iPhone vs. DS
GameDaily and GoNintendo debate which portable system offers the best gaming experience.
Three years ago, I never would've guessed that the iPhone would become a viable gaming platform. Even when the App Store launched in July 2008, I struggled to see the potential with such misfires as Super Monkey Ball, where guiding an adorable primate to the goal (though physically tilting the device) was much too frustrating to enjoy.
Fast-forward a couple of years, and the iPhone has become my go to device for portable gaming. Doesn't matter where I am (the couch, on an airplane, waiting in line), there's always an opportunity to beat a high score or level. That has less to do with the phone's portability (an asset for sure) and more to do with the quality games available for it. Peggle, Rolando/Rolando 2, Zen Bound, Up There, Super K.O. Boxing 2 and Canabalt have consumed hours of my life. Even better, they're a perfect fit for busy gamers, since they take seconds to load and offer near instant gratification.
What I didn't expect was for the iPhone to kick my PSP to the curb and rip into my DS time. With PSP, Sony delivered an all-in-one device with a wonderful screen. Apple just did it better, with a smaller gadget running a much smoother operating system. On top of that, it's also a phone, but let's face it, the iPhone just has better games. While Sony struggled to deliver software, iPhone received Call of Duty: World at War- Zombies, Super Monkey Ball 2 (much better than the first), Plants vs. Zombies, Dungeon Hunter, Modern Combat: Sandstorm, Space Ace, Dragon's Lair and I could name at least 20 more. These are the titles that helped the iPhone bust through Sony's seemingly impenetrable market share. Goodbye, PSP. You were so cool in 2005.
Then we have the DS. Nintendo's Reggie Fils-Aime says that Apple doesn't pose a threat to Mario and Co.'s profits and he may be right. After all, when you have Pokemon, Mario and Zelda under your belt, it's tough to lose. Unless, of course, you consider Nintendo 64 and GameCube, two consoles that eventually came up short next to Sony and Microsoft. But for now, it's safe to assume that Apple won't send DS to its grave unless you live in my house, where the DS sits on my nightstand, mostly unused.
That's because there's more incentive to game on the iPhone. First, games cost significantly less. Instead of forking over $29.99-$39.99 for a new release, the most I pay is $9.99, and that's rare. Second, most of the updates come free of charge. If a DS game's controls suck, there's no way anyone can fix them. With iPhone, however, developers can patch almost everything through software, tweaking the user experience to make it as perfect as possible. In addition, iPhone games normally receive new levels, characters and other goodies that don't cost a thing. Good luck downloading stuff through your DS that you can keep.
There's also a matter of content. Several iPhone games debut each week. DS? Not so much. You may go a few weeks or perhaps a month until something fun comes out. I'd rather have a plethora of different titles to choose from instead of drooling over a release calendar.
I'm also enamored with the touch screen. Yes, DS comes with two, but I prefer a widescreen piece of glass capable of displaying higher resolution graphics instead of the at times pixilated slop on Nintendo's machine.
Obviously, the lack of a d-pad and face buttons make playing some games more difficult, including first person shooters. However, no one in their right mind would purchase a handheld system just for an FPS anyway, and companies have done an admirable job adapting first person controls to the iPhone; just look at Gameloft's N.O.V.A.
All of this makes the iPhone (and now the iPad) a gaming powerhouse that's given the competition something to worry about. DS has the impressive sales, but I'm much more interested in playing quality games on a budget, especially when that means downloading them to a true all-in-one device that serves multiple needs. But as most players know, a system is only as good as its games, and when I see the iPhone's lineup, the decision is clear. Leave the DS at home.
GoNintendo sees it differently. Although the site's writers appreciate iPhone and iPad, DS still offers the best portable gaming experience.