My Mobile Gaming Device? An iPod Touch

I’m a Nintendo kinda guy.  I love Zelda, my kids and I trade pokemon like it’s going out of style, and our Wii is a family pass time.  Nintendo has been a part of my existence since the NES, and I have no regrets about that.

When the DSi was announced I was underwhelmed by the new features.  The camera was cute, and the voice recording features were gimmicky.  Still, the larger screen, the increased processing power, the SD card slot were pretty interesting to me.  When Nintendo added an app store I thought, “My kids have essentially destroyed my DS, and we’ve got enough credit between my trade-in and some games to basically make it a cheap upgrade – so why not?”  I got the DSi on the launch day, and I enjoyed it – for about a week or two.  Then several things happened, all about the same time.

  • Nintendo’s App Store ended up releasing a staggering 1 app a week.  Most of which were cute little utilities that I had no use for.
  • The iTunes App Store started putting out some impressive games in genres I enjoy, none of which were over $4.99.
  • My wife got hooked on Animal Crossing, and since I had apps to choose from on my iPod Touch I didn’t bother putting Pokemon back in my DSi when I wanted a game fix.

What’s happened is that my iPod Touch has become my mobile gaming platform.  I didn’t mean for it to happen, and I really which someone would come out with a physical directional pad for it, but when I think of playing a game now, I play something on my iTouch.  Here’s why:

  • My iPod Touch is my PDA – I always have it with me.
  • I don’t have to worry about carrying or losing cartridges
  • Games with bugs get updated and fixed
  • I don’t have to mess with cumbersome points, if an app is a buck, I spend a buck
  • Apps go on sale, and I can get a good game for under $4.99 – that rocks

Does this make my iTouch a perfect mobile gaming platform?  Not at all.  As I already said, virtual direction pads are an awful thing – the D-Pad in Castle of Magic is particularly annoying to me (I keep ground pounding when I want to move left or right).  The battery life, particularly since I upgraded to the 3.0 OS, pales in comparison to my DSi (which pales in comparison to my DS Lite).  My 1st Gen iTouch doesn’t have a speaker, so I have to use headphones to get a full experience. I can’t re-sell games, which isn’t a problem when games are $2 to $5 bucks – but I’d like to be able to unload my copy of Toy Robot Diaries and get some new games like I can with my DSi.  At the same time, the benefits overcome the shortcomings.

I’d like Nintendo to re-take it’s place as my mobile gaming device of choice but they need to do two things to start on that path for me:

  1. For crying out loud, get rid of points.  I don’t want to spend $10 to buy a $5 application.  I want to spend $5 and be done with it.  The App Store does it right, when I see an app on sale or a new release that I want (like Civilization: Revolution) then I don’t need to fish for my credit card.  I buy it and I’m done.
  2. Turn the tap on the apps already!  I have an SD card in my DSi, I’d really love to use it but you’re app store is terrible.  Slow, terribly laid out, and there is nothing in it.  I should be excited to hit the DSi store every day to see what new apps are out.  Instead, I wait until Monday and find out that a new themed calculator has come out.  Gee, thanks.

Do these two things and Nintendo can take it’s place back into my heart – but, Nintendo, you’d better move fast because the App Store is going to bury you if you don’t get moving.