Gaming on the Go

Gaming on the Go
Waiting at the Other Side of Midnight

Tom Chick | 19 Jul 2005 12:05
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But because the Nintendo DS is backward compatible, it's got a huge library of sublime handheld games that were written for the Gameboy Advance, often easy to find for cheap. Just going by the law of averages, you're far less likely to be stuck playing a game as bad as the PSP Tiger Woods. Of course, you're wasting half of the DS's screen real estate, and you're playing on a big silver brick of a clamshell the size and shape of a six-year-old PDA. But we're on the verge of a new generation of DS games that could make it all worthwhile. Take Kirby: Canvas Curse, a game about a stupid little pink blob. Oh, hold on a second, let me see if I can play Midnight Club yet...nope, still loading. Okay, where was I?

A Nintendo game about a stupid pink blob, right? That's what you'd think. But what you might not realize is that it's the first game that makes your DS a DS. You use your stylus like the finger of God, reaching into the game world to diddle around with the little pink guy. Sounds dirty, doesn't it? But it's an amazing interface because there's no abstracted button pressing or D-padding between you and what you see onscreen. You're in there, touching stuff and making it happen. Kirby: Canvas Curse is probably the last step before they start wet-wiring your brain.

It's a slick and well-made game, to boot, unlike anything you've ever played because the DS is unlike anything that's ever been made. The developers at Hal Laboratories did something that's a lost art in these days of cross-platform development: They wrote a game for an actual system rather than an imagined audience. Kirby: Canvas Curse is really one of the shrewdest creations you'll see this year. And, yeah, it's worth getting a DS for it.

Besides, considering some of the upcoming titles playing to its strength as a platform, you'll want a DS. In addition to some potentially complex mouse-driven strategy games, there's Nintendogs, which will hopefully explode in popularity so I don't feel like such a little girl when I'm playing it. Yeah, okay, it's about a cute puppy, and The Sims is a dollhouse, but I'm just one of about five million people playing, so go make fun of them, too. Then there's the upcoming Metroid game for the DS which uses the touchpad as a mouse to let you play a first person shooter. Just don't mind the graphics.

Oh, right, speaking of graphics, I just know Midnight Club is going to look awesome. Let me have a look at how it's coming along. Quel surprise!...still loading. But when that baby finally crams itself into how ever much memory the PSP has, I'm sure it'll be sweet. Which reminds me: one of the best uses for a Nintendo DS is playing games while you're waiting for your PSP to load.

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