Helding Hands?

Excuse the grammar of the title, it's intentional.

In any case, anyone who knows me well knows that the closest equivalent to a handheld game console I've ever owned has been those cheapo five dollar games using LCDs to give a player extremely limited options in terms of movement and fighting capability. I haven't ever owned a gameboy, a gamegear, a nomad, a gameboy color, a lynx, or anything remotely important in the grand scheme of the handheld world.

Granted, some time ago I went to the dark side and emulated games like Pokemon, the various Legend of Zelda handheld games (still haven't finished the Oracles, should probably do that sometime) etc. However, I didn't actually own a handheld, and my only interest in owning one would have been in a similar fashion to that of a home console, to play at home.

It's probably because of my Dad's hard work in curtailing my efforts to play the handhelds my fellow young orienteers brought with them. My Dad saw the point of going out to nature as having something to do with nature, and handhelds didn't fit that category despite the first level of Kirby's Dreamland being a woodland area. In any case, I tend to think along similar lines. If you're going somewhere, you're going there to do something you can't do anywhere at all.

So, when I say I'm getting more and more interested in a handheld, understand when I say so that it is in the opposite sense of why people usually want a handheld system. I'm really not interested in taking it places, heck, probably not even on the long, nine hour car trips I take to come home for college breaks. I'm probably likely to use it very much the same way my close friend John uses his Gameboy Advance SP. Just something you play games on at home.

That all said, I've become increasing interested in the latest of Nintendo's offerings, the Nintendo DS. I think what probably has kept me disinterested with the PSP (and most other handhelds for that matter) is that it is a less powerful system than what I already own, for the sake of a feature I'm not really interested in (portability). My family and friends know that I can pack up my GameCube in a few minutes and be ready to go to far places with it so long as a TV is waiting for it. In fact, I can do that almost as readily with a PS2 or Xbox (though they are a little bulkier). Portability really isn't that good a selling point for a person like me.

What really interests me in the DS is the uniqueness of the games for it, because of the uniqueness of the hardware. With two screens and a touch pad, the name of the game is rather different than what you can do with a regular television or computer monitor.

Granted, the games are not wholly unique. The major titles all bear familiar names like "Metroid" and "Kirby". But unlike the PSP and even the GameBoy Advance, I can't say "I played that or something just like it on the SNES/PS1, why should I bother with the handheld?"

Unfortunately for Nintendo, this interest really amounts to a minor longing whenever I see KB Toys' Nintendo DS sitting unsold in the glass case behind the counter. As I'm already going to Japan, building a computer, and most importantly a college student, I can't really afford to plop down one hundred and fifty dollars for the DS, not to mention games. While GameStop sells them used for thirty dollars less, the risk of scratched screens is prohibitive (that's not something I'm used to worrying about either).

As it is, I must prioritize that which is really important to my future. The computer I'm building is necessary for helping me develop games. While it won't be the best on the market, it'll be good enough for me to start using my overimaginative mind to actually make wonderous games of happy joyousness. The DS (while arguably cheaper) is not vital to anything, not even my happiness.

So, no DS for me.

I'm going to a computer fair with my Dad tomorrow, and there'll probably be a horde of video game related junk I'll have to steel myself against buying, including DSs. I'll report back on how that went after tomorrow.

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