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Joystiq presents

Nintendo losing their Touch (Generations)?

If Nintendo's desires are realized, it won't be too long before the image of Grandpa hunching furiously over his DS Lite and murderously screaming "Blue" joins that of the bespectacled nerd in the ranks of uninformed gamer stereotypes. In an effort to reach out to those who would normally shy away from electronic devices and their confusing beeps and boops, several forthcoming and readily available DS games have recently been shoved under the Touch Generations banner. The range highlights Nintendo's popular "non-games", titles that are meant to be approachable by any person, regardless of their previous gaming experience.

In North America, games like Nintendogs, Brain Age and Sudoku Gridmaster seem to gravitate towards the label quite naturally, but it seems that the selection differs significantly from that of other regions. Anthropomorphic neighbour sim, Animal Crossing: Wild World, slots right in with Electroplankton in Europe, but the choices of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney and Trauma Center: Under the Knife seem to fit in less comfortably. The latter two titles are far more traditional, with linear stories, clear conditions for success and failure and, in the case of Trauma Center especially, a more pronounced difficulty level that requires intricate stylus strokes--lest your patient's internal organs become reduced to a bloody mush (technical term). In other words, all the stuff that the mythical casual gamer doesn't want.

The Japanese selection is almost the exact opposite, filled with English trainers, dictionaries and travel guidebooks. If you looked up "game" in one of those dictionaries, you'd likely find a description far removed from most of these titles. It raises an interesting question, then: What constitutes a game that, according to Nintendo's mantra, anyone can pick up and play? Is it a game that almost exclusively relies on intuitive touch screen controls? Or is it something with simplistic gameplay mechanics? Perhaps it's not even a game at all. Nintendo's pretty clear about the kind of people they're chasing with the DS and the Wii, but things seem less vivid when it comes to matching specific games with specific audiences. With games being such unique and often personal experiences, it's doubtful that the line between hardcore and casual will ever become especially obvious. 

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Reader Comments

(Page 1)

1. I usually dont complain about the length of the articles, but maybe you should consider splitting it in 2, and adding a "click here to continue reading" as i've been used to reading on Joystiq and here.

As for the "Touch Generation", based on the press from Nintendo, it means a "non game" that can be played at any time for any ammount of time.

By Non game, I think they hint at games without objectives or challenges. I agree that both Elektroplankton and ACWW should be "Touch Generation", however Phoenix Wright and Trauma Center will always be games for me.

Posted at 12:07AM on Jun 2nd 2006 by Nushio 3 stars

2. I *assumed* the concept was supposed to be games that are non-threatening to people who aren't traditionally into gaming. :(

Posted at 3:36AM on Jun 2nd 2006 by Fortyseven 0 stars

3. Agree with the above poster! This thought provoking article deserved to be either truncated on the main page, or better still, in multiple parts.

Nintendo is really capturing mind-share these days.

Posted at 9:45AM on Jun 2nd 2006 by John Hood 1 star

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