BACK TO THE INDEX.
Real Gamers Keep it in Their Pants.
-By Matt Carlson-
-Presented by DMG Ice.com-
-May contain startling predictions of the future and invaluable life lessons. Lucky numbers are 3, 18, and 22-
-Presented May 3, 2004-
I was thinking about the state of Nintendo and their upcoming dual-screen handheld the other day. Most information about the DS is still behind closed doors and under non-disclosure acts. The few tidbits of information that are available are intriguing, and I myself can’t help but get extremely excited just thinking about it. That’s when the wheels started turning. Where are video games headed? Not in terms of game play and style, but in terms of hardware. Nintendo may not have a clue in the console market, but man, they rock on handheld systems… which I feel is the future of video game systems. While Nintendo could quit making consoles in the near future, it’s unlikely they will never stop making handheld systems. With the miniaturization of technology, this is the future. Already, the Game Boy advance has eclipsed the SNES in graphics and sound. It’s only a few more years before the newest and most powerful systems on the market will fit in the palm of your hand. So here I bring you my points on how the future of video games is in handhelds.
Graphics - The system specs are still under wraps for the DS, but I can tell you this: it will be as good if not better than the upcoming PSP, which is the PSOne incarnate. Hold on to your pants, kids, and think of this. The original Playstation was released in 1995. Its now 2004, and the same graphics are going to be available in a system that’s small enough for you to eat. Which begs the question: is the DS going to compare to the N64 in graphics? As far as I’m concerned, I don’t think were quite there, but it won’t take long… and that doesn’t mean that Nintendo can’t prove me wrong. Bringing those types of graphics to two screens seems a bit much at this point in time.
Sound – With the advent of mp3 sound and the shrinking of mp3 players, this is a no-brainier. The only question is: how good are the speakers in the system, or how good are your headphones? Sorry… No surround sound or THX, but seeing how most gamers don’t have the equipment to take advantage of these sound possibilities anyways, I don’t see many people crying. I do expect full CD-quality sound that is full and vibrant… and nothing less. Music is key to games, whether you notice it or not. This is a priority for Nintendo to look at in upcoming hardware, as they’ve ignored it for much too long.
Media – Will the DS ditch cartridges? I sure hope so. Are we still in the stone-age? Let’s move on please. It’s only a matter of time before data storage shrinks to the point where we can fit Zelda: Wind Waker on an internal hard drive that is profitable to produce. Apple’s Ipod puts to rest not only size issues, but also the storage abilities of a small portable system. Imagine having a system that has 15 gigs of storage available internally, taking that system to a kiosk and downloading the newest Mario game directly to the system. A removable storage system might be best in the short term, to keep down on the bulk of the system. Plus, the data transfer might take a while to complete for large files. A CD or optical disk for the system is a very real possibility. The new format created for the Gamecube allows for a miniature disc to hold large amounts of data, and they are cheap to produce. A spin off of this is possible, as those offer great portability.
Connectivity – Link cables are out, wireless is in. Nintendo has already explored the realm of possibilities with the wireless adapter for the SP that was released in Japan. Expect this to be built into all upcoming portables. Players could boot up Mario Kart and search the area for available players. The idea of destroying a player down the hall, who I may never meet, with a green shell… it makes me warm and fuzzy inside. Or perhaps linking up to a wireless broadband internet connection and crushing opponents across the country. This is want I want in my handheld. The second screen could be of use for a chat room or game lobby in this situation. The touch sensitive screen would also make typing a breeze on such a system. An instant messaging program would be wonderful, allowing a person to not only keep in touch, but also invite players to join in a multiplayer game, or send messages to another person who is currently playing another game.
These are a few of the things that will allow for the handheld revolution to overtake the console market. But many questions remain… Will gamers give up large TV’s for the small screen? A possible (and simple) solution would be adding an AV port to the system. The system could hook up to a TV, and using the wireless ability, act as a hub allowing other players to use their handhelds as controllers. Kind of like a Game Boy Player on crack. As console systems gravitate towards computers, handhelds are becoming more like PDA’s. Lets hope Nintendo offers enough innovations to keep their games new and fresh.
-Editorial by Matt Carlson-
-Property of dmgice.com-