Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Pink Nintendo DS

I purchased a pink Nintendo DS handheld gaming console for my daughters. Dad gets to play too.

Jaded Gamer Gets New Life
The problem with being 31 and having played games on most consoles and most of the computer greats is that everything becomes a derivative of something else - it's like writing music. With the advent of the Nintendo Wii's motion sensative (and pointer) controls, I've found that "everything old is new again."

The Truth about Game Conoles
Many people argue over the Wii's merits, the XBOX 360's entrenchment (which the Wii has met in installed base in 3 months, not 13), or Sony's PS3 debacle, but the core of the issue is spoken here: "That's the parable, I guess. A controller is as good as the game. A system is as good as its library. Far all these interstitial lamentations, all the saber rattling and console war propaganda, there is a simple remedy: a breathtaking exclusive experience." [source]

The NDS has given me games I've never played before, ever, as well as many I have, which I largely avoid. Like the Wii, it gives me exclusive experiences - though nothing breathtaking yet.

Does your XBOX 360 give you a breathtaking exclusive experience? If so, then that's your console; but remember, most exclusive games aren't really exclusive - they could be done elsewhere.

Exclusive (near Breathtaking) Experiences
I will go over the aspects of the NDS games we have that make them unique and fun to this jaded gamer. The latter ones listed are the best.

  • Advance Wars: Second Strike
    There is nothing about this game that makes this turn-based strategy game stand out; it's fun, but not exclusive. It's cool having the second screen to read the information of a unit or square of terrain always on hand, but little else. I don't even bother using the stylus.
  • Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin
    While a great game, and having the map always visible, or the character / bestiary window always open alternatively, is cool, basically I'm just glad to see a Castlevania game that lives up to the fun factor of Symphony of the Night on my PSX. It has two characters you control alternatively, the other always following you. Great fun. Nothing exclusive, and little use for the stylus.
  • Phoenix Wright, Ace Attorney: Justice for All
    The first exclusive game - I've never played this kind of game before. You're in a Japanese courtroom, you're a defense attorney with amnesia trying to piece together your defense (and the case) on the fly. You have to notice key points of evidence easily overlooked, or even bad turns of phrase you can exploit against a prosection's witness. Very fun for a jaded gamer, as it's done well and I've never played anything quite like it, even in text / point and click adventure days.
  • Hotel Dusk: Room 215
    The... best... game... period. It makes you turn your NDS and use it like a book. Unlike most "choose your own adventure" games, once you make a decision as to what question you ask, you'll often lose the other permanently - that's it! No finding out what that other line of questioning might have gained you. Exploration, thinking deeply about each of the characters you meet, and piecing together the novelesque puzzle of a world you're in. You're a proto-typical burnt out police detective turned traveling salesman / finder of people who don't want to be found, but the dialogue and artwork is amazingly good. I feel safe saying nothing like this has been done before.
I don't believe that Hotel Dusk: Room 215 or Phoenix Wright, Ace Attorney: Justice for All could be done on computers - why? Technically they're more than capable; the problem is what people expect from them. They'd expect 3d people in Hotel Dusk, not hand animated stills, and that would never work for the presentation. Phoenix Wright would be looked at as some sort of non-game game. The medium shapes the perception of the games.

Accessorize Your NDS
Get a G6 Lite and a Passcard 3; they are often bundled together. I'll speak no more on that.

Why I Bought an NDS
Maria Alejandra told me to. I was complaining about money, wasting money on my GP2X (which broke, shoddy manufacturing), and her counter was "Why don't you get that one that can play Brain Age?" I told her "Because it costs $130." Her response, "So?"

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