I’ve Seen the Lite

Looking at the travel schedule detailed in that last post, I’m starting to think it’s about time to pick up a Nintendo DS Lite. I’m thinking this not just because of time spent on the plane, but because that seems to be a major method of interaction between people at certain cons. At PAX in particular, people whiled away time between events, at boring panels, and sitting in lines, playing DS games on Wi-Fi. So many people were playing, in fact, that the wireless connection started lagging. A friend of mine commented that it was the first time he’d ever seen people actually using Pictochat. A fellow I met at South by Southwest, meanwhile, realized he was seated on the plane with a fellow SXSW-attending “nerd buddy” when they both pulled out DS’s (and subsequently played together).

I wonder, though, how people play with handheld systems when not attending special events. I once saw a guy on a bus here in Philly on a DS, and I once saw a woman in an arcade playing on a PSP while a couple of her friends played pool nearby, but that’s about it for my actual sightings in the wild, as it were. I’m interested in DS Buttons, a site that sells little pin-on buttons to invite the world to play DS with you, but I have no idea how often that actually leads to interaction with strangers.

Video gaming may have a reputation for discouraging social behavior, but the DS—which has dominated video game sales numbers for some time—may be on the road to being the most successful (non-PC) gaming system ever. Interesting that this title could be bestowed upon a handheld device rather than the consoles with massive processing power that the industry has pushed toward for so long.