he Nintendo DS is no ordinary console. What on the face of it appears to be merely an upgraded Game Boy Advance is packed with a suite of never-before-seen features which make it unique within the gaming world.
The most obvious new feature is the two screens (DS stands for dual screen), the bottom of which is a touch screen. This makes an enormous difference to the way you play and interact with the game, as you use a stylus or the handy thumb strap to control the action.
The way this works in a game varies enormously, with first person shooter Metroid Prime: Hunters using the touch screen and D-pad to create a control system thats just as responsive as a PC keyboard and mouse. Other games, like Yoshis Touch & Go, have you actually drawing on the touch pad to create platforms, while other games use the extra screen to display inventory or map info.
But theres more to the DS than even that. It also has a built-in microphone (one new medical game has you operating on patients with the touch screen and reassuring them everythings going to be okay via the microphone) and it can be connected wirelessly to sixteen or more other consoles. Not only that but some games and utilities even allow it to connect online via Wi-Fi.
Although the DS is far more powerful than the GBA it can display 3D graphics somewhere between a Nintendo 64 and the GameCube--it is still backwards compatible, so you can play all your old GBA games in single player mode on the same console.
With a battery life of between 6 and 10 hours the Nintendo DS gets pretty much everything right. With a range of games that seem to offer far more originality and imagination than any other home or portable console this is could well be the most exciting new console of 2005. --David Jenkins
- Size (when closed): 148.7mm wide, 84.7mm long, 28.9mm tall
- Top screen: 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 colours
- Touch screen: same specs as top screen, but with a transparent analog touch screen
- Wireless communication: IEEE 802.11 and Nintendo's proprietary format; wireless range is 30 to 100 feet, depending on circumstances
- Other features: embedded PictoChat software that allows up to 16 users to chat at once; embedded real-time clock; date, time and alarm
- CPUs: One ARM9 and one ARM7
- Sound: Stereo speakers providing virtual surround sound, depending on the software; integral headphone socket
- Battery: lithium ion battery delivering six to 10 hours of play on a four-hour charge, depending on use
- Two separate game slots, one for Nintendo DS games and one for Game Boy Advance games. The Nintendo DS is fully backwards compatible with all Game Boy Advance titles. The new format for games also means that the Nintendo DS has no moving parts that can be misaligned if the unit is dropped