Five Years, 20 Lessons, 20 DS Games

J.C. Conners @ Gamasutra: When Nintendo first announced the DS in 2004, me and the rest of the crew at Griptonite Games were incredibly excited – as the leading handheld developer in the States, we felt it offered a huge leap past our then "bread and butter" platform, the GBA.

The DS is probably the most diverse platform in the world – it has the powers of a 3D console (The DS is nearly a PS1 in terms of power), along with two screens, great 2D capabilities, a touch screen, a D-pad and regular buttons. Heck, you can play it rotated 90 degrees and no one bats an eye – try doing that with your GBA! That much diversity gives developers a great deal of freedom. With older handhelds like the GBA, the hardware really restricted the kinds of games you could make. We love 2D at Griptonite, and we feel we made some amazing 2D games for GBA; but, game styles hadn't fundamentally changed since the Z80-driven days of the Game Boy Color.

We were (and are!) incredibly charged up by the freedom and possibilities of the DS, but freedom also includes the ability to make design and implementation errors that just weren't possible on simpler systems! We knew there was going to be a lot of experimenting required to maximize the potential of Nintendo's radical new handheld.

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