The Angry Gamer – Lackluster Launch?

Sure, we’re getting the Nintendo DS a week before Japan does. Whoop-dee-f*cking-doo. As is standard operating procedure in the gaming world, our Japanese pals are getting much better launch titles than those of use in the States. Sure, we’re both getting Super Mario 64 DS and Feel the Magic: XY/XX. But those lucky ninjas across the Pacific also get the new Wario Ware game and Pokémon Dash, easily two of the most anticipated titles for the DS. We likely won’t be getting them until the spring, with our luck.

More annoying is that Nintendo recently released a list of 12 or so titles available within the “launch window.” Most people don’t realize this, but this does NOT mean the titles will be available at launch! “Launch window” is anywhere within 30 days of launch. It’s possible you could go to pick up a DS on launch day, and only two titles will be available for purchase (remember the N64, anyone?). As for the rest of the titles…who the f*ck knows.

Speaking of said titles…the list as a whole is pretty damn lackluster. Let’s take a look:

  • Super Mario 64 DS – A port of the N64 classic. Now, you all know how pissed off I get about ports, but this one at least earns some grudging respect, due to the fact there’s an absolutely obscene amount of added material (4-player modes, 36 minigames, and added challenges to the regular game, to name a few).
  • Madden NFL 2005 – Yet another sports game rehash. Oh, but it’ll have updated rosters. Pardon me while I make jerk-off motions.
  • Tiger Woods PGA TOUR Golf – Golf games can be fun, but early screenshots of this title looked worse than GBA graphics. If they don’t clean it up, then flush it down the toilet.
  • The Urbz: Sims in the City – Hooray for the propagation of stereotypes! Yeeeah, dawg. Make yourself an “urban” sim and watch them do…well…”urban” stuff. Snooze.
  • Ping Pals – Ugh. A kids’ chat program. This is far beyond retarded; the whole chat feature in general with the DS is ridiculous! If you’re within chatting range with someone…just f*cking talk to them, instead of being a moron and tapping things out on your DS! That’s about as asinine as calling someone’s cellphone if they’re sitting across the table from you. Fucking stupid.
  • Feel the Magic: XY/XX – A whacked-out title from Sega? You don’t say! The scariest part is that this game (where you play all manner of mini-games in order to impress your virtual girlfriend) is the closest that many gamer geeks will come to actually touching a woman.
  • Rayman DS – Rayman’s a great character, and this game looks decent. I guess it makes sense that he’s here, since Rayman was a launch title on the GBA three and a half years ago.
  • Asphalt Urban GT – You don’t need this. Why? Look below…
  • Ridge Racer DS – If you want a racing game, this is the one to get. This title will use the touchpad to approximate analog control, and the handling and overall presentation of the game looks much sharper than Asphalt.
  • Mr. Driller: Drill Spirits – I honestly thought we were going to get f*cked over on this one, as we didn’t get stateside releases of the GBA Mr. Driller games or the phenomenal Mr. Driller: Drill Land for the GC. Two screens of drilling action? Sold!
  • Spider-Man 2 – The comic book-based Spider-Man games were damn good, but the movie-licensed ones just felt like rehashes. From what I’ve seen, the DS version looks to be more of the same, unfortunately. Poor Spidey!

The biggest problem with this selection is one that afflicts many game system launches: lack of genres. In the above list, we’ve got sports, racing, platforming, puzzle, and sim. (To be fair, Feel the Magic is hard to place.) But what about the other big genres that always draw people in, like shooters and RPGs? I may hate FPS games, but even I agree that Metroid Prime: Hunters should’ve been ready for launch, not just a packed-in demo. An RPG would’ve been nice, too; for a surefire system seller, Nintendo could have even added DS-only content to the recently released Pokémon Fire Red and Leaf Green!

Too little, too late, I’m sorry to say. Nintendo’s got a lot of developers on board for the DS, so hopefully we’ll see some higher quality titles sooner rather than later.