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Nintendo DS Impressions - Casual GBA User

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November 23, 2004 1:51:54 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.video.nintendo.gameboy.advance,alt.games.video.nintendo.gamecube (More info?)

I picked up a Nintendo DS today and thought I'd write a little about it.

Background: I'm a casual handheld user. While I do keep a GBA SP in my
laptop bag, my game play with it isn't frequent -- at least not on a daily
basis. This isn't because I don't like the GBA, its because I either don't
have the time or I'm not in a situation to use it. The couple of hours per
week that I do use it, I find it to be quite enjoyable. The GBA SP was my
first handheld since the Sega Nomad. Nintendo repacking the GBA SP into a
small compact case and giving a conservative color (black) was what
attracted me towards it. Up until the GBA SP, I was content to play games
on my PDA's -- but lets face it, game handhelds are much more convienent for
gaming than PDA's. As you can assume correctly by now, I'm older (late
20's), but perhaps the very demographic target that Nintendo (and Sony) is
trying to win over with their new handhelds.

As for the Nintendo DS, I've followed it off and on since Nintendo made
their announcement about it. I read the system specs and thought the double
screen (and touch pad) would be interesting, but really didn't know what to
make of it. When Sony released their PSP specs, I immiedietly decided that
I would definetly be getting a PSP and began not to track the Nintendo DS as
I did before. I even forgot the release date of the Nintendo DS. Had it
not been for an articles about it in news media last Friday, I wouldn't had
known it was soon to be released.

Yesterday, I happened to be in a local (independent) toy store and they
about ten Nintendo DS's for sale. I was surprised that they actually had
some in stock. One of the employees commented that they had only sold two
so far and contributed it to people probably not knowing they were carrying
it. (They don't do much in the way of advertising, and no - sorry - this
store doesn't ship.) My curiosity tempted me to make an impulse purchase,
but then reminded myself of the PSP that is still out there somewhere on the
horizon. I was proud to be able to walk out without making an impulse
purchase.

Well, today, I had a very nice surprise. I was reimbursed for some
work-related expenses, to the tune of $210 more than I was expecting. I
took this as a sign, and permission, to go and get a Nintendo DS! I went
back to the same store tonight and they still had four Nintendo DS's left
($149.99). Unfortunetly, they didn't have any Nintendo DS games yet though.

Impressions:

After reading a few posts on the NG's about some Nintendo DS's having scores
of bad pixels, I carefully opened the package while still in the parking lot
to do a quick check. (In the past, I had returned my first GBA SP, as it
had a rather large shard of glass shaving dust under the screen.) Pulling
it out of the box (packaged very well, similiar to GBA SP packaging), my
first impression was that it wasn't as large as I thought it might be. It
is roughly a little more than twice the size of the GBA SP, but lets face
it -- the GBA SP is a very small device!

Power on. I didn't expect it to actually power up, but hit the power button
regardless. The battery pack was already installed and the unit had enough
charge to power on. Your first impression with any new console or handheld,
of course, is the opening screen. From the moment this powered up, I knew
this gaming unit was going to be a treat. The Nintendo DS logo appeared as
a modern-looking graphics logo, windows opened that had very sharp and
defined fonts and icons, and the opening chime was loud and clear. As the
reviews have been saying, this thing wants to be heard! The sound is
excellent.

I took it home and began to start exploring it, after connecting the
charger -- which is basically the same charger as the GBA SP. In fact, the
Nintendo DS charger and the GBA SP charger can both be used with either
unit. Upon first use, the Nintendo DS takes you through a series of
initial configuration. (Name, date, time, etc.) This initial configuration
will be very familiar with all PDA users. After configuring it, I played
around a little with the embedded "PictoChat" program. The layout of the
program is very cool, but since I didn't have anyone to chat with it wasn't
of much use.

The wrist strap / "thumb pointing device". This thing connects to the unit
by a loop of very thin cord fiber. It definetly will eventually break off,
but replacements will be plenty I'm sure. I'm sure there will also be many
third parties that come out with interesting ideas as a replacement. I
hooked it up anyway, as I've read others found using the touchpad easier
with it.

First game. I put Advance Wars (GBA) in and gave it a try. Open powering
up, it loads to the Nintendo DS main screen where running the game in the
GBA slot is one of the options available. This may get old after a while,
as loading straight into game may be more convienent. (There may be a hot
button or something to hold down during power up so it does load straight to
the game. Naturally, I haven't read the manual yet.) The GBA game loaded
and was displayed in the top LCD screen. While GBA games won't fill the
screen completetly (its close though, perhaps 96 percent), it did appear to
be sharper than the GBA SP. I played a quick game of Advance Wars and was
happy with the button layouts. After being used to the GBA SP (hands close
together), it does feel a little different playing on the DS -- but the
design feels natural enough.

Metroid Hunters. Time for the beef and the price of admission. I put this
cart into the DS slot and powered up. I'm was impressed as soon as the
opening animation began! The use of both screens for the opening animation
is pretty cool. I put the little thumb pointer in and start a game. At
first, I had the pointer on my left thumb and was under the impression that
the D-pad (left side) was used to also move your character. This, of
course, seemed to not make much sense, but within a minute figured out that
the right side buttons are also used to do movement. (The thumb pointer
moves your point-of-view.) I switched to right hand and tried it also.
Within a couple minutes, it started feeling natural. Like many others have
sense, it does give a sensation of using a mouse. Very cool, indeed.

I'm looking forward to getting some DS games. I'll probably pick up Mario
tomorrow. I'd also love to see the DS used for some non-gaming
applications. The DS, with it's onboard 802.11, is sitting perfectly to be
used a simple web browser and email client. Only the software is necessary.
I'd use the Nintendo DS more frequently than my PDA while in wireless hot
spots, since the DS would be much more convienent. It would be great to use
it for those applications within my home wireless network as well.

The Sony PSP is still on my list, but I'm very happy with the Nintendo DS.
Both handhelds should do very well.

-Eric
November 23, 2004 3:52:46 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.video.nintendo.gameboy.advance,alt.games.video.nintendo.gamecube (More info?)

> I picked up a Nintendo DS today and thought I'd write a little about it.
>
> Background: I'm a casual handheld user. While I do keep a GBA SP in my
> laptop bag, my game play with it isn't frequent -- at least not on a daily
> basis. This isn't because I don't like the GBA, its because I either
don't
> have the time or I'm not in a situation to use it. The couple of hours
per
> week that I do use it, I find it to be quite enjoyable. The GBA SP was my
> first handheld since the Sega Nomad. Nintendo repacking the GBA SP into a
> small compact case and giving a conservative color (black) was what
> attracted me towards it. Up until the GBA SP, I was content to play games
> on my PDA's -- but lets face it, game handhelds are much more convienent
for
> gaming than PDA's. As you can assume correctly by now, I'm older (late
> 20's), but perhaps the very demographic target that Nintendo (and Sony) is
> trying to win over with their new handhelds.
>
> As for the Nintendo DS, I've followed it off and on since Nintendo made
> their announcement about it. I read the system specs and thought the
double
> screen (and touch pad) would be interesting, but really didn't know what
to
> make of it. When Sony released their PSP specs, I immiedietly decided
that
> I would definetly be getting a PSP and began not to track the Nintendo DS
as
> I did before. I even forgot the release date of the Nintendo DS. Had it
> not been for an articles about it in news media last Friday, I wouldn't
had
> known it was soon to be released.
>
> Yesterday, I happened to be in a local (independent) toy store and they
> about ten Nintendo DS's for sale. I was surprised that they actually had
> some in stock. One of the employees commented that they had only sold two
> so far and contributed it to people probably not knowing they were
carrying
> it. (They don't do much in the way of advertising, and no - sorry - this
> store doesn't ship.) My curiosity tempted me to make an impulse purchase,
> but then reminded myself of the PSP that is still out there somewhere on
the
> horizon. I was proud to be able to walk out without making an impulse
> purchase.
>
> Well, today, I had a very nice surprise. I was reimbursed for some
> work-related expenses, to the tune of $210 more than I was expecting. I
> took this as a sign, and permission, to go and get a Nintendo DS! I went
> back to the same store tonight and they still had four Nintendo DS's left
> ($149.99). Unfortunetly, they didn't have any Nintendo DS games yet
though.
>
> Impressions:
>
> After reading a few posts on the NG's about some Nintendo DS's having
scores
> of bad pixels, I carefully opened the package while still in the parking
lot
> to do a quick check. (In the past, I had returned my first GBA SP, as it
> had a rather large shard of glass shaving dust under the screen.) Pulling
> it out of the box (packaged very well, similiar to GBA SP packaging), my
> first impression was that it wasn't as large as I thought it might be. It
> is roughly a little more than twice the size of the GBA SP, but lets face
> it -- the GBA SP is a very small device!
>
> Power on. I didn't expect it to actually power up, but hit the power
button
> regardless. The battery pack was already installed and the unit had
enough
> charge to power on. Your first impression with any new console or
handheld,
> of course, is the opening screen. From the moment this powered up, I knew
> this gaming unit was going to be a treat. The Nintendo DS logo appeared
as
> a modern-looking graphics logo, windows opened that had very sharp and
> defined fonts and icons, and the opening chime was loud and clear. As the
> reviews have been saying, this thing wants to be heard! The sound is
> excellent.
>
> I took it home and began to start exploring it, after connecting the
> charger -- which is basically the same charger as the GBA SP. In fact,
the
> Nintendo DS charger and the GBA SP charger can both be used with either
> unit. Upon first use, the Nintendo DS takes you through a series of
> initial configuration. (Name, date, time, etc.) This initial
configuration
> will be very familiar with all PDA users. After configuring it, I played
> around a little with the embedded "PictoChat" program. The layout of the
> program is very cool, but since I didn't have anyone to chat with it
wasn't
> of much use.
>
> The wrist strap / "thumb pointing device". This thing connects to the
unit
> by a loop of very thin cord fiber. It definetly will eventually break
off,
> but replacements will be plenty I'm sure. I'm sure there will also be
many
> third parties that come out with interesting ideas as a replacement. I
> hooked it up anyway, as I've read others found using the touchpad easier
> with it.
>
> First game. I put Advance Wars (GBA) in and gave it a try. Open powering
> up, it loads to the Nintendo DS main screen where running the game in the
> GBA slot is one of the options available. This may get old after a while,
> as loading straight into game may be more convienent. (There may be a hot
> button or something to hold down during power up so it does load straight
to
> the game. Naturally, I haven't read the manual yet.) The GBA game loaded
> and was displayed in the top LCD screen. While GBA games won't fill the
> screen completetly (its close though, perhaps 96 percent), it did appear
to
> be sharper than the GBA SP. I played a quick game of Advance Wars and was
> happy with the button layouts. After being used to the GBA SP (hands
close
> together), it does feel a little different playing on the DS -- but the
> design feels natural enough.
>
> Metroid Hunters. Time for the beef and the price of admission. I put
this
> cart into the DS slot and powered up. I'm was impressed as soon as the
> opening animation began! The use of both screens for the opening
animation
> is pretty cool. I put the little thumb pointer in and start a game. At
> first, I had the pointer on my left thumb and was under the impression
that
> the D-pad (left side) was used to also move your character. This, of
> course, seemed to not make much sense, but within a minute figured out
that
> the right side buttons are also used to do movement. (The thumb pointer
> moves your point-of-view.) I switched to right hand and tried it also.
> Within a couple minutes, it started feeling natural. Like many others
have
> sense, it does give a sensation of using a mouse. Very cool, indeed.
>
> I'm looking forward to getting some DS games. I'll probably pick up Mario
> tomorrow. I'd also love to see the DS used for some non-gaming
> applications. The DS, with it's onboard 802.11, is sitting perfectly to
be
> used a simple web browser and email client. Only the software is
necessary.
> I'd use the Nintendo DS more frequently than my PDA while in wireless hot
> spots, since the DS would be much more convienent. It would be great to
use
> it for those applications within my home wireless network as well.
>
> The Sony PSP is still on my list, but I'm very happy with the Nintendo DS.
> Both handhelds should do very well.
>
> -Eric

I've been playing with the DS since writing the above post. I previously
wrote how the "thumb stylus" (now that I'm using it on my right thumb) does
give a sensation of using a computer mouse, but the opposite is also true --
after using the DS for a while, going back to a computer mouse feels like
the "thumb stylus". Very cool.

After playing the Metroid demo (and a few GBA games), poked around the
entire configuration stuff -- including the "Startup Mode"
(Manual/Automatic). I think a better approach would've been for the DS to
always boot to the DS screen, unless a specific key (say, "B") was held down
while powering up (and a cart was in a slot). I'm not complaining about
something so minor though.

Another quirk is that the time, I'm assuming, uses only a 24 hour clock? I
looked all through the setting (and even finally opened the manual), but
there doesn't appear to be a way to set it to a 12 hour (AM/PM) clock.
Another minor quirk. Even though I've been in the military, I prefer using
12-hour clocks with gadgets. (Its easier on the eyes.)

Last minor quirk is, at least for me, I'm finding my range of motion with
the "thumb stylus" to be limited due to how your hand has to be situated to
use the shoulder button. At times, you find yourself having to lift your
thumb from the touchpad and then re-scroll. It would've been nice if there
was a configuration setting that could adjust scrolling sensativity on the
touchpad. (I did calibrate the touchpad with the stylus.)

Just a few minor things that probably could've been improved on, but its
still a great little toy.

-Eric
Anonymous
November 24, 2004 4:52:20 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.video.nintendo.gameboy.advance,alt.games.video.nintendo.gamecube (More info?)

Thanks for the impressions! Keep us informed after you buy SM64

"Eric" <none@nospam.not> wrote in message
news:10q5k1d9505dvff@corp.supernews.com...
>> I picked up a Nintendo DS today and thought I'd write a little about it.
>>
>> Background: I'm a casual handheld user. While I do keep a GBA SP in my
>> laptop bag, my game play with it isn't frequent -- at least not on a
>> daily
>> basis. This isn't because I don't like the GBA, its because I either
> don't
>> have the time or I'm not in a situation to use it. The couple of hours
> per
>> week that I do use it, I find it to be quite enjoyable. The GBA SP was
>> my
>> first handheld since the Sega Nomad. Nintendo repacking the GBA SP into
>> a
>> small compact case and giving a conservative color (black) was what
>> attracted me towards it. Up until the GBA SP, I was content to play
>> games
>> on my PDA's -- but lets face it, game handhelds are much more convienent
> for
>> gaming than PDA's. As you can assume correctly by now, I'm older (late
>> 20's), but perhaps the very demographic target that Nintendo (and Sony)
>> is
>> trying to win over with their new handhelds.
>>
>> As for the Nintendo DS, I've followed it off and on since Nintendo made
>> their announcement about it. I read the system specs and thought the
> double
>> screen (and touch pad) would be interesting, but really didn't know what
> to
>> make of it. When Sony released their PSP specs, I immiedietly decided
> that
>> I would definetly be getting a PSP and began not to track the Nintendo DS
> as
>> I did before. I even forgot the release date of the Nintendo DS. Had it
>> not been for an articles about it in news media last Friday, I wouldn't
> had
>> known it was soon to be released.
>>
>> Yesterday, I happened to be in a local (independent) toy store and they
>> about ten Nintendo DS's for sale. I was surprised that they actually had
>> some in stock. One of the employees commented that they had only sold
>> two
>> so far and contributed it to people probably not knowing they were
> carrying
>> it. (They don't do much in the way of advertising, and no - sorry - this
>> store doesn't ship.) My curiosity tempted me to make an impulse
>> purchase,
>> but then reminded myself of the PSP that is still out there somewhere on
> the
>> horizon. I was proud to be able to walk out without making an impulse
>> purchase.
>>
>> Well, today, I had a very nice surprise. I was reimbursed for some
>> work-related expenses, to the tune of $210 more than I was expecting. I
>> took this as a sign, and permission, to go and get a Nintendo DS! I went
>> back to the same store tonight and they still had four Nintendo DS's left
>> ($149.99). Unfortunetly, they didn't have any Nintendo DS games yet
> though.
>>
>> Impressions:
>>
>> After reading a few posts on the NG's about some Nintendo DS's having
> scores
>> of bad pixels, I carefully opened the package while still in the parking
> lot
>> to do a quick check. (In the past, I had returned my first GBA SP, as it
>> had a rather large shard of glass shaving dust under the screen.)
>> Pulling
>> it out of the box (packaged very well, similiar to GBA SP packaging), my
>> first impression was that it wasn't as large as I thought it might be.
>> It
>> is roughly a little more than twice the size of the GBA SP, but lets face
>> it -- the GBA SP is a very small device!
>>
>> Power on. I didn't expect it to actually power up, but hit the power
> button
>> regardless. The battery pack was already installed and the unit had
> enough
>> charge to power on. Your first impression with any new console or
> handheld,
>> of course, is the opening screen. From the moment this powered up, I
>> knew
>> this gaming unit was going to be a treat. The Nintendo DS logo appeared
> as
>> a modern-looking graphics logo, windows opened that had very sharp and
>> defined fonts and icons, and the opening chime was loud and clear. As
>> the
>> reviews have been saying, this thing wants to be heard! The sound is
>> excellent.
>>
>> I took it home and began to start exploring it, after connecting the
>> charger -- which is basically the same charger as the GBA SP. In fact,
> the
>> Nintendo DS charger and the GBA SP charger can both be used with either
>> unit. Upon first use, the Nintendo DS takes you through a series of
>> initial configuration. (Name, date, time, etc.) This initial
> configuration
>> will be very familiar with all PDA users. After configuring it, I played
>> around a little with the embedded "PictoChat" program. The layout of the
>> program is very cool, but since I didn't have anyone to chat with it
> wasn't
>> of much use.
>>
>> The wrist strap / "thumb pointing device". This thing connects to the
> unit
>> by a loop of very thin cord fiber. It definetly will eventually break
> off,
>> but replacements will be plenty I'm sure. I'm sure there will also be
> many
>> third parties that come out with interesting ideas as a replacement. I
>> hooked it up anyway, as I've read others found using the touchpad easier
>> with it.
>>
>> First game. I put Advance Wars (GBA) in and gave it a try. Open
>> powering
>> up, it loads to the Nintendo DS main screen where running the game in the
>> GBA slot is one of the options available. This may get old after a
>> while,
>> as loading straight into game may be more convienent. (There may be a
>> hot
>> button or something to hold down during power up so it does load straight
> to
>> the game. Naturally, I haven't read the manual yet.) The GBA game
>> loaded
>> and was displayed in the top LCD screen. While GBA games won't fill the
>> screen completetly (its close though, perhaps 96 percent), it did appear
> to
>> be sharper than the GBA SP. I played a quick game of Advance Wars and
>> was
>> happy with the button layouts. After being used to the GBA SP (hands
> close
>> together), it does feel a little different playing on the DS -- but the
>> design feels natural enough.
>>
>> Metroid Hunters. Time for the beef and the price of admission. I put
> this
>> cart into the DS slot and powered up. I'm was impressed as soon as the
>> opening animation began! The use of both screens for the opening
> animation
>> is pretty cool. I put the little thumb pointer in and start a game. At
>> first, I had the pointer on my left thumb and was under the impression
> that
>> the D-pad (left side) was used to also move your character. This, of
>> course, seemed to not make much sense, but within a minute figured out
> that
>> the right side buttons are also used to do movement. (The thumb pointer
>> moves your point-of-view.) I switched to right hand and tried it also.
>> Within a couple minutes, it started feeling natural. Like many others
> have
>> sense, it does give a sensation of using a mouse. Very cool, indeed.
>>
>> I'm looking forward to getting some DS games. I'll probably pick up
>> Mario
>> tomorrow. I'd also love to see the DS used for some non-gaming
>> applications. The DS, with it's onboard 802.11, is sitting perfectly to
> be
>> used a simple web browser and email client. Only the software is
> necessary.
>> I'd use the Nintendo DS more frequently than my PDA while in wireless hot
>> spots, since the DS would be much more convienent. It would be great to
> use
>> it for those applications within my home wireless network as well.
>>
>> The Sony PSP is still on my list, but I'm very happy with the Nintendo
>> DS.
>> Both handhelds should do very well.
>>
>> -Eric
>
> I've been playing with the DS since writing the above post. I previously
> wrote how the "thumb stylus" (now that I'm using it on my right thumb)
> does
> give a sensation of using a computer mouse, but the opposite is also
> true --
> after using the DS for a while, going back to a computer mouse feels like
> the "thumb stylus". Very cool.
>
> After playing the Metroid demo (and a few GBA games), poked around the
> entire configuration stuff -- including the "Startup Mode"
> (Manual/Automatic). I think a better approach would've been for the DS to
> always boot to the DS screen, unless a specific key (say, "B") was held
> down
> while powering up (and a cart was in a slot). I'm not complaining about
> something so minor though.
>
> Another quirk is that the time, I'm assuming, uses only a 24 hour clock?
> I
> looked all through the setting (and even finally opened the manual), but
> there doesn't appear to be a way to set it to a 12 hour (AM/PM) clock.
> Another minor quirk. Even though I've been in the military, I prefer
> using
> 12-hour clocks with gadgets. (Its easier on the eyes.)
>
> Last minor quirk is, at least for me, I'm finding my range of motion with
> the "thumb stylus" to be limited due to how your hand has to be situated
> to
> use the shoulder button. At times, you find yourself having to lift your
> thumb from the touchpad and then re-scroll. It would've been nice if
> there
> was a configuration setting that could adjust scrolling sensativity on the
> touchpad. (I did calibrate the touchpad with the stylus.)
>
> Just a few minor things that probably could've been improved on, but its
> still a great little toy.
>
> -Eric
>
>
!