While I am jamming away with some great DS games out right now, I’ve noticed there are some weird DS games, too. I was strolling the game aisles of Media Play, browsing the DS games when I came a across some games I hadn’t seen before. The first game that caught my eye was Elf Bowling 1 and 2. Elf Bowling? I see the obvious implementation with the touch screen, but let’s be honest here. How much elf bowling can one do? I remember when elf bowling was emailed to everyone in the country. I think that was the Christmas of 1999. I played it for like two lunch breaks. It was ha-ha, that’s funny, and then I was done with it. Why would anyone pay twenty dollars for a game that held my interest for fifteen minutes? Are people buying this?
The next odd one I saw was Whac-A-Mole which is another game I can clearly see the utility of the touch screen in implementing the game mechanics but fail to see the replayability of whacking moles. Will my DS start spitting out tickets I can redeem at Chuck E. Cheese? If not, I’m not interested. Now, if they included a stylus in the shape of a mallet, we might have something there.
These ponderings led to another thought. Remember Mark Rein’s comments about the Revolution controller? For those who don’t know, Rein (vice president and co-founder of Epic Games) commented that the Nintendo Revolution controller would lead to the development of a lot of gimmicky (read: crappy) games. (He was misquoted and/or misinterpreted by a lot of people who thought they heard him say the controller was gimmicky. He never said that. He said there would be a lot of crappy games built around it, for which he was pretty much spot on.) There will be a lot of forgettable, crappy games that use the Revolution’s new controller. Luckily, we don’t have to wait for the Revolution. We can see it now, with the DS. The touchscreen has a lot of possibilities and they are just now being developed. In the meantime, we get Elf Bowling. Wheee.
While thinking about the origins of Elf Bowling, I also realized that there also a lot of potential here. Elf Bowling, like so many games, has humble roots as a flash game. Games that put companies like Pop Cap on the map. Games I’d be willing to pay four or five dollars to download to my DS. I hope you see where this is going. With the run-away success of the Xbox Live Arcade, would it be that hard for Nintendo to implement a DS Wi-Fi Connection arcade? I’d love to download a version of Alchemy or Zuma to my DS. Oh, and lookie here! Those games were practically meant to be played with a touch screen. They were made for each other!
So while I’m content with Mario Kart and Animal Crossing, I look forward to what else may be in store for Nintendo’s little handheld.