the move on either the PSP or the DS. But we’ll see.

The portable market sure is going to heat up. While I’m really glad to hear that the DS plays Gameboy games (I think USA Today would be trustworthy) as it means I don’t have to carry around two portables, which would suck. I wonder how much the media costs to produce and I think we might be getting a little dangerously small if they are indeed smaller than the GBA carts… :P

-Kitsune

It would have to have them, if its true that backwards compatibility with the other gameboy is present.

Bah, that’s right. I forgot about that! Its too late at night for this! :P

They are saying that some of the early games have been leaked and include games called WarioWare, Inc DS, Metroid Prime Hunters DS and Super Mario 4 x 4, among things like PictoChat???

As we’d say in Japanese, MASUMASU POWAA-APPU!

-Kitsune

And the backwards compatibility puts to rest Nintendo’s claim that the DS will not be a Gameboy replacement. If it’s successful, it will replace the existing Gameboy. If it’s not, I wonder how long Nintendo will let the DS cannibalize sales from the SP before they axe it?

I’m still not really convinced about this whole two-screens thing, though. It seems gimmicky, and makes the thing a lot less portable than the SP. It looks even bigger than the original GBA, in fact.

I think the design itself doesn’t look half bad. From the looks of it, the DS has more buttons then the SP? Or did they take out the L & R button and place them in the front?

I like it, though I’d prefer a stubby joystick to a D pad… hopefully it’s a good D pad. Mario Kart DD DS with bluetooth is going to rock on principle…

Drawing clouds on the touchscreen to catch baby Mario? Hmm. I must admit that there’s a part of me that could see drawing runes as a part of spellcasting in an RPG… the close the runes are drawn to an ‘ideal’ rune, the better the spell goes off?

Ah, maybe that’s crazy. It’ll be interesting to see where developers go with it.

Well, they could just use the extra 2 face buttons to replace the L and R buttons if they wanted to.

However, I 'd imagine they’re on the shoulders and not visible from the picture. I’d also imagine that the stylus lives in a groove in whichever edge isn’t the opening for the carts.

If this thing retails for $150 and they don’t drop the price on the GBA SP from $99, how is it not going to be viewed as a replacement for the GBA SP when you get all this cool extra stuff for $50 more and it plays all the GBA games?

I will admit that I hate the idea less now that they’ve confirmed full backwards compatability, though I still have trouble coming up with practical uses for the 2nd screen in games aside from RPG inventory or maps (which is a nice convenience, but hardly a paradigm shifting breakthrough warranting a whole slew of HW).

What might get me is if one of the “new” carts (included with purchase) has what amounts to the Palm OS on it. It has a stylus and touchscreen, they’re talking about new cart technology that allows some large quantity of on-cart memory. It should be easy to include the basic PDA apps and enough memory to handle a good number of entries. With a bluetooth connection on your PC, poof you’ve got syncing.

I’m just babbling.

Just guessing from the pic, I’d say the triggers are there.

The placement of the D pad and buttons means that your index fingers will be right where the triggers would go, plus it’s been a complaint on the GBA. So +2 buttons.

That’s a very non-Nintendo shaped D-pad, however

How are you supposed to draw on it while holding it with one hand? Obviously I haven’t touched the thing, but I don’t see how I’m supposed to hold it while using a stylus; it doesn’t seem like it would fit comfortably in one hand like a PDA. I guess I could put it on my lap, but that doesn’t sound too comfortable. Maybe on the food tray on a plane, as that is usually the only time I’m even using my GBA.

It just seems like a GBA with an extra screen. Sort of a GameBoy AlittlemoreAdvance, which is not a bad thing, but I can’t say I’m particularly excited about it. Hopefully there are some cool things to be done with that second screen that I never thought I needed until now.

I still don’t get the point of two screens, especially a touch screen. Innovation for innovation’s sake just doesn’t sell me like it does some folks.

Yeah, like I said–gimmicky. And the trade-off (the thing looks like it’s about twice the size of an SP) doesn’t seem worth the gains. A single, larger screen probably would have been more useful.

Bluetooth is definitely a cool addition, though, and four buttons is a Good Thing. But overall, I’m pretty lukewarm on the DS.

I can see a big use for it in certain types of games – strategy and RPG type games where having a secondary display area for stats and the like could really help the game.

Take Fire Emblem, it would be very cool if when I highlighted an enemy a little detail area appeared below with the stats of that enemy, what they were carrying, etc.

Or, say, Harvest Moon: FOMT. The touch screen would be able to provide a clearer interface to getting to all the options than the obscure combinations there now. Since these things don’t require rapid action, it’s not big deal that you can’t hit them quickly.

The other big thing would be interactive menus. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m mostly a PC gamer, but the tab-style navigation in all console/gameboy game menus is a pain in the ass. Understandable, but a pain in the ass. Having a touchscreen makes using menus a one touch operation.

So, yeah, it’s not exactly a revolution, and it’s hard to see where it helps at all in some games, but it isn’t exactly pointless.

That would be useful, but I still don’t see the advantage of having an extra screen when you could show the same info by splitting one large screen. OTOH, the large screen would also benefit games that don’t have any need for an extra display.

The other big thing would be interactive menus. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m mostly a PC gamer, but the tab-style navigation in all console/gameboy game menus is a pain in the ass. Understandable, but a pain in the ass. Having a touchscreen makes using menus a one touch operation.

I like interactive menus, too, but this looks like it would be clumsy to use. The form factor is already designed around two-handed operation, so using a stylus is going to require some juggling. It’s not like you are going to keep the stylus in hand while you use the D-pad and the buttons. PDAs are designed to be operated with one hand, while the other holds the stylus. That’s not the case here.

Um, you could hold the pen in your mouth? :wink:

Anyway, looks great. I’m getting one as soon as they’re out, unless the game selection is terrible.

So many GBA RPGs and quasi-RPGs use the select button to get to important inventory (etc.) screens…I think of the layers and layers in FFTA, some of which I didn’t even know were there until well into the game.

It seems to me that all those games would be a lot easier to play with a second screen that was well coordinated with the first. You wouldn’t use it constantly, but you wouldn’t have to dig to make necessary adjustments, either.

I don’t know if a stylus would be the best way to use the second screen. I would have envisioned a “switch screens” button that froze the first screen (?) and moved your cursor to the second. But the platform does seem promising.

(I hope it can be emulated well…)

Ok, the screens are three inches, and guesstimating from the picture that makes it about 7" x 6" unfolded, 7" x 4" stowed.

Compared to the GBA, which is about 3" square. No way I’m hauling that shit around.

I think this is going to be an utter failure in the US.