Faced with heavy losses over the past two generations of gaming that show no signs of letting up (I’m not talking about profits; I’m talking marketshare), Nintendo’s conducting a rather ambitious experiment. With rare exceptions, game software for the various consoles throughout history have been just that: games. Nintendo, however, is lately trying to push forward “non-games.” In Japan, we’ve already seen the release of Electroplankton, and Nintendogs is coming soon (the latter title has been confirmed for a US release).
These “non-games” are designed to give the player something else to do other than gaming. While the PSP is doing the same thing by offering music and video playback, Nintendo’s experiments with the DS are a classic example of thinking outside of the box. Creating software like Electroplankton and Nintendogs is designed to attract people who aren’t necessarily video game fans. Case in point: Electroplankton is aimed at musicians, and Nintendogs is aimed at women. (Yes, I know I’m generalizing. Bear with me.)
What else could be coming down the road? With that touchscreen, a drawing or painting program seems like a lock. Hell, I demand it. Maybe it’ll put my damn art degree to some good use. And one the DS internet capabilities are realized this fall…thing of what could be done. You could draw things, then email them to yourself or to friends. There’s rumors of PictoChat being online-updated (’bout time, since that program is useless otherwise), and that would only further the cause of sharing art and other works. People draw shit all the time on PictoChat now, after all. Maybe we’ll see an Electroplankton 2, where you can actually save compositions for later playback.
And since we’ve got Nintendogs…what about Nintencats? Wait, that’s a bad idea. Cats don’t give a f*ck what you think, and do whatever the hell they want anyway, so what’s the point of having a virtual one that would just ignore you?