Gaming Report: Nintendo DS
Dirk Brockman, mere moments before detonation.
Tokyo, Japan - As Something Awful's chief gaming correspondent and an admitted Nintendo fanboy, I was honored to be on hand for Nintendo's press conference detailing the launch of their upcoming system, the Nintendo DS. A lot was expected of the big N, with their dominance in the handheld market being threatened by the imminent arrival of Sony's sleek and sexy PSP. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata (rough english translation: Dirk Brockman) kicked the event off with a bang, detonating his tasteful vest and matching jacket which had been stuffed with dynamite. After a polite round of applause, his replacement Shigeru Miyamoto (Carlita Fernandez) took the stage.
"Ladies and gentlemen, we are very excited about the launch of the Nintendo DS and the innovation it will spark in our industry. With two screens, our revolutionary handheld will deliver more two screened games than any other console in history. Think of the possibilities! For example, an updated Duck Hunt which uses the top screen for gameplay and the bottom screen for displaying the grass at your feet. How many times have you missed a duck because you were wondering whether you were standing in crabgrass or sawgrass? Thanks to the second screen, you will be pleasantly forbidden from wondering again. And it's crabgrass."
But that's not all. The second screen on the DS is also touch-sensitive and can be used to control the action with your fat greasy fingers or the provided stylus. This could lead to some incredibly original gameplay elements. Scenario A: you're playing Grand Theft Auto and come across a totally sweet car occupied by an elderly woman. Should you pull her out of the vehicle, steal it, then run her over? Yawn. Instead, use the stylus to key the car as you walk by, leaving a crude caricature of a man holding his anus wide open. OR approach the windshield and rub the DS' screen in circular motions to clean her windshield until she gives you a dollar. Now that's what I call chaos! Scenario B: You're playing a game set in World War 2, and one of your squadmates takes a gutshot from an enemy sniper. He drops to the ground screaming, hands clasped around his midsection to hold his guts in. You cautiously approach as crossfire streaks through the air inches above your head, and, using the touch screen, attempt to make him feel better by tickling him.
All of this is great, but what's a system without any games? No, not the Sega 32x. You know what I meant. After the in-depth presentation of the DS unit itself, the press was shown a collection of games currently in development. Many were promising, some looked downright incredible, and a handful were puzzling. I've highlighted a few of the most intriguing, but bear in mind that the guy in front of me had a really big head that wobbled a lot and a weird haircut, so it interfered with my ability to catch all of what was said on stage.
Puppy Times is aimed at people who always wanted to raise puppies in the confines of a very small box, but hate the prospects of criminal animal cruelty charges. This surprisingly deep title lets you raise several puppies, beat them arbitrarily, poke them in the ribs when they try to sleep, scream at them through the DS' microphone, and smile fondly as they launch cute attempts to escape their cold and uncaring digital hell.
Network play is planned, but Nintendo has not yet confirmed if a puppy deathmatch mode will be included in this senselessly brutal game.
Feel the Magic: XY/XX
The cliched moment when a scorpion delivery truck crashes and dumps boxes full of live scorpions on your date. Don't worry, the game becomes more original as it progresses.
Ahhh, love. For a young man, there's nothing quite like it. That wonky feeling in the pit of your stomach when you somehow manage to make the object of your affection smile. The nervous excitement leading up to that magical first kiss. Being accosted on your first date by a delivery van full of scorpions, a wave of parachuting scorpions, and scorpions disguised as other scorpions with little fake mustaches. That's right, this is THE Japanese dating sim for people who feel disappointed by the waning volume of scorpions in dating sims over recent years, and is reason #137 why I feel Japan should be renamed Scorpion Island.
It's worth nothing that Feel the Magic: XY/XX originally went by the much easier to make fun of title Project Rub, but Sega thought better of it and went with a more unassuming and simple title. You're always one step ahead of me, Sega, but one day you'll blink for just a second too long and I'll be on you like scorpions on my girlfriend.
Hokuto No Ken
At long last, the head-exploding fisticuffs of the popular Fist Of The North Star anime have been paired with the pulse-pounding intensity of casino-style slot machines. Get three watermelons and you punch your opponent's head off, get three 7s and you punch your own head off. If you get anything less, your opponent's nose gets a little scratchy.
You'd think a game like this would only be made exponentially more awkward by attempting to have a story. You'd be right, but they added one anyway. My Japanese isn't up to par, but in one of the conversations I think the main character said something to the effect of "My mom says I fuck like a wildebeest", which struck me as bizarre. After all, up until that point I had been under the impression that wildebeests reproduced asexually.
Super Mario World 64 DS
The constant role model, Mario teaches children the importance of being overweight.
In this remake of the N64 classic, you run around with up to three other players and collect stars and golden coins strewn about the level, the very same coins which also littered every Mario Brothers adventure since the original. This disturbs me greatly. Somewhere deep in the Mushroom Kingdom, there lives an elderly man. He has paid into social security throughout the entirety of his 35 year career as a pipe sweeper, and after his sight was lost in the freak fireball incident which ended that career, his very survival has relied on an envelope full of coins which the Kingdom mails him monthly. Every month he undertakes that dangerous trek across the kingdom to the post office, and every month he unkowingly loses 90% of those coins on the way home through the hole in his pocket. He is only able to afford the most basic of ramen turtle soups, and was forced to move out of the sturdy question-mark lined house which he grew up in and into a tiny brick apartment that breaks apart at the slightest bump. This man lives in squallor just a heartbeat away from death, and we only have our own greed to blame.
I'm not quite sure how well these titles will go over, but it should be an interesting launch. All in all, this was a very exciting conference and you enjoyed my article immensely.