Dual-Screen As The Hottest New Toy In Town

Alright. So I gave the DS tech demonstrations a try. All of them. And looking at my previous post and the opinion of ‘Dr. Suna’ I guess it’s time for some hyperbole. Because Nintendo’s Dual-Screen is really totally completely incredibly amazing.

It’s what I’ve been waiting for writing about games for all these years: hardware that gives developers tools to develop new ways of playing. Hardware that will change the way journalists and game players see the videogame phenomenon. Most importantly, though, it’s also just a fun machine that’s more accessible to non game players than any videogame hardware ever before.

I think Dr. Suna couldn’t be more wrong when he says DS will probably end up as the Dreamcast of handheld gaming. I feel that’s the hardcore gamer in him speaking. My main point is: don’t underestimate the touch-screen. It removes an entire layer of abstraction from the gameplay experience. Because people can just touch what they want to do.

It’s important to note that Nintendo is in no way forcing game developers to use the touch-screen. There will be some great uses of that, but what Nintendo is really doing is giving game creators a whole bunch of new options — if they want to, they can use the touch-screen, the wireless networking, the dual screens and the built-in microphone. However, the DS also allows them to just make a nice 3D game controlled with the regular face buttons.

Either way, Nintendo can and will market the DS as a new and extremely fun machine — maybe Suna shouldn’t think of it as a videogame device but as the hottest new toy in town.

On wednesday I visited a roundtable interview with Shigeru Miyamoto and other Nintendo producers. There, the ‘Zelda’ and ‘Mario’ creator specifically asked the attended press for an extra effort. “It’s hard to understand how fun the DS is to play”, he said. “You won’t fully get it until you experience it yourself. Because of this I hope you’ll try extra hard to get this accross to your readers.”

So, that’s what I’m going to do describing some of the tech demonstrations and early games.