Rebuilding Nintendo’s Million Dollar Man (DS)

We can rebuild him, they said of the SIX Million Dollar Man. Next Generation writer Eric-Jon Rössel Waugh believes the DS, for all its fame and fortune today, can be rebuilt into an even greater device tomorrow.

While some of the suggestions are ones we’ve all been kicking around since the launch of the DS Lite (PictoChat needs an overhaul, rebooting after setting the clock = BAD), others are only possible today because of things like the successful launch of the Wii.

Here’s a few highlights before you hit Next Generation for more:

Give the system some internal flash memory. Right now you can store a downloaded demo in RAM until you cut the power. Though nice in its own right, that’s not enough. For points I’ll address in a moment, this extra storage space is crucial.

A Virtual Console. I keep hearing grunts over the lack of Game Boy games on the Wii Virtual Console. That’s a kind of a strange thing to mope about, as the Game Boy is a portable system; the Wii isn’t. Portable games and home console games are kind of different. Considering that, like the Wii, the DS is only backward-compatible by one generation, it makes sense to expand the system’s range, transforming it into the handheld of all handhelds. Surely the DS is punchy enough to drive a Game Boy / Game Boy Color emulator. Or a Game Gear one. And hey, this would be the perfect place for SNK to wave all of those amazing Neo Geo Pocket games under a new set of eyes. And what about the Atari Lynx! If Nintendo really wanted to be cute, it could offer new adaptations of its old Game & Watch LCD games, for cheap.

I think all of these suggestions need to make their way into a future iteration of the DS. It’s an incredibly well thought out system to begin with, but Waugh makes a good point to close it out: “Judging by current sales and cultural penetration, the DS is going to stick around for a long time. It would be a shame if it lacked the ability to keep up with its own legacy. If Nintendo makes the above adjustments, there will be practically no end to the system’s shelf-life.”