Monday, June 12, 2006

Im in Want

I’m in Want

I’m in want with the DS Lite. Those bright screens, and the excellent redesign in every single aspect of the system is excellent. I absolutely love it, and the price point is perfect, it’s right where the DS was before they started shelving them. It reminds me of the major improvement between the GBA and the GBA SP. I absolutely loved the SP, though if I had tried to play a GBA before the SP came out I would have been totally turned off because of the experience ruining flaws with the hardware, such as the dim screen.

Hardware wise, let this be a lesson, a remembered note, visibility is KING. I want to play my games in broad daylight while waiting in lines or riding places when friend is driving and listening to music. The brighter screens are what really sell this little piece of ass, even though a lot of people probably care more about the redesign of the rest of the body on the DS. Frankly, I liked the look of the original DS, I mean, seriously, who defines what’s sexy in hardware? I mean, case mods are cool and all, but who is retarded enough to spend 300 on gaming hardware because it looks pretty?

Silliness aside, I had a hunch this system would do great things when I first heard it was going to have a touch screen. My mind instantly exploded with possibilities, and I don’t mean absurdities. I mean basic possibilities with massive potential that have finally begun to be exploited about 6 to 10 months ago. It’s getting better though, there is a full-fledged war-game with hexagon tiles and complexity. What does the DS still need, though? There is room to improve.

Multiplayer. Metroid Prime: Hunters has such a deep robust multiplayer environment that it competes with PC FPS games, coming up short to only the very best. Problem? I can’t take advantage of it with anything but bots. The online matchmaking only lets you do that if you have DS friend. So, add random people, you say. Well, how many random people play more than casually? What are the odds that because of the poor showing in friends rooms that random people will be looking for random people instead of friends, since you can only do one or the other?

It’s better than Mario Kart, but not by much. Both fun, no doubt, but they feel so limited to what their online experiences could be, and this is FAR outside of what experiences you can make and still preserve people’s safety online. Take a look at the best PC games and their multiplayer, the definitive online experience, and the largest user base for ideas to making matchmaking easier. Sure, keep the random game finding feature, but open up the ability for players to go looking for each other, to join game rooms and servers where they can see other players waiting for them, regardless of the skill level. Add the ability to add friends in session instead of just during the few menu moments. Give all players the option to define games and limits, and game types, and not just “Friends” who may or may not ever actually be online.

They will learn, it’s coming. If it doesn’t come from first party games, third party will follow. But it will come, the system has already bloomed.
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