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Nintendo DS unveiled!


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#1 Mig Eater

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 06:02 AM

Following rampant speculation, Nintendo's new portable system, codenamed DS, has finally been publicly showcased. And yep, even we've been taken aback by quite how many astoundingly cool features this new entry into the handheld market features.

Of the two 3 inch, backlit LCD screens, the lower screen features PDA style touch screen capabilities, meaning you'll be able to interact with menus or access inventory items simply through touch, either with an included stylus device or, less glamourously, your finger. This screen will also feature a tough film cover for additional durability, and it's been suggested that a software based keyboard could even feature in forthcoming DS titles - equally useful for messaging and gameplay.

The two screens can obviously be used in a huge variety of ways that are beneficial to the gamer; in a racing game, for example, one screen could show the driver's perspective while another featured a track view. RPG games could display the main gameplay action on the top screen, with the bottom screen could be used for inventory purposes. Or both screens could be used to powerful effect for those dramatic in-game moments where one screen isn't enough to capture all the action - on battling a particularly gigantic boss monster, for instance.

The DS features a microphone port that suggests DS titles could use sound and voice recognition features to control on-screen action. This voice capability could also be used to chat to other players over the Internet. The DS also packs Wireless capability - DS users will be able to connect with a local wireless network of up to 16 players. Nintendo's guaranteed minimum range is 100 feet, although this range can be farther extended depending on the circumstances.

This ensures the high response rates required for real time game play will be achieved; the DS makes use of both IEEE 802.11 and Nintendo's proprietary communication protocol, which makes for low battery consumption. Players will be able to chat and play games without any connecting cords, completely untethered. Even better, the DS uses Wireless Game Sharing, which means that multiple players can compete in the same game, even though only one player has a game card inserted. Staggeringly, this means you can test-play a game for yourself as long as you stay connected.

The DS technology also offers a wireless LAN connection, which theoretically means that an infinite number of players could connect via a hot spot and compete at a central game hub on the Internet, even if they're thousands of miles apart. Meanwhile, chat software lets users transmit text messages, handwriting and even drawings to one another.

In-game visual quality is also of the utmost quality; with the newly developed graphics engine, the DS can reproduce impressive 3D visuals surpassing the quality of images displayed on the Nintendo 64. Games will run at 60 frames per second, and there's ample room for details like fog effects and cel shading. Sound is an important factor too, with 16-channel sound allowing for greatly expanded use of voices and music, and a richer, more immersive game experience. A plug for headphones transmits stereo sound.

The battery is rechargeable and, as previously mentioned, the unit utilises a low-energy-consumption design. The DS also uses Power Management functions of Sleep mode and Standby mode; in Sleep mode, players can stop and resume game play whenever they like. If the user receives a message from a friend or user nearby, DS activates itself from Standby mode.

As previously announced, the DS runs on two processors, one ARM9, one ARM7. Games for the system come on compact cards, with the unit using newly developed semiconductor memory, which allows for lower cost, shorter manufacturing time and memory capacity of more than one gigabit of information.

Finally, with two separate slots for carts and cards, the Nintendo DS is Game Boy Advance compatible meaning the vast library of Game Boy Advance games that are already available will run on the system. There's also the suggestion that developers may find ways to make new connections between GBA games and DS games. The GBA port could also be used to add new hardware in the future.

"While others plan to let you go a little faster down the same roads you have always traveled, Nintendo plans to take you down incredible avenues you've never seen before," commented Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo of America's executive vice president, sales and marketing. "We understand the hand-held market better than anyone else, and Nintendo DS paves a new path of originality and success."

The DS has garnered huge acclaim since Nintendo revealed the raw power of the system to select developers. "When Nintendo came down and presented the DS platform to us, I think everyone was in shock," says Will Kassoy, Activision's vice president of global brand management. "It was amazing. Our technical guys were drooling at the abilities and wanting so much to dive into programming for the system."

Namco vice president and executive officer Yoichi Haraguchi was no less enthusiastic. "This has a huge potential," he commented, adding that "we can create games using DS that were not even possible before." Meanwhile, Jay Cohen, Ubisoft's vice president of publishing, reckons that "Once again Nintendo is taking another leap by providing totally new gameplay experiences - very characteristic of a Nintendo maneuver."

"More than 100 companies worldwide have received software development kits for the DS, while Nintendo are developing a Metroid game, a WarioWare title and PictoChat, software that lets players send instant text and picture messages. Third-party publishers also have announced games in development, including a Spider-Man 2 title from Activision, a Rayman game from Ubisoft, a SpongeBob SquarePants title from THQ, a Yu-Gi-Oh! game from Konami, a Sonic title from Sega, a Bomberman game from Hudson Soft, a Need for Speed game from Electronic Arts and a Pac-Man title from Namco.

In addition to these titles, Nintendo is also working on an improved version of the seminal Nintendo 64 platform game Mario 64. Footage of the game was displayed at Nintendo's pre-e3 conference, featuring Mario and Wario flying through the air, which suggests playable characters other than Mario will be available when the game is released. Bonus!

The Nintendo DS remains on track to launch in Japan and North America before the end of the year, and in Europe the system will launch during the first quarter of 2005.


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#2 Daeda

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 02:43 PM

I really hope nintendo beats sony's arse

#3 chemical ali

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 03:29 PM

what about sonys PSP
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#4 Deathblow Luc

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 03:30 PM

Looks like a fake. (In the sense of: that image quality is unbelievable! :o )

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#5 Natus

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 04:32 PM

Pulease, XBox owns all, Halo 2 is THE ultimate FPS experience, offline and online. Hell, ive already pre emptively started constructing an XB Live Halo 2 clan from those i met playing Halo PC. Fear the Cheif. ;)

With MS starting their new project, everyone better start running now, cause the next XB will blow the whole thing away.
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#6 ComradeJ

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 05:14 PM

Arg, this is pretty real. It was shown on the official sites.

I don't think the PSP will come to the quality of the DS, Nintendo has always had that high-quality games of it's own. Plus, the PSP looks like a cellphone, driven over ;)
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#7 chemical ali

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 05:17 PM

those pictures were in the T3 magazine in april
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#8 Beowulf

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 07:07 PM

Arg, those images are about Nintendo 64 quality, nothing more. Oh joy, all of those come to portability...... Hey, wait, neato! ;)

And Natus, sorry to burst your bubble, but Red Faction 2 ownz0rz Halo. The PS2 is better, deal with it. :D

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#9 Diesystem

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 08:46 PM

NINTENDO, NINTENDO, NINTENDO....
You are great!
But please bring us more decent rpgs as well as non cell shaded zelda games...

The graphics in ORICANA OF TIME were asstounding... :shock:
ahem... thats all....
No words can express my joy.......

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#10 Beowulf

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 09:16 PM

Alright, a fellow Ocarina fan! w00t! ;)

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#11 Mig Eater

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Posted 14 May 2004 - 05:24 AM

New Zelda pics!!!! they own all

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#12 ReaKon

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Posted 14 May 2004 - 07:40 AM

That looks pretty good ;)

i played Halo and got incredibly bored of it. The best games i have played on the XBox are knights of the republic and conflict desert storm 2

#13 Diesystem

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Posted 14 May 2004 - 08:45 AM

GIMMIE, GIMME GIMME!!! ;)
No words can express my joy.......

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#14 ComradeJ

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Posted 14 May 2004 - 11:49 AM

The new Zelda looks sweet. I want to play =)

BTW, anyone seen the pics/movie of Advance Wars: Under Fire? It looks sweeeeeeeeeet ;)
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#15 chemical ali

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Posted 14 May 2004 - 03:23 PM

what about socom nay seals?
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#16 dancam

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Posted 14 May 2004 - 03:51 PM

Sorry fan boyz, but the PSP will kick Nintendo right outta the market..
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#17 ComradeJ

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Posted 14 May 2004 - 04:54 PM

Haha, what are you basing that on?
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#18 Beowulf

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Posted 14 May 2004 - 05:20 PM

Dan, sorry to burst your bubble but Nintendo is the God of handhelds. You just can't compete.

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#19 chemical ali

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Posted 14 May 2004 - 05:38 PM

how do you know that, sony have never made one before and i hear Microsoft are making a sort of PDA handheld game console
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#20 Beowulf

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Posted 14 May 2004 - 06:25 PM

Microsoft has to compete with everyone. Doubt it will be successful but hey, you never know.

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