Nintendo's latest hand-held line is the Nintendo DS (NDS). The NDS is great for graphics and has some pretty cool games, but I think the way the technology is implemented could use a rethink. Here's why:
Many of the games require you to use the stylus, which is great if that's all you're using. However, it can be extremely difficult at times to use both the stylus and the d-pad or other buttons simultaneously. Games that don't require the stylus don't have the same functionality, but they're typically easier to play (at least in terms of controlling your characters). Games that only require the stylus are just fine, but sometimes, you need a little extra bump from some actual controls; the stylus itself is controlled only by your hand, and if you don't have pretty steady hands, it can be very easy to screw up and end up with zero Marios or a very unhappy Ekans.
Now on to the microphone. Some games, such as The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, require you to blow into the microphone at certain points. This can be extremely frustrating. You could just blow really hard at the screen, but that would only get you minimal results. The best way to use this feature is to put your mouth right up to the microphone and blow. The problem with this is the microphone's location. Finicky as it is, it also happens to be in a place that requires you to take your eyes away from not just one screen, but two. You might be able to see the top screen if you're doing it just right, but this doesn't always help you.
So, the question is: should Nintendo change the way the DS is played? Perhaps simply moving the microphone to the bottom would help. Perhaps it would also help to make it more sensitive, though this could cause problems if you're playing outside on a windy day; have a fan blowing; or just happen to be breathing in the general direction of the microphone. Making it slightly larger could work, but that would also mean a larger console to compensate unless you decreased the screen size (which I don't think anyone would be happy about). And what about the stylus? Should something else be conjured up to replace it? It is extremely useful and vital for some games, but in others, it's simply a pain in the neck.
Also, I know some people have sore thumbs after playing for a while with such small buttons. Here's one suggestion: replace the d-pad with a ball. I have a track ball instead of a mouse for my computer and it works wonderfully; I don't have to move the base all over the place and the movement is pretty smooth. Why not apply the same principle to a Nintendo portable? Replace the d-pad with a ball that has medium-low sensitivity and you have an easy-to-use method of movement. Using the L and R buttons to turn wouldn't necessarily give you the up-and-down looking feature that's sometimes very useful, but that could be solved with two small L buttons and two small R buttons - one set for looking up, and one set for looking down.
And notice I said medium-low sensitivity; the one problem I see with a ball instead of a d-pad is that if the ball shifts, you could find yourself walking off of a cliff instead of body-slamming your opponent. I suppose one could come up with a control stick like on the N64, moving the stick to move your character and turning the stick itself to the left or right to turn; pressing a button atop the control stick and holding it down would allow one to move the control stick to look in any direction. The only problem with this, of course, is that the NDS - being a portable - is built to be compact. But perhaps they could have a slot for it to fold into, much like the antenna on a radio?
These are just some of my own ideas. But as it is now, I think the stylus makes the DS easier in some games and much harder in others, and the microphone isn't all that great either. What do you think?
If you wanted to just say yes or no, you could have just voted.
Future posters: please post thoughtful replies instead of saying yes, no, it's easy, it's hard, etc. Those answers are covered by the poll already.
On a more friendly note, I'm afraid I'll have to disagree with you. Sometimes it is quite easy, as I stated in my initial post, but it is also difficult at times to use the DS. I much prefer the Gameboy line.
The touch screen makes things too easy or hard, with very little middle ground. For example, the Zelda DS games have easy combat because most of the time, you just tap something and you run over and kill it automatically, but Super Mario 64 DS is too hard because you have to use the stylus or D-pad to move. Neither method works well, and I feel it destroyed an otherwise perfectly good remake.
I feel the perfect example of using the touch screen properly is Wario Ware Touched. It's so awesome because it isn't some mashup of different playing controls, and therefor can focus on taking the touch screen for all it's worth.
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I don't have the problem with the mike, maybe I got good lung power. As far as the stylus and buttons at the same time it can totally be frustating at point, u have to switch so fast sometimes I end up dropping the dang thing.
Ah, the mic. I completely forgot about that. I find it usually works, but if you have to blow into it, it has to be at the perfect angle or it won't work. Additionally, if you make too loud of a noise, the game doesn't register it (difficult when you want the salvage arm in Phantom Hourglass). It picks up talking very well though, like when you make the parrot talk in WarioWare Touched.
I ditched the stylus for when I play. It's much easier to play DS while using my fingertip because it feels like a more natural motion and I do not need to worry about dropping anything. i don't like the DS that much, because its so boring and cumbersome. I prefer my PSP which has more FUN games in my opinion.