Touchscreen Could Make it Happen
Louise Yang runs down her list of DS games that aren't, but should be...
The DS truly has been kicking ass lately, but here at Modojo, we're never satisfied. We're always wondering why the system isn't kicking more ass. So, we decided to offer up a list of games that only the DS (thanks to its trusty touch screen) could pull off. Any developers interested in these surefire million-sellers, feel free to steal our ideas. We don't mind - we just want the games!
Fossil Finder DS
(cue dramatic movie narrator voice): One man must stand up against a nation and face the challenge of a life-time. In an unforgettable journey into the depths of paleontology to find the fossil that will change the world.
Okay, enough of the cheesy voice. Why isn't there a fossil digging game already? The stylus and touchscreen makes this a no-brainer. There could be some plot about finding a rare fossil, or some bones that unlock the truth to humanity or whatever, but the selling point would be the gameplay. Sure, Spectrobes has a fossil-digging mini-game, but Fossil Finder would go beyond that.
First off, like Trauma Center, there would be different instruments to choose from. A soft bristled brush, a pair of forceps, a squirt bottle of water, etc. Players would need to know exactly which instrument to use at what time in order to extract the fossil with as little damage to it as possible. Stealing an idea from Spectrobes, dirt could be blown away by blowing on the mic, but be careful not to blow too hard or important fragments of the bone might accidentally get blown away.
Hell, there could even be an online ranking list that shows who is the best fossil digger. Scores could be given based on speed and meticulousness when digging up a bone. Then, depending on what bones were dug up, the player could assemble the pieces into a larger piece or even a whole skeleton. Being careless and breaking a few bones would penalize the player, since there would be defective or missing pieces in their skeleton.
I know archeology and paleontology aren't the most exciting fields to go into in the world, but hey, if they could make a game out of surgery, why not a game about digging up dead things' bones?
If you had a Windows machine in the early 90s, then you probably have played Chip's Challenge. There's no thought provoking plot, no symphonic score, no violence, just simple 2D fun. The object of each level is to guide Chip to computer chips scattered throughout the level in order to open up the exit and then get to the exit. The levels are littered with obstacles such as enemies who move in patterns, icy floors, and blocks that must be pushed around in a specific way to gain access to other parts of the level.
The short nature of each level (of which there are many) makes Chip's Challenge the perfect type of pick-up-and-play game that belongs on a portable console. Both screens of the DS could be used to display the level grid and players can control Chip with either the d-pad, or more ideally, the stylus. Tapping the stylus on a tile can make Chip walk there. The screen could scroll with Chip so that he never actually has to be at the top screen.
Thanks to the stylus, developers could even include a level-making mode and let players upload levels to their friends over wifi.
I'm surprised that no one has decided to port this game for the DS or at least attempt a hombrew of it.
If a non-game such as Electroplankton could be made, why not Spirograph for the DS? It could come with plastic or cardboard cut-outs that the stylus can use as a guide. Add in some crazy color-changing ink that fades into different colors triggered by electronic music and you've got the perfect stoner toy. If that's not enough, add in image uploading functionality and call it a day. Q Entertainment, call me.
As a sequel or brother-game to Trauma Center, someone should make an Autopsy game. It could be one part Trauma Center, one part Phoenix Wright. The setting would be something like CSI. Some homicide happens, suspects are called in and give their alibis and it's up to the player to examine the murder victim to see which suspect was lying.
The usual bullet removal, testing for toxins/poisons and examining wounds would be present in the game. In addition to that, players would have to find clues within entry and exit wounds to determine which suspect was at the optimum angle to attack the victim, check for suspicious bruises and even gather under-fingernail DNA. Since autopsy isn't a life-or-death situation, there wouldn't be a time constraint, which makes this game more of a relaxing (if you call dead bodies relaxing) puzzle game than a fast paced "omg get the tumor out" surgery game.
The difference between Autopsy Center and Trauma Center would be that in Trauma Center, players are given at least some hint of what's wrong. In autopsy center, players have free reign over what part of the body to examine and what to look for. While this may be frustrating to some people, it makes the game more open-ended because one case could have several pieces of evidence which could be used to prove or disprove an alabi.