So it seems that all of the rumors about Nintendo’s multimedia DS were true, and we now have the opportunity to buy yet another Nintendo handheld SKU. I simply can’t wait to fork over another $180 or so for one of these things.
So what’s new? Apparently we’re trading the GBA slot for a low-res camera, thus further ceding the handheld market to Japanese high school girls. But as compensation, Nintendo has finally given us an onboard memory solution via an SD memory card slot. Now we can transfer “DS Ware” (and hopefully Virtual Console) games to our DS. Sounds neat. People also seem to be taking this as virtual confirmed that we’re going to get a Game Boy channel for the Virtual Console now.
Cool. Bring it on, right?
Well, it seemed like a great idea for about an hour or so following the announcements. Then I realized that I still have two GBAs and about a dozen games lying around the house. Yeah, I’m probably in the minority, but I’m also pretty sure that there are more people who still have old GBA games than there are people with say, working Famicoms.
And therein lies the problem. Part of the appeal of the Virtual Console is getting the chance to discover long lost games for the Neo-Geo, TurboGrafx or, hey, the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis. But the GBA is comparatively young, so there aren’t very many long lost GBA games around. Sure, there are a few isolated gems like Ninja Five-O, but the rest are either SNES ports or games that were done better on the Nintendo DS. About the only thing that the GBA has over the Nintendo DS right now is Metroid.
So then what about the original Game Boy and the Game Boy Color? Well, apart from a few games like Link’s Awakening, Battletoads, Wario Land and Tetris, the old Game Boy has aged really poorly. Most of those games were just barely passable back in the day, but we put up with them because, damnit, they were portable! Now they’re practically unplayable. Most of the time they were NES ports that you were better off playing on the home console anyway. Can’t say that I’m really aching for the chance to play Donkey Kong Land or anything
The new DSWare has the potential to host some good games, but it mostly seems to be Nintendo’s way of laying the groundwork for the next generation of the Nintendo DS, ala Xbox Live on the first Xbox. I’ll be keeping one eye on the releases, but something tells me that we won’t be seeing anything really interesting until we get a new Nintendo DS with onboard memory as a standard.
So I guess that the DSi isn’t as interesting as I even thought when I started writing this post. Oh well, I guess I’ll have to make do with playing my GBA games the old-fashioned way. Call me when Nintendo announces the DS-2.