Review by cikesef

"The most innovative piece of hardware currently available on the market. Period."

A year or so ago, I picked up the newspaper off of the table and saw the mini-headline "Nintendo to Release Dual-Screened Handheld," and dropped my jaw. I wasn't able to pick my jaw back up until i finally played it. It seemed that every piece of news about the DS kept me in awe and amazement. Nonetheless, I was still a bit skeptical when I picked it up on launch day....

11/21/04: The day that changed handheld gaming forever...

The graphical power of the DS is almost expected after knowing about it for such a long time, but it still wowed me when I first tried it, and it still does. Falling in between the N64 and GCN, it showed that Nintendo does understand that graphics matter. 3D gameplay simply couldn't be possible unless the graphics were impossible. Now, like 8 years ago, the dramatic lead from 2D to 3D in a new market shows great potential


To put it simply, the DS looks like the offspring of the GBA and the SP. It manages to stay rather light and fits easily into a jeans pocket. When opened, it gives the first-time viewer another reason to gape. The two screens look like they were built to work in perfect harmony, and they do. The buttons are a little close together, but once my fingers were used to the positions, it never bothered me again. Combining the ergonomics of the GBA and the practicality of the SP, the DS succeeds in handheld design


I was shocked to see how much the DS was able to do even without a game to play. Then, I was shocked to see how much the DS was able to do with a game to play. Built-in to the unit is the chat feature PictoChat, a basic IM tool that also allows the user to sketch pictures or words with the stylus. The DS has a wireless range of 30 ft guaranteed, but can reach up to 150 ft or more depending on circumstances (walls, floors, etc.). Also from the main menu was the "single-card download play" feature, where the unit searches for other units and the games that they are playing. If it finds one, it can download whatever information is needed to play multiplayer. The DS also has a built-in microphone, which will probably open up doors for developers to grasp new ideas from. Last, but most certainly not least, the unit's bottom screen is a touch screen, similar to that of a PDA. This is the most unique attribute of the handheld, and gives the DS the most potential to succeed in the market. The innovation of the DS can be seen through its many astounding features.


While $150 does seem like a little much for a handheld, the DS proves to be worth the extra effort. The most valued feature that could fall into this category is the fact that the DS plays GBA games. However, it DOES NOT play standard Game Boy or Game Boy Color games. Some may see this as a flaw of the system, but the inclusion of these games would raise the price to something fearful. The GB and GBC cartridges ran using the z80 processor, which was included in all Game Boys but not in the DS. GBA games used the ARM7 processor. The DS contains ARM7 and ARM9 processors for its two screens, therefore, including the GBA library of games actually increase the value of the system. Having to include the z80 would raise the price about $50 or more, significantly decreasing the value of the system. One more note about the GBA games: The DS does not support multiplayer for the GBA, for the simple reason that it does not have the proper port for the link cables. In conclusion, the DS is not a reason to throw away your Game Boy and move on, but a new frontier that is well worth the price.


Every hardcore gamer knows that the games make the system. The features may neat-o keen-o, but what are they worth if none of the games use them. However, that probably won't be happening anytime soon. Over 30 developers have announced over 110 games including:

Final Fantasy III

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles

Secret of Mana

Mario Kart

Ridge Racer

And many, many, many more

The launch games of the DS were a different story. Only one game (Feel the Magic: XX/XY) really used the features of the DS to their full abilities. That game, along with Super Mario 64 DS (an amazing remake that invokes incredible nostalgia from this gamer) were the only games that looked worth most players' time. Still, the sheer number of titles in development for the system keeps the score quite high. A sub-par launch is the only problem that lowered this score.


With its endless features, amazing value, excellent design, and outstanding games yet to arrive, the DS is truly the gaming handheld of the future. If you, as the reader, like video games and consider a $150 handheld worth your time, get this now. If you can't afford it, then remember, there is a reason that Nintendo released the system before Christmas (wink wink, nudge nudge).

OVERALL SCORE (not an average) :9.4

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 11/29/04

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