Nintendo DS Hits Retail

Nintendo’s latest hand-held gaming device has arrived and some eager gamers waited as long as 15 hours in line to be the first to get their hands on it Sunday night. The Nintendo DS went on sale at 12:01 a.m. on Nov. 21 at EB Games in the Universal CityWalk in Los Angeles.

The dual-screen successor to the Game Boy features a touch screen, voice recognition and wireless capabilities. According to Nintendo, the touch screen may make accessing items, moving characters or navigating menus as easy as a tap or drag on the screen. With voice recognition, players can simply tell the game what they want it to do, while chat software will allow them transmit text messages, handwriting and even drawings to one another. Wireless functions could potentially link players in the same room or across the country.

The unit includes two processors, 3D capabilities on both screens, 16-channel sound and a rechargeable battery that features a low-energy-consumption design. One media bay handles new DS game cartridges that hold one gigabit of information and more. The second media port allows for compatibility with Game Boy Advance games, as well as a host of possible future accessories.

Nintendo unveiled the DS at the Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles this past summer. In addition to an upgrade in technology, the DS comes with a step-up in price from the Game Boy Advance. At $149.99, the device costs the same as Sony’s PlayStation 2 console, but retailers expect to sell out of the 1 million DS units shipped in North America before the end of the year.

More than 100 companies worldwide have received software development kits and are planning games for Nintendo DS. Nintendo is developing titles based on its Super Mario, Metroid and WarioWare franchises, while third-party publishers work on Spider-Man 2 (Activision), Rayman (Ubisoft), SpongeBob SquarePants (THQ), Yu-Gi-Oh! (Konami), Sonic (Sega), and Pac-Man (Namco) titles.