The Nintendo DS: the premier strapless portable system.
You know what? I kind of like it. Granted, it’s not the best looking system around, and, granted, the initial game library already pales in comparison to the PSP’s, but I think it has the most potential for originality, and in this day and age that’s a good thing. Two screens, capable 3D performance, four face buttons, microphone input, bluetooth AND WiFi, and a touch screen with stylus — and it is supposed to be backwards compatible, considerably cheaper than the PSP, and the size isn’t bad either. Sounds good to me.
The most fascinating aspect of the DS is the touch-screen input. Sure, it’s not original; I’ve been using a Wacom for years, Pocket PCs and Palms have had them for years, even the Newton had one… ten years ago (“Eat up Martha”). However, this is the first time that a machine that focused on play over function has had one of this calibre, and definitely a first for a game focused system — let alone one with some decent processing power to back it.
When I think of the input, I can’t help but think of online toys and applications done in Flash and Proce55ing and Director. When I think of the DS’s potential, I think of the likes of Soda’s Moovl and Constructor, and iSketch, and various visual chats (which Nintendo is doing) and other such digital toys. Playful things. Playful things that wouldn’t be as playful with a cumbersome stick or d-pad. And it is that comparison that makes me excited for the DS.
Seriously, thinking about something like Moovl done with the Nintendo touch and with a focus on gameplay makes me all tingly on the inside.
Now the onus is on the developers to meet that potential.