Monday, March 05, 2007

Nintendo DS: As good as the numbers indicate

The Nintendo DS is really as much fun as the sales figures indicate, but what's more is how games are changing - more on that after the statistics:

Handheld Game System Sales Figures

  • Game Boy Advance: 78.86 million as of December 31, 2006 (Japan: 16.64, The Americas: 40.70, Other: 21.52) including Game Boy Advance SP: 41.33 million as of December 31, 2006 (Japan: 6.50, The Americas: 23.06, Other: 11.78) and Game Boy Micro: 2.40 million as of December 31, 2006 (Japan: 0.60, The Americas: 0.96, Other: 0.85
  • Nintendo DS: 35.61 million as of December 31, 2006 (Japan: 14.43, The Americas: 10.18, Other: 11.00)[5] including Nintendo DS Lite: 17.33 million as of December 31, 2006 (Japan: 7.89, The Americas: 4.84, Other: 4.60
  • PlayStation Portable: 24.70 million shipped as of December 31, 2006 (Japan: 6.23, USA: 9.58, Europe: 8.89)
What's Changing in Games

I've noticed that I vastly prefer to sit anywhere I want and get my Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin on to sitting in a room where I'm separated from everyone and everything else. Even if I do want to be alone, I can be alone anywhere I want - on the couch, in a bed, in a chair, in the bathroom, it's really odd. It's like when you first buy a Tablet PC and realize "Hey, I can use this anywhere, even while standing up."

Interface Makes a Difference: While I've not run into this as much yet, because my 9yo keeps the G6 Lite "Mod Card" in use the most (and all I have is Castlevania), the stylus does mix things up, and make things more fun - done well.

Suck Exists, but Doesn't Rule: Sucky games are plentiful, but not dominant; I've used Metacritic to the extreme and then Maria and I review our games independantly.

Maria likes several games that got poor or terrible Metacritic scores:
  • The Sims 2, Pets (which got a 48 or something atrocious). It's repetative and, I think, deserves its horrible score - but the repetition and bad interface woes just don't make my 9yo wink compared to ... well nothing. She has nothing to compare it to. I chalk this up to "She likes the content" and "she hasn't developed a pallet yet." It could also be that content is more important to her, not how accessible or well presented it is.
  • Lost in Blue, in which you're a shipwrecked boy on an island alone with a girl trying to find water, food, rest and shelter or you die - immediately. Every minute is an hour. I tried playing and died in 10 minutes. She likes this game. The rate at which time passes is torture to me - let me wander, give me a chance!
The greatest thing for me, though, is playing things which are unlike things I've played before, or having freedom (mobility) whilst playing things I have (Castlevania).

At any rate, that's my update. Fun stuff.

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