Point and Speak and Travel

By tomorrow Nintendo’s DS “Point and Speak Phrasebook” will be available in five languages, translating from Japanese into Thai, Chinese, Korean, English, and German. The Japanese train ads are showing that the use for this cart isn’t actually to learn a new language, but to stick your DS in the face of anyone you can’t speak to have it talk for you, poking different phrases with the stylus in order to communicate. The carts graphics look super cute, although kind of strange, as average Jotaro Japanese guy is represented as a human, and all the foreigners are shown as various animals. There is a flash demo of how the “game” works on the site’s official website and although the description is of course in Japanese you can tell from the America version’s screenshots what is going on.
Hopefully I can encourage some of my Chinese and Korean major buddies here in Japan to pick up one of the carts so I can try it out!
With this added to Nintendo’s set of dictionary carts the DS is becoming much more than just a gaming platform, I feel like all it’s missing is a cellular phone and a built in TV antennae.