For the past few days, I’ve been completely enamoured by this little piece of video gaming brilliance called Nintendo DS Lite.
The beauty of this device lies not in its compact size or sleek looks, but rather in its brilliant dual LCD screen displays and the use of a stylus as a controller. You see, a game can now output information to both the top screen and the bottom screen, independently of each other (if required).The bottom screen also doubles up as a touch screen that can take input from the stylus, which immediately introduces a whole new game mechanic in many games. It has the usual 4-way digital pad, plus six buttons for normal gaming as well, but it really is the stylus that takes centre stage.
For example, in Trauma Center: Under the Knife, players take on the role of a surgeon in a hospital who has to operate on patients in the Trauma ward. This involves cleaning wounds, making incisions, stitching, etc. (all in pseudo-cartoon style, so that you don’t lose your lunch completely) by just the movement of the stylus on the touch screen. It is completely intuitive and great fun (honestly). I wonder what my dad (a retired army doctor) would make of it.
Or, on a more upbeat note, there is the fantastically cute Nintendogs that has you taking care of a pet dog. This involves petting it with the stylus, teaching it commands through the microphone (DS has a built-in one), training it and playing with it. It sounds like a simple game, but you’ll be surprised by just how much time you can while away when you’re at it, because the dogs in the game are so realistic to play with. The DS Lite is quite the family entertainment system, because there is something for everyone.
The DS also has built-in speakers, headphone out, and Wi-Fi capabilities. The latter allows multi-player gaming with up to eight other DS devices in the vicinity. Thankfully, the DS Lite has a superb battery that keeps going on and on for hours together, thereby adding to its portability quotient. The DS also has a unique feature by which you can pause a game and put the DS into standby mode by merely folding the dual screens. When, after a couple of hours (say), you’re ready to resume your gaming session, open up the dual screens and, presto, you resume from the exact same point you left off. So, it really is no wonder that the DS Lite is the best-selling video gaming device in the world at the moment.
Although not officially launched in India, you can buy the DS from many online retail stores, or www.ebay.in, which has some good deals now and then. The same sites also offer plenty of DS games to buy and the rates usually float around the Rs1,500-Rs2,000 mark for original DS games.
Nintendo DS Lite
Price: Rs8,000 at www.ebay.in
Write to Arjun at firstname.lastname@example.org