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Nintendo DS - The Major Nintendo Announcement

Nintendo has been telling us for a while now that they would reveal a new hardware product at E3 which is not a direct successor to any existing Nintendo product. Well Nintendo has just now released the first details about the product.

(drumroll please)

Introducing the Nintendo DS! Nintendo's new product is a portable game system with two seperate 3-inch TFT LCD screens. It also has sepereate processors. Nintendo gave no more details about what the device could do or how it is physically designed. The main idea is that the player will be able to see two alternate views of a game, streamlining gameplay for some types of games, and perhaps opening up entirely new types of gameplay as well. For instance, perhaps an Real Time Strategy game could display both the up-close action and a larger area map at once. Racing games could have a standard view and a rear-view. Or in a game like Mario & Luigi (in which the brothers occasionally seperated), it would be interesting if you could keep an eye on both at the simultaneously, vie the dual screens, and perhaps even control both of them simultaneously, yet seperately.

The full unveiling of the Nintendo DS will take place at the Electronic Entertainment Expo this year, where we will be able to learn a lot more about its additional features and capability. Nintendo is already developing software for the system, and actually plans to have it out by the end of this year. Nintendo is currently discussing software development for the system with 3rd party developers. They also stated that the Nintendo DS will be marketed seperately from the GameCube and Game Boy Advance systems, indicating that the Nintendo DS is intended to be a third Nintendo gaming system, not a replacement or successor to Nintendo's currently available systems.

Of course, now many new questions have been raised. We're all now eager to know what capabilities (in terms of graphics and sound) the nes system will have. For instance, maybe one screen displays 3D graphics, while the second screen displays 2D. We don't know what type of storage media the device uses, or even what the control interface will be like. In fact, the physical design of the system is something significant that we probably won't see until E3. One would have to imagine that it's something quite different from just a GBA with two screens next to each other, otherwise, it might as well be one. All we can do is speculate, which I'm sure we'll see plenty of between now and E3. We can also hope for further announcements before E3.

By Andrew Thivyanathan - 01/20/04

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