Thursday, December 4, 2008

(Im)potent Portables: Why I'm selling my DS

I’ll say it without reservation: the DS is the best handheld console ever. It has more games, and better games, than any handheld in history – and for the first time, these games are more than reduced, dumbed-down versions of their console versions. They innovate in their own right. They aren’t just good for a handheld. They don’t require any pejorative qualification.

And if you want a one, you can have mine for $80.00 USD. I’ll even throw in a copy of Advance Wars: Dual Strike. Do it. Please. It’s great for every gamer – just not the first person shooter-junkie, the RTS hound, or anyone with a biological aversion to pointy chins or spiky hair. In a word, me.

Ah! Pipe down. You haven’t said it, but you’re going to: Here I am, bitching about this supposed dearth of strategy games, and I’m hocking the hocking the answer for a song. Yes, Advance Wars is a great game. It’s unique, and deep, and a real revelation for turn-based strategy, and so on. And furthermore (calm down, fanboy. You might pull something), have I ever heard of Metroid: Hunters? Or Moon?

Hate to say it, but even if you shouted, I couldn’t hear you. I’m too busy blowing shit up on my 360 (metaphorical 360, anyway – the real one just arrived in Mesquite, Texas today, for a date with Microsoft’s soldering irons). Fact is, I’m not a portable gamer. When I’m mobile, I’m not gaming – I’m working, living, talking. I play games when I’m sitting still, and when I’m sitting still, I have a 360 controller in my hands, or a mouse-and-keyboard.

No doubt, RPG fans of all persuasions have something to love in the DS. But if the RPG doesn’t give my rudimentary ape-brain a gun to hold (see: Mass Effect, Fallout 3, System Shock 2), I’m not interested. And as for Advance Wars, forget it. I feel like halfway between a kindergarten teacher, reveling in the glory of primary colors, and the creepy guy that stakes out playgrounds with a pair of binoculars. Really, it’s an issue of demographics – the DS serves some gamers more than others.

Plus, DS gamers include this pathetic specimen in their numbers:

You don’t want to be like him, do you?