The International Writers Magazine: Game Play
Danielle Ward reviews the latest gaming toy
Released on 11th March, boasting wireless game play, pictochat
and a microphone: Its called DS because of its
duel screens, clever eh? Wireless game play with up to 16 other
consoles and 6 - 10 hours battery life are all advertised. It
sells for around £100. But is it worth it?
At first glance
the DS is a silver machine, about the size of a hand. When opened, the
console promises an innovative game play. A duel screen is the main
feature; the top one providing the main views, with wonderful graphics
and the bottom one a touch-screen. Provided with the machine is a stylus
and you can use this or your thumb to control the action. There is a
d-pad so if youre like me and take time to get used to the stylus,
you can rely on this instead.
On initial power-up of the console you are asked for, among other things,
your nickname and your date of birth. Like having your own website you
can even change the colours of the screen titles. This nickname then
appears on start up, along with your colour, a calendar and the time.
It even has an alarm clock feature. Your name will appear on all messages
when in pictochat. This is a chat room exclusive for all DS machines,
so using its wireless technology it allows you to contact fellow players.
A smooth feature is that its what they call backwards
compatible. This basically means that if you have any Nintendo GBA games
in your position then you have the option to play those instead of DS
ones. So well all be nicking our mates games for more variety
It doesnt stop there! This new system has a microphone. Yes, weird
but true. Remember those Sims games? Well you can make patients feel
better by talking to them nicely.
Original and very imaginative pretty much sum up the games, but then
theyd have to be with touch-screen technology. They look great
with the graphics and adding to the interaction, virtual surround sound.
What are they like then?
Super Mario DS
Everyones played the Mario games. They all maintain the basic
ideas, but its slightly more magical when on the DS. This time,
if you come across a mushroom you are face-to-face with them as it all
plays in 3D. You start in a castle and by completing tasks you can open
more games. I love the way the screen wobbles as you jump
in pictures on the walls. For simple people like me the most enjoyable
aspect is the mini-games. These take advantage of the new technology,
for example rolling a snowball down a hill with your pen! By beating
up the bunnies that run around the castle you can obtain more games.
Ever played bejeweled on the net? This is that game but with animals
at the zoo. For those who have no idea what Im on about this
game starts with a screen full of animals, by swapping two round
at a time you aim to line up 3 of a kind. Similar to Tetris in a
way, I suppose. The DS has enhanced this game because there are
variants of the idea, 100 animals, 20 matches in 3 minutes, also
appear. On the top screen appears one of the animals and the aim
is that if you make a line with that particular animal then you
get double points. This game will get you laughing because if you
make a line with that animal then it goes a bit mad! Highly addictive
and very cool.
This could be compared to the WarioWare games, only to the point that
they are a series of 5-second little games. The story goes that theres
a young lady that you, as a boy, is trying to woo. So when the boys
race down the hill in trolleys you have to sweep away the mines to impress
her. It can be rather sexist but Im female and Im playing
it! At times the sounds arent appropriate for the younger people
of the world. For extra challenges, and you probably dont know
about this, you can touch the screen as the game loads and try to find
the hidden bunnies. (What is it with DS and rabbits?!) This creates
a catalogue that allows you to change the appearance of the object of
your desire. Its just a shame for me that I cant change
10/10 for the DS.
© Danielle Ward. April 2005
Danielle Ward is
studying Creative Arts at Portsmouth University
all rights reserved