Out of the Shadows
In the period of time before the Nintendo DS was unveiled,
the gaming public was full of wild speculation. It was an era of great uncertainty, not only for Nintendo fans, but
also for the gaming public at large. No one knew what to expect from the dual screen wild card. What would it
look like? How would developers utilize the 2nd screen? What the hell was Nintendo thinking?
When you look back on it now the
concept is so simple and so obvious. However, before the curtains were parted and the Nintendo DS was revealed, the
gaming public just didn’t have a clue. The system was a great unknown.
This picture is one of my favorites. Skeptics
everywhere used this image to mock Nintendo and its plans. This image was everywhere. It even made its way into a couple
of magazines. This picture epitomizes the ignorance of the gaming public at that time. People just could not grasp
the idea behind the Nintendo DS, or in this case, they just didn’t want to. We have come a long way since this
little number hit the web. Sometimes, I wonder what the artist thinks of it now.
I even wonder, “Does he (or she) own a Nintendo DS?” The answer is
Long and Winding Road
years later and it seems like the World has turned upside down. The System everyone thought would fail is now a tremendous
success. The Nintendo DS went from being the object of ridicule to being one of the most successful products in
video game history. The Nintendo DS is second only to the current reigning champ, the PlayStation 2.
Come with us now as we trace the meteoric rise of the
Nintendo DS. I will show you its heritage and I will predict its ultimate destiny. You
will discover its unusual origins and its murky connections to several other unique gaming devices. All the secrets
will be reveled.
I will cover
every topic from the ups and downs of the game library, collectible styli (one of which is very adult), the extreme danger of
piracy, and even the alleged “hidden message” contained in one controversial game. Also, did Nintendo steal the idea for Nintendogs from one of its former competitors? You will find out the truth.
And what’s that you say? You are a big fan of Gunpei
Yokoi? We have you covered as well. In this article you will learn more about the man some people call the
true father of the Nintendo DS. You will see living proof that Gunpei's vision drives Nintendo even to this day.
Be ready. Once you’re done reading, you will know
everything there is to know about Nintendo’s greatest portable.
Nintendo DS from Mockery to Massive Success
A few years ago if you told anyone you thought the Nintendo DS would be the market leader they would have laughed
in your face. Most of the “experts” in the mainstream press were busy writing obituaries for the system
well before its launch. The press simply did not hold a favorable opinion of the system. Unfortunately many
Nintendo loyalists felt the exact same way.
Even the legendary Hiroshi Yamauchi had his doubts. Of course he was more than happy to share his feelings
with his usual dramatic flare. Here is an excerpt from an article published in 2004. When asked about the
Nintendo DS he responded:
the DS succeeds, we will rise to heaven, but if it fails we will sink to hell. The next two years will decide Nintendo's
fate.” - Hiroshi Yamauchi
who thinks Yamauchi was exaggerating is dead wrong. If the DS experiment had failed it would have devastated Nintendo.
Worse yet, if the DS pillar crumbled, the Game Boy pillar could soon follow. This fact alone may have been Nintendo’s
The Real Cash Cow
The Game Boy franchise was Nintendo’s most valuable
asset. It saved them through the tough times of the Game Cube era. It also helped them withstand Microsoft’s
entry into the crowded video game market. When Game Cube sales were low Nintendo could always point to the success of
the GBA. The Game Boy franchise kept Nintendo at the forefront of the gaming industry. It made the company relevant
in the eyes of many consumers who might not own a Nintendo product otherwise.
So this brings me to my first point. Why was the Nintendo DS released? Was it really to expand the video
game market as Nintendo claims? Or did they do it to protect their beloved cash cow, the Game Boy franchise? Quite honestly,
I think it’s a little bit of the first and a lot of the second.
In my opinion, the DS was created to absorb the hit taken by Nintendo during Sony’s entry into the portable
market. It would provide a market share "buffer zone" between the PSP and the GBA. The public would focus
on the DS vs PSP war while ignoring the obvious market leader. And much to everyone’s surprise, GBA sales
remained strong almost two years after the release of the Nintendo DS. This despite fierce competition from not
one, but two extremely powerful rivals. Unfortunately for GameBoy fans, that prosperity wouldn't last forever....
NEXT TIME: Critical Doubt, The Portable GameCube Myth, Project Nitro
and much, much more!