On November 21st, Nintendo will launch what might well be the most innovative game machine to date: the Nintendo DS. With two screens, wireless multiplayer, touch screen, backwards capability with GBA games, microphone, and hefty processing power, the DS truly belongs in the hands of gamers.
In The Box
For $149.99USD, you get a sleek piece of hardware along with some other goodies. Inside the box you’ll find the system itself, accompanied by a wrist strap, an AC adapter, a demo of Metroid Prime Hunters: First Hunt, two stylus pens, and the usual sway of instruction booklets.
The DS wrist strap is multifunctional and should not be thought of as merely a worthless accessory. The wrist strap is connected at the top of the system, and is easy to install. Besides from keeping the DS attached to your limb(s), the wrist strap also acts as a thumb pad. Located at the end of the strap is a little piece of plastic that can attach to either your left or right thumb and is tightened by a slide mechanism. This plastic edge is about 1cm in length and is more rounded than pointed, and more importantly, it provides an alternative way to communicate with your DS. Using the thumb strap will eliminate the need to touch and smudge the screen with your greasy little fingers.
If you own a GBA SP, then the AC adapter might look a little familiar as the DS adapter is identical. The only difference between the two models is that the words “AC Adapter” are engraved on the DS charger as opposed to the SP’s “Gameboy Advance AC Adapter”. In fact, you can even use the GBA SP adapter instead of the one bundled with the DS. This takes the system’s backwards capability beyond that of just playing GBA games. Also, if you’ve purchased the headphone adapter for your GBA SP, you will be pleased to know that it will also work in the DS adapter port. Once plugged in, the DS will automatically shut off the sound coming from the speakers and transfer it through the headphones. But this is all just added content because the DS already has a standard headphone jack that can be immediately used with any regular headphones. The sound quality from both headphone connections is virtually the same.
As an added bonus, the DS bundle also includes a demo version of Metroid Prime Hunters: First Hunt. The game card does not come enclosed with a usual case, however. A cardboard sleeve, somewhat similar to a Neo Geo Pocket Color container, will contain the game. The game card itself is a little bigger than a postage stamp. Three parts separate the label on the game card. The top section, about a quarter of the label’s length, is reserved for the Nintendo DS logo icon. The middle section, which is about half the label’s size, displays the Metroid title and the official Nintendo seal of quality. Finally, the bottom quarter of the label contains a white background with black text. This text indicates which region the game came from (USA, etc) along with some other miscellaneous numbers and letters. If you notice, the first three letters in this line of text will read “NTR.” Could this stand for Nitro: the codename given to the DS during its development?
The system itself resides in a sleek silver casing. Similar to the Gameboy Advance SP, the DS utilizes a