It’s nice to see you again, Dr Kawashima. This must be the first time I’ve ever been excited to see a doctor. Brain Training is back, the game that elevated Nintendo DS into the stratosphere outside traditional gaming. This “non-game” took off as a great way to use the touch screen and features of the DS and 3DS systems, but how does it hold up on a home console hybrid? It’s a little different. I picked up the new Switch version today and thought I’d write about the experience.
I’ve been a naughty boy. Four long days, I have kept Dr Kawashima waiting, his game left unplayed on my Wii U. I tried to put him out of my mind and enjoy Xenoblade X, but his handsome face remained on the startup screen. His icon throbbing, yet welcoming. I couldn’t resist. I had to touch his face and boot up the game, just to feel that warmth I was missing. Nothing else could replace it. I expected a scolding for my absence, but he played it off with a cheerful razzing. He always does this, puts on an act. He’s trying his best to be strong and rational. However, behind that jolly facade I could feel the coldness in his eyes. The tears from those lonely nights had left his soul dry and empty. He needed me. He was seething on the inside, but his response was calculated. I didn’t know what to say.
2004, Nintendo is struggling with the GameCube and losing the support of third parties. Game Boy Advance is doing well but the future is in doubt as the threat of a competent Sony handheld looms. After a kiddy Zelda game (that will never get a remake) gamers were desperately clinging to the hope of a proper “realistic” Zelda. A poor marketing campaign for Super Mario Sunshine didn’t help matters, where are the traditional Mario games? The future of the system was dependent on instant megaton announcements that didn’t happen, and Resident Evil 4 which was no longer an exclusive game. E3 2004 changed everything, with the introduction of a new system and a new attitude.
Nintendo DS was unveiled and Reggie’s confidence and the promise of a new Metroid title brought excitement to the terminally-hip crowd. However, as the dust settled, sites began taking the mickey out of Nintendo and this was the predicted downfall of the company as the unstoppable Sony showed off their new handheld, the PSP. Comparisons were inevitable and many people thought Sony would carry PS2’s success into the handheld arena. Here’s an article from IGN from just before DS and PSP launched, very clearly stating their mindset. It’s the best article I could find because they are trying to be open-minded, but it’s almost eerie how wrong they were. Here’s some quotes that highlight the apathy of DS’s unveiling.
Casual, hardcore, non-gamer, casual-gamer. What do all these mean? What language am I speaking? If you’ve read any “insightful” feature articles on videogames in the past 5 years, you’ll know these terms pretty well. Let’s start with where these popular phrases originated, and how these words became “categories”.