This is a long PRE-RATING, so, it is gonna take up space, because of the content, and the only possible way to explain this is by seeing it and reading, pictures will be on without lj cuts.
A revolution is at hand, literaly, and Goon Ratings is not to go without having a hand (once again with the puns) in it. What I am talking about is the Nintendo DS. This is a formal Pre-rating, but it is a rating in any sense. Rumors, blips, and "inside information" has been popping up EVERYWHERE about this thing, but now, there is the solid, hardcore, hands on truth about it.
(So, now the thing to think is, what do we talk about first?) So many features, we should start with the most simple, and work towards the more difficult. So, we start with one of the most important parts for anyone who is collecting allowance, or making the big bucks, the price. Nintendo has pulled out of the trend, (again, but at least this time it is a good thing), and taken, upon release date, the price to a small fee of $149.99 which is ALOT better than the $199.99 and $249.99 previously expected for it.
(But why is it a surprise the price is low? And at the same time why is $149.99 something to be excited about when I can get a GBASP for $89.99?) Well, capabilities. Starting with the most simple still, we would normally begin with button interface, but it has gotten complex, so, we start with the obvious... There are two screens. Now, some may think, wow, two screens, big freakin deal, but what people don't understand is that is going to be True 3-D on both screens. Meaning, for the first time, a Nintendo handheld can have some leverage needed on, oh, wait, itself, but, even though GBASP is really its only real competitor right now, Sony's PSP will be out, which I believe we will have a PRE-rating for soon, so, the leverage is more like a boost in sales. Kinda like the Nintendo 64 was to home consol gaming after the Super Nintendo, but in the handheld world.
(Now, so two screens, wait? Why?) Well, the answer to that is rather simple, and complex, all at once. Two screens adds the ability to un-clutter your main screen, finally. But also, it plays a much more active roll. The other screen will also, in some games, be playable with the main screen. In one game, I have seen where an object bounces back and forth between the two screens, and it looked awesome. Now, there must be more to it than that, right? Well, there is...
But as I said, simple to complex, so, now we get to buttons. (Wait, this makes no sense, screens, talking about complexity, and now.... buttons????) Well, let me explain, it does have something to do with the screen, just wait. Ok, this handheld is very nice, the button layout is rather nice. Anyone that is a fan of the Super Nintendo's layout will love this one. It has, in formal Nintendo attire, a, GASP, D-PAD. I knew that would get your attention. Anyhow, it also has a Start button, and a Select button, which are placed on the top right side of the system on the inside of the flap. Located on the top of the system will be the traditional L and R buttons, which again is a Nintendo handheld norm now-a-days. So, whats new, in addition to the B and A buttons, you get the new Y and X buttons. The power button is also "added" as to say that on past Nintendo handhelds it was a switch. Now, for the kicker, I can explain about how the screen fits in here, (Ok, hurry, this is the part I was waiting on, I already figured there was X and Y cause you said it was like SNES). The screen in between the D-PAD and ABXY buttons is, drumroll, a TOUCHSCREEN. Yes, this adds SOOOOO much more to the table of possible excellency. Some developers have stated that they have made the touchscreen more of an extra controller over being just another screen. This means, these developers have gone out, and made the touchscreen able to be more buttons if needed. So, this adds alot of new functions for your games.
(Ok, that is awesome, but, thats all right, no extra things?) Well, thats where I get setup for the features this brings. Built in to the Nintendo DS is a "game", I call it a program, called PictoChat. Crap, well, in order to explain that, I have yet one more of the many features I have to explain. (No, I just wanted to know what this Pi c to chat is....). Well, wait a dandy second friend. This handheld is using what has been newly introduced to its handheld couterpart, GBA(SP), which is wireless multi-player, EXCEPT, the main difference is, wireless is the only way to play. You can connect up to 16 Nintendo DS' at once, which is an upgrade to other handhelds. Also, this wireless multi-player has come with a deep advantage to people, as to say that if you find a wireless hub that will support it, you can play, and this is the most extremely wild part, which I think could show that Nintendo actually has a plan for in their next home consol because of, you CAN play this ONLINE. My heart almost stops, tears of blood fall, and the End Of Days has begun, because Nintendo actually has something that can go online. As well as i'm not sure if that was their initial plan or not, but some hands on people have rigged some things into being able to run it Online.
(WOW, online, so, you say that is for sure... wait, are you trying to avoid that PictoChat thing?) No, I'm not, I just forgot. The online part is NOT 100%, but, we will find out soon enough. Now, back to that PictoChat. The PictoChat like I said is a program, or "Game" as Nintendo calls it, that is built into the hardware, but what I didn't tell you was that it can be used as a messaging tool. On the touchscreen, you will get a onscreen keyboard that will let you type away, and up to 16 Nintendo DS' can be hooked on all at once, so you can have a small chat-room with it. Now, here comes the fun part, not only do you get to chat, but the DS comes with an extra utencil, one I haven't covered yet. It comes with a Stylus Pen, that lets you write directly onto the screen, allowing you to be able to write the words instead of type. Also it allows for you to make pictures, so you can play tic tac to, cause you can copy and paste other messages.
(So thats all right? Nothing more they could do?) I almost wish, but there is more. An added bonus to the wireless multiplayer, or more or less a bonus for multiplayer, is that if you have a multiplayer game you want to play, the wireless LAN system will SEND the game into empty DS' so you can play without having to make all your friends go out and buy that game. This is something that can help gain you goons popularity. That being one of the most spectacular parts about the multiplayer is something we have wished for, for a long time.
(Wow, finally, I can play a game without being forced to buy it. Nice.) That not entirely what is going on here. But it is the general slump of it. Now, they fixed a problem most handhelds have been dealing with as an itch for a long time. They finally equiped a handheld with a GOOD sound system. They placed a 16 channel sound system. So, voices, music, sound effects, and whatnot, all comes out sounding like gold. And, an added extra is that there is a built in microphone for voice recognition.
(Now, you've said alot, and that has to take alot of work. How is this thing gonna run?) The DS' comes packed, it has a Lithium Ion battery, like the Nintendo Game Boy Advanced SP, and each screen has it's own processor. One screen has a processor much like that of GBASP, the other is a stronger one. The Battery life is ALSO like the GBASP of 10 hours. This Nintendo handheld will come with a couple options to keep it alive longer, such as, it has a Sleep mode, just like the other handheld by Nintendo, the GBASP. New to Nintendo though, is a Standby Mode. This will save more power than even the sleep mode.
(That is awesome. But I have a question. You keep calling it, the other Nintendo handheld. Why?) One of the most important parts about this is for people to know it is NOT a new Game Boy. (Hold on, you mean I can't play my game boy games on it?) Actually, you can. It is an amazing extra they added, probably to boost sales though.
So, here is the specs....
Launch Date and MSRP:
Nov. 21, 2004, in North America ($149.99)
Dec. 2, 2004, in Japan (15,000 yen)
Q1 2005 in Europe and Australia
Size (when closed):
148.7 millimeters (5.85 inches) wide, 84.7 millimeters (3.33 inches) long, 28.9 millimeters (1.13 inches) tall
A backlit, 3-inch, semitransparent reflective TFT color LCD with 256 x 192 pixel resolution and .24 mm dot pitch, capable of displaying 260,000 colors
Same specs as top screen, but with a transparent analog touch screen
IEEE 802.11 and Nintendo's proprietary format; wireless range is 30 to 100 feet, depending on circumstances; multiple users can play multiplayer games using just one DS Game Card
Touch screen, embedded microphone for voice recognition, A/B/X/Y face buttons, plus control pad, L/R shoulder buttons, Start and Select buttons
Ports for both Nintendo DS Game Cards and Game Boy® Advance Game Paks, terminals for stereo headphones and microphone
Embedded PictoChat software that allows up to 16 users to chat at once, embedded real-time clock, date, time and alarm, touch-screen calibration
One ARM9 and one ARM7
Stereo speakers providing virtual surround sound, depending on the software
Lithium ion battery delivering six to 10 hours of play on a four-hour charge, depending on use; power-saving sleep mode; AC adapter
English, Japanese, Spanish, French, German, Italian
Silver and black
Launch Title Games....
Asphalt Urban GT
Feel The Magic: XY/XX
Madden NFL 2005
Mr. Driller Drill Spirits
PictoChat (built-in game)
Ridge Racer DS
Super Mario 64 DS
The Urbz: Sims in the City
Tiger Woods PGA Tour
Final PRE-RELEASE Rating: Looks to Perfection 94/100
DS Game Ratings Soon. Real Hardware Rating after released to public.