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[ Writer ] = BAD
[ 08/04/05 ] = Quality Control

Since the launch of the Nintendo DS, I've been hearing a lot of stupid shit. Stupid shit that has probably influenced sales of the hardware negatively to some extent. With the PSP and the NDS in competition, comparisons are expected. But with the NDS, people have judged it on all the wrong things; they fail to look deeper into the system's features and attributes. Namely, the touch-screen. Sure, it may look like just your typical credit-card terminal touch-screen, but on the NDS it's been engineered specifically for games. The technology was already there, and has been used for various functions for quite some time; Nintendo got the technology, tweaked it, and made it the next step in videogame control. The future of control in videogames, if you will. Sure, touch-pad control was experimented with in the 16-bit era with the "Turbo Touch" controllers for Super Nintendo and Genesis, but they didn't turn any heads and vanished shortly after their conception. The touch-sensitive control Nintendo has brought into videogames with the NDS was inevitable; meaning, it was only a matter of time before the technology was applied to game control. And Nintendo is the only company that could have the balls to introduce it in a time when innovation is punished. Undoubtedly, whether it succeeds or not, the touch-screen control of the NDS is innovative, and could very well be the future of game control. But does anyone really see this? No.

From both dumb-asses and magazine writers, I've been hearing that the NDS "lacks analog control" or an "analog stick" like the PSP has. Accordingly, the NDS has been criticized for having "just" digital control and "no analog control." My question is, where the hell is the touch-screen in all of this? True, sometimes it is mentioned, but never in its entirety; do critics even know its full functionality? It doesn't seem like it, because I keep hearing the same stupid shit about the NDS. While it is true that the NDS has a digital control pad, and that it doesn't have an actual analog stick, claims of "no analog control" are only half right. The NDS doesn't use typical analog control with the analog stick that we have come to know, but it uses something similar. The stylus is widely advertised and used for the touch-screen control, but the hardware actually comes with a comfortable thumb-pad that can be used, as well. Attached to a strap that ties conveniently to the bottom-right part of the system, the thumb-pad is part of a loop that fits on the left thumb. And I must say that from personal experience, the thumb-pad is much better. So much better, in fact, that it got me thinking.

The thumb-pad offers a level of touch-screen control equal to (and in some aspects better than) that of analog control. Sure, both use different technology, but the thumb-pad on the NDS can function on the same level as an analog stick. A good example is Super Mario 64 DS; in the original Super Mario 64, analog control was used so that Mario could tiptoe, walk, or run, and in Super Mario 64 DS the same things can be executed using the thumb-pad on the touch-screen. Thumb-pad control on the touch-screen is also more sensitive, and the thumb-pad itself doesn't return to a neutral position after movement. Don't get me wrong, I like the PSP's smooth and easy analog stick/pad/whatever-the-hell-you-want-to-call-it, but I have to say that the NDS's touch-screen and thumb-pad are the future of game control. I don't have anything against analog control, but touch-screen control seems to offer a higher level of control. The NDS shouldn't be criticized for "not having analog control"; the thumb-pad and touchscreen can do what the analog stick on the PSP does, and more.

When used with the thumb-pad, the touch-screen of the NDS is equal to that of analog stick of the PSP. The technology may be different, but the NDS's touch-screen is capable of offering an equal-level of control with that of the PSP's analog stick. Sure, it may take a while to get used to running the touch-pad about the touch-screen, but the feeling of accomplishment and high-level of control are all worth it once it is learned. When I play SM64DS, I'm not too good with it and I make mistakes often, but I know that with practice and devotion I could eventually get it down. On the parts of the game that I did do well on, I was happily surprised and admired Nintendo for introducing such innovative control. While I haven't played every NDS game out, I can say that SM64DS controlled well with it, and I look forward to seeing how other games will feel with it. Sure, the stylus can be used instead of the thumb-pad for the touch-screen control, but I think that NDS games can only be experienced in their unique entirety using the thumb-pad.

[ Extra ] = Features
[ 1 ] = Interesting Nintendo DS Article .01
[ 2 ] = Interesting Nintendo DS Article .02