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Dee Yun: (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2006-01-27 00:36:24
I snickered when Nintendo announced the DS. The dual and touch screen seemed so gimmicky. As it turns out, I'm apparently missing out on definitive iterations of Mario Kart, Castlevania and Advance Wars. (I'd probably never get to play them though; my wife would most likely hog the DS for Animal Crossing.) It looks like Nintendo's focus on gameplay and innovation over next-gen techware is more than just rhetoric. For example, Kirby: Canvas Curse requires the use of the stylus to draw ramps and bridges for the pink puffer, or Trauma Center, wherein the stylus is employed as a scalpel for surgical incisions. Nifty.
Nintendo just announced a new sleeker, slimmer model of the DS. I'll have to catch up with all of these titles when that design hits retail.
There are all manner of varying sales reports (Sony's in-house numbers are always padded to encompass systems shipped, but not necessarily sold), but it appears that the DS is solidly outselling the PSP. In Japan, Nintendo released an official apology because the DS sold out this winter. I'm astonished. I assumed the kiddie market would buoy DS sales to a point, but it appears to have also connected with the all important 18-35 market.
I love my PSP. It's a drop dead sexy piece of electronics. I love being home, but invariably errands or unwanted social obligations drag me away. If I miss my family, my son's cuteness overflows from the PSP's photo/video album. If I need to kill time, I can watch movies/TV shows. If you are so inclined, the PSP is nostalgia at your fingertips: a full library of NES, SNES, GameBoy, Genesis, etc. games via emulator. (I am staunchly anti-piracy spirit-of-the-law-wise, but have few qualms about people accessing media that's out of print.) The PSP is simply the greatest handheld entertainment gadget to date. For all of you proud, new Video iPod owners, just check out the PSP's screen and weep. And I can't neglect to mention built in WiFi for games and web browsing.
However, it does have one massive shortcoming: lack of a hard drive. I don't use it as my MP3 player, because my 2 gig card is full after a few feature length films (what is it with Sony and their proprietary formats?). I wish I could replace the UMD optical drive with a hard drive. This leads directly to a secondary gripe: where are the quality new games? I wouldn't miss the UMD drive, because I haven't bought a PSP game since launch.
We come full circle. The DS is outpacing the superior PSP and attracting consumers with simple, good, old-fashioned fun. With two screens. One of which is a touch pad. Who knew?