I wrote a review of AC:WW for the lovely folks over at Killer Betties – take a gander…
The new DS will be lighter, brighter, and sleeker – but not only that.Â You’ll be able to buy a cartridge with the Opera web browser, and using Nintendo’s wifi, you’ll be able to browse the internet.Â This is really incredible – no other handheld or console system has implemented a web browser.Â They’ll also have a digital video add-on, and they’ve announced a broadcast service that will stream high definition video.
The DS already has cartridges available for learning various foreign languages, brain games, and the rich and artistic Electroplankton.Â What next?
Will interactive developers in the states be able to develop games for the DS now?Â Ones that leverage the stylus and voip?Â My niece just finished months of working with a virtual tutor online through Sylvan learning.Â I can just imagine similar implementations for the DS.
The system is launching in Japan on March 2nd.Â Gamermom can’t wait to hear how it is received!
Need more details now?
Electroplankton is a work of art. Clever, engaging, and very well designed.
You get 10 ‘plankton‘ that perform various types of musical composition. The plankton can be manipulated using the stylus in movements that created music, and each has a distinctly differently musical action. Some have predetermined musical tones, others can be recorded right through the DS (e.g., your voice, ambient sounds, actual musical instruments.)
The game has 2 modes: a perfomance mode where you conduct the plankton, and an audience mode where you can listen to pre-recorded music (you can engage and play along with them as well.)
You can listen to the plankton via the speakers on the DS, which sound reasonably good, or on headphones or external speakers.
We plugged it into the speakers for my iPod and lounged on the bed exploring the plankton’s sea. The sound was incredible – some of them could have easily lulled the kids to sleep. But don’t be fooled; it’s not a lethargic game at all. We each recorded a sound or tone into the “Rec Rec” plankton and listened to a family groove. Great fun.
My 6 year old spent about 2 hours completely immersed in the game. This isn’t a child that spends 2 hours doing any activity, if that’s any indication of the compelling nature of Electroplankton.
My daughter and I talked quite a bit about how the scale works, and sat with the keyboard to experiment with sounds and keep our own voices in key.
There seems to be some discrepancy over whether Electroplankton is a game or not. There is not a competitive model at all – no notion of players or pre-defined conditions for winning. In fact, the game doesn’t record or save your compositions.
But this adds an interesting element – if you want to reproduce your creation for someone, you will have to actually learn to play Electroplankton. That’s turned our Nintendo DS systems into veritable instruments.
We’re going to try and use the headphone jack to get the sounds onto the PC, where we could record them. Seems doable, and we’ll post the results once we’ve got it going.
For this gamermom, any device that plays both intelligent, well designed games and can be used to create creative music is well worth it!
Dan Matkowsky quotes an article that makes me wonder if this woman is of the same species:
In the article, Roxanne Richardson, soon-to-be mother of two, contends, “I’d rather my son take a more proactive, less habitual drug like cocaine, than lock himself away and play video games. It’s so lazy. At least with pills and coke you’re out and about doing something.”
Wow…let’s talk about lazy for a second.
It’s Friday – my husband and I spent the week working, fighting off the flu, and doing all the chores that a family of 5 treats as everyday life (laundry, dishes, dinner, repeat).
What are we doing right now, having finished all that? We’re gaming with our kids.
Dad and the boys are playing Warcraft. Actively teaching our youngest, who is 6, the strategy necessary to keep up his production of units to help out the team.
Mom and daughter are exploring Electroplankton, using a keyboard to tune our voices and discovering how the plankton react to our directives. Huge music lesson here in how the scale works, etc.
Now, I’m sorry, but are my kids engaging in a lazy habitual activity? Exactly who is the lazy parent here?
Any parent who advocates cocaine, even in jest, is simply competing for a Darwin Award.
Ok – so one of the ways I’d define innovation (leave a comment with how you define it!) is evident in how your product pushes through the traditional demographics identified by your product marketing managers. They tell you something akin to “this device will sell to an older gamer demographic than our typical line, aged 15-35, and will be stronger with women.” Fine, if that was all the DS did it would be one thing, but no! Artists are blogging about creating real music with Electroplankton on the DS, and suggesting the game console as a tax deduction!
That’s some mojo.