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Super Gameboy advanced!
Nintendo DS Lite Onyx
Member Name: peckinpigeon
Nintendo DS Lite Onyx
Advantages: front runner in handheld games market
Disadvantages: i haven't encountered any problems using the DS
Nintendo has a long history of handheld games consoles and have captivated gamers since the original gameboy (we'll exclude the Virtua boy though!) So now i'll be taking a look at the Nintendo DS.
The design of the console itself isn't stunningly beautiful per say, it's got a nice gloss polish finish and a rectangle clam shell design, and it's simplicity in design creates a console that fits nicely into your hands, you have access to all the consoles buttons very easily without strain or effort, and that's the first thing you ask for in a handheld, so it wins there over the PSP and the earlier Neo Geo, both of which are quite awkward to hold and button access is somewhat of an effort.
You have the two L and R shoulder buttons, A, B and a D-pad, all well designed and easy to press (you'll be surprised how many games consoles have got even that bit wrong!). There's is the top screen and the bottom screen where you'll be using the DS's stylus. The screen resolution is excellent and with the DS lite you don't have to move around too much to find a spot where you can see everything clearly, and with the backlight you can play in the dark to (not that you should be doing that!)
Most of the game action takes place on the top screen, and you the player will be furiously scribbling away at the bottom screen with the stylus, and may i say the stylus works flawlessly, weather your writing with it or swinging a sword you'll have little trouble getting it to work, although with writing there's a small learning curve on how to write certain letters so that the device will recognize them, but the instruction manuals for games requiring you to write usually have a section on certain letters of the alphabet and how best to write them with the stylus, so no real trouble there and you'll get used to that very quickly.
Overall the stylus is very satisfying to use, they seem to have been able to make it work with all games (including the ported versions of N64 titles) from brain training to zelda and each title often has it's own little way of performing certain actions, so your always on your toes with the stylus.
Another feature is the microphone which even now i feel has not been taken full advantage of, voice technology just doesn't work properly yet, even the voice control functions for my Iphone only work half the time, peoples voices are just too diverse for the technology to work, i had particular trouble with brain training, a typical conundrum would be
Brain training: say the colours you see on the screen.
the word red pops up on screen, the word is coloured blue
Me: Blue (into the microphone)
Brain training: Yellow? no that's wrong
Me: dang it!
the word green pops up on screen, the word is coloured yellow
Brain training: try again please i didn't hear that
Brain Training: Red? no that's wrong
Me: forget it
The strange thing is, you'll find it works for some people and hardly never for other people, i guess this is technology that needs tinkering with and a team of scientists behind it i guess, so there's always the future.....
As far as wireless goes, the DS has online support and multiplayer for applicable games, unfortunately i have no friends so to test the DS's online capability i had to make a friend who owned both a DS and a copy of Metroid, having done that i found the wireless capabilities to be pretty good, i only have a 10mb connection in my flat and the game ran with very little lagging or connection trouble, there are games you can play with a worldwide community but i have none of those things so i can't tell you about it, plus it was hard enough for me to make the one friend!
Something i also tried which i wish i had more time to play around with was the picto chat, it's just a neat little chat function but you can draw things on it! you can also write your text with the stylus (mine always comes out looking like my daughters handwriting.... and she's 5) You can also just write using the onscreen keyboard, but hell that's no fun! I know it's only a chat function but i think it just allows you to add a little personal touch to your ramblings, "I love you" always looks better embellished with little hand drawn hearts and bells and whistles and puppies and kittens.
After using it i also noticed there was a picto chat themed level on Super smash bros brawl!
Unlike the Wii the DS doesn't suffer from a lack of range in it's titles, there's something for absolutely everyone on it, from classic Mario and Zelda titles, role playing and real time strategy, to puzzling and platforming (i'm thinking also the incredibly popular Brain Training and Professor Leyton).
A quick note on the battery life, it's perfectly acceptable even for gamers who can't bear to be away from flashing screens for more than five minutes, you get around 6-7 hours of constant gameplay with the device, so if your out and about you won't be worrying too much about the battery conking out on you.
Overall, the quirky functions of the DS seem to push game developers to make new and interesting titles, so there'll be a lot to look forward to in the future. The DS is pretty much the top handheld, although it is a pretty small market it's still something Nintendo can wear on it's belt with pride and the excellent game library will keep you entertained for hours on end.
Summary: An excellent all round console
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